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Should you buy an existing construction company?

You want to start your own construction company. It is a dream you have had for a number of years now, and you are finally ready to make the transition from working for someone else to being in charge yourself.

While it is natural to assume that means you have to start from scratch, the reality is that you may be better off to buy a company that already exists. This is known as "entrepreneurship through acquisition."

One advantage is that you have real numbers you can look at. This company has been in business for years. You can see exactly how solid and reliable it is. You know how much money the current ownership makes on an annual basis. This can make it easier to budget and understand what type of income you'll be working with.

You also get the advantage of name recognition in the community. If you start from scratch, no one knows who you are. You have to start branding yourself and advertising just to get people to recognize your company -- and that's no guarantee they'll choose to hire you. A company that has already worked hard in these areas gives you a bit of an advantage at the beginning.

Finally, you do not need to figure everything out on your own. You may only need to make minor changes. The company already has a physical location, a collection of tools and vehicles, a network of contacts and a roster of employees. Rather than spending months or even years getting ready to open, you can start working immediately.

If you do decide to pursue this route, make sure you know exactly what legal steps to take to set yourself up for success.

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