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If you want to learn how to start a housing construction business in NSW, you can use this page as a guide to get you started.

You may need to complete only some of these transactions, depending on your business needs. For example, you can apply for a construction induction card without needing a high risk work licence. If you're undertaking specialist building work, such as plumbing or electrical wiring, you may need to apply for additional licences from NSW Fair Trading.

Before you invest time and money into setting up your business by registering and applying for the right business licences, make sure you put together a business plan and carefully consider how viable your business is. Many businesses fail when these things aren't considered. Get in touch with the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner or an industry association to get advice specific to your area.

Consider this list an ideal starting point to find out what's relevant to starting your housing construction business.

Before starting a small business, it's important you choose the best structure for your business type. The most commonly used business structures are sole trader, company, partnership, and trust.

Set up as a sole trader
Operating as a sole trader is the simplest and cheapest business structure you can set up. You control and manage the business, and although you 'trade' on your own, you can still employ people to work for you.

  • Cost: free, but $34 for 1 year, $78 for 3 years to register your business name
  • Time: varied

Register a company
If you've decided a company structure is best for your business, you'll need to register your company with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

  • Cost: between $382 and $463, depending on the company type
  • Time: about a week to organise all the necessary documents

Register a limited partnership
If you’ve decided a limited partnership structure is best for your business, you’ll need to register the limited partnership with the NSW Fair Trading’s Registry Services.

  • Cost: $381
  • Time: about a week to organise all the necessary documents

Set up a trust business structure
A trust is an obligation imposed on one person or entity – the trustee, to hold property for the benefit of another – the beneficiary. The trustee can be an individual or a company, the latter providing some asset protection.

  • Cost: varied, but expensive
  • Time: varied

Register a co-operative
If you've decided a co-operative is best for your business, you'll need to register the co-operative with NSW Fair Trading's Registry Services. 

  • Cost: $365
  • Time: about a week to organise all the necessary documents

Register an Australian Business Number (ABN)
You don't have to register for an ABN, but an ABN will let you claim Goods and Services Tax credits, energy grants credits, register an Australian domain name, plus more.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 15 minutes

Apply for an Administrator AUSkey
An AUSkey is a unique secure login linked to an Australian business number (ABN), which allows you to access and send business information to government online

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 30 minutes

Register a business name
You'll need to register a business name, unless you're a sole trader or partnership and your business name is exactly the same as your or you and your partner's first and last names. You'll need an ABN or ABN application number to register your business name. 

  • Cost: $34 for 1 year, $78 for 3 years
  • Time: about 10 minutes

Register your business for Goods and Services Tax (GST)
You must register your business for GST if your GST turnover is $75,000 or more.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 20 minutes

Apply for a business Tax File Number
If you've decided a company, trust, or partnership structure is best for your business, you'll need to apply for a business Tax File Number. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 1 day to prepare application and attend an interview

Apply for an individual Tax File Number
If you’ve decided a sole trader structure is best for your business, you’ll need to apply for an individual Tax File Number.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 1 day to prepare application and attend an interview

Apply for an Individual Contractor's Licence
You’ll need an Individual Contractor’s Licence if you want to do paid residential building work over $5,000.

  • Cost: varied, depending on the licence type and period
  • Time: about 1 day to prepare your application, 6 weeks to process the application, then 2 to 3 weeks to receive your card.

Apply for a Partnership Contractor's Licence
You’ll need a Partnership Contractor’s Licence if you operate as a partnership that contracts, sub-contracts and/or advertises to do residential building work. A partnership is usually 2 or more people who are the legal entity behind the licence.

  • Cost: varied, depending on the licence type and period
  • Time: about 1 day to prepare your application

Apply for a Company Contractor's Licence
You’ll need a Company Contractor’s Licence if your organisation wants to contract, sub-contract and/or advertise to do residential building work. Your application needs to include a Nominated Supervisor that holds an Individual Contractor Licence or Qualified Supervisor Licence.

  • Cost: varied, depending on the licence type and period
  • Time: about 1 day to prepare your application

Apply for a Qualified Supervisor's Certificate
If you want to supervise residential building work, you’ll need to hold a Qualified Supervisor’s Certificate.

  • Cost: varied, depending on the licence type and period
  • Time: about 1 day to prepare your application

Apply for a general construction induction card
If you work in construction in NSW, you’ll need to hold a construction induction card, also known as a White Card. You’ll need to complete general construction induction training before starting work or applying for a card.

  • Cost: from $80, but varies depending on the training provider
  • Time: 1 day to complete the training. Your card will be ordered and sent to you within 30 days. 

Apply for a high risk work licence
You’ll need to hold a high risk work licence to do high risk construction work, including operating cranes, forklifts, hoists and pressure equipment. You’ll need to complete high risk work training before starting work or applying for a card.

  • Cost: from $60 for the application, plus training course fees
  • Time: varied, depending on the course. After application, your licence will be sent to you within 30 days.

Get liability insurance for your business
You can choose to take out public liability, professional indemnity, or product liability insurance. Public liability insurance protects you and your business against the risks of damage or injury to people or property. While it's not mandatory, it's essential for a business.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 1 hour

Managing residential building contracts 
If you're going to do residential building work valued at $5,000 or more, you must have a 'small jobs' contract in place.

  • Cost: no cost
  • Time: varied

Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility
Before you contract directly with a homeowner for housing construction work over $20,000, you will need to hold a Certificate of Eligibility for insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 1 hour to prepare your application

Apply for a Certificate of Insurance
Before starting a housing construction contract valued over $20,000, you need to apply for job-specific Certificate of Insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 1 hour to prepare your application 

Comply with Fair Work requirements
If you’re employing staff you must comply with Fair Work requirements like minimum pay and conditions.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 1 hour to read through the documents

Register with the Long Service Leave scheme (building and construction)
You must register as a building and construction employer with the Long Service Corporation and comply with its requirements.

  • Cost: free to register, with ongoing costs for compliance
  • Time: about 1 hour 

Paying employees at award rates
You must make sure you're providing at least minimum wages and conditions for your permanent employees. These conditions are covered in the awards.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: a few hours to read through the conditions

Register for PAYG withholding
You'll need to register for PAYG withholding if you need to withold tax (on behalf of the Australian Tax Office) from payments you make to employees, contractors, or other businesses that haven't supplied you an ABN.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: varies, depending on your individual circumstances

Register for the superannuation clearing house
If you have 19 or fewer employees or have an aggregated turnover below $2 million, you can register for the small business superannuation clearing house to pay super contributions to your employees in a single online location. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: ongoing

Use the Superannuation Guarantee Contributions Calculator
Use the calculator to check the super contributions you need to pay your employees. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 15 minutes

Comply with work health and safety laws
You must comply with work health and safety (WHS) laws so that people who come into contact with your business (customers, contractors or visitors) are kept healthy and safe.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 2 hours to work through the training modules, then ongoing maintenance as required

Apply for a workers compensation insurance policy
If you're going to pay more than $7500 a year in wages, you'll need to have a workers compensation insurance policy.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 30 minutes

Managing contractors and employees
You have different responsibilities if you engage contractors rather than permanent employees. It's important for you to learn about the differences.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: ongoing

    Register for the small business grant
    If you're within the payroll tax threshold, and intend to increase the number of full time, part-time and/or casual workers in your business, you may be able to register for the Small Business Grant.

    • Cost: free
    • Time: varied

    Register a trade mark
    A trade mark (sometimes called a brand) is the way you show your customers and the public who you are.

    • Cost: from $120
    • Time: about a week to organise all the necessary documents

    Register a domain name for your business
    With an ABN, you can register a website name that ends with '.au'.

    • Cost: varied, depending on your provider
    • Time: about 10 minutes

    Small businesses are important to the NSW economy. Service NSW is trialling services to support one of these key areas – the housing construction industry. 

    We welcome your feedback on the information provided, and on how we could improve our services. Please Contact us to share your thoughts.

    Source url: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/start-housing-construction-business-nsw