7 simple Keys to owner builder success.
Treat and run it like it's your business.
Really simple and that is treat it like a business. Anything less and that is what you will get.
So the number one key is to treat being an owner builder like running a business. Now without going into all the finite details of running a business, I am just going to go over a few financial influences that as an owner build you will encounter. So, do the highest value jobs you are capable of.
So think about it like this, an architect on say $100 or $200 per hour doing the office cleaning for an hour each day. A high end chief doing dishes for an hour. You just wouldn’t do it that way, No we hire the correct people for those roles in a business that are able to be on a lessor rate. We hire the right qualified person for each role. We can use a colour consultant instead of using a higher paid Architect. Not only are they trained in their field, they cost less per hour. Making sense now.
What is your role and what is the value of that per hour. Now this is something that escapes many, as they have no idea. Ok if you are managing the build and the finished cost is $300,000, but the custom build alternative was, say $500,000, then you are effectively on $200,000 in a sense. How many hours will your role take? We know on our program, that 100 to 130 hours is normal.
As a business then you can see the options open to you here. If you project manage the job yourself then effectively you would be on $2,000 per hour. You can hire others to do areas you are unsure or feel out of your depth and still be making a good saving or wage depending on how you view the process.
From that simple break down, you can see quickly why I say run it like a business, don’t get stuck in doing low value jobs because you feel confident in doing them, that is not what makes our program so successful. What makes having an Owner Build program so important is that it enables you to be in control of all aspects, and have certainty of the end result. It’s your business plan.
Know the cost price of your finished build before you start.-Have all the services & materials quantified first.
Cost price. This is something that can be achieved if you know how. Now here is the biggest problem in the industry, many have got lazy and bark out per sqm rates for a house.
Before you start, you should have a complete break down on all the items and components to construct your home. This includes all trades, materials and finishing’s. No point getting quotes and hoping everything is included that you will need. No, you need to know exactly all the quantities in order to ascertain the creditability of the quotes you receive. Some building supply companies will do a take-off the materials required for your plan, usually at a cost in order to get your business but you are still left short of the trade take off component.
We do a full take off and pricing within our program. Understandably we charge for this service also but include all the trade labour components required as well. You can get more information on this by just giving us a call.
Once again it is all about aiming to have as much control of your build as possible before you start, so you can accurately build to a budget and then have certainty of success
Source reputable products and suppliers.
Source reputable products, while this is not what you would have the choice of if you were going with a volume builder, but because you are essentially a custom builder, the product choice is huge.
Brand, reputation, warranty and available back up locally are all things to consider. Price alone will not be a method reason you choose any product as an owner builder.
Is it high maintenance, will it last a long period of time. A lot of our consumer products have a life expectancy, like the TV or refrigerator and if you get more than the ten years or whatever their expectancy might be, you are doing well. So your plumbing ware and door handles etc want to have at least 25 years of object durability. So you might spend a bit more but over the life of the product it makes economic sense.
If in doubt seek professional advice.
Professional advice, is the key attribute of a great leader, they surround themselves with the best in their chosen fields. By a great leader I am talking about industry, or business and by no means should you mistake any political leader as often these are surrounded by the opposite which is the nature of embarrassed politicians.
So when you want to understand a technical detail, ask the appropriate source. Engineer for engineering, product detail from the product manufacturer, insurances from the insurer, there is no use asking anyone else because we all know that is just their opinion or interpretation.
The other great thing about asking the appropriate source, the answer is clear and precise. You are left in no doubt, and this lines up with certainty we are after in our end result.
Time management, you are running the job, not the other way round.
Time management relates to the best us of your time. We might love visiting the site throughout construction and I am no different here, but it needs to be on your terms. What I mean by that is setting a schedule that is followed. This relates to orders, supplies been dropped off and even completion of trades expectations of their task. Have you ever had something that you know you should have done by now but not got around to yet. Well some people actually run their business in that way. So by setting a schedule for all to follow, you are taking control and putting the expectations right out there for all to see. This has an effect on the culture of your build. Trades that get held up by others are quick to suggest someone else if a supplier or trade are holding you up. Usually, they will have a business culture similar to what you are aligning with.
Again as with the process of treating the owner build like a business, you are leading by example and building the team culture within that. This help to ensure you stay in control and on track to achieve the successful finished result.
The big savings are in leadership roles not in you taking part the activities.- When you are doing too much physically, you are not managing your resources properly.
Leadership is a key in many things that we do. Someone has to lead. Imagine for a moment you are trekking up a mountain. No physical path to follow only a compos that one member has in order to follow. By the share reliance on that compos, that member becomes the leader.
These are your plans, your schedule so you need to lead the supply and trades within them. If you get preoccupied in doing the tasks within them, you are spend less time leading and the efficiency and flow of your project will be hampered. This is a common problem with owner builders wanting to be the builder. In this example them it is wise to get a project manager to run the job. Some might argue, but you will often see the partner of the builder running the job in the administration capacity.
A leader stands out from the crowd, so in short don’t get lost in the crowd because everybody is looking to you to lead them.
Plan to finish.
Plan to finish. Too simple, to logical. But you would be amazed at how many don’t know when they are going to complete the build. If you know what day you are going to start, then you should know exactly what day you intend to finish. Not there a bouts or around, exactly. You have planned all this out from financial and a physical stand point.
Now it is your job to implement the plan. Make sure it is followed and keep updating and altering where required due to weather etc, in order to ensure all involved are kept notified of any change. You will finish when you finish and like a journey, if you don’t plan to be at your destination in a certain time or date, then it becomes more of an adventure. While we all like an adventure, with it comes those surprises and things you were not expecting are all part of it. But with building a home, those are the things that we want to avoid.
No surprises. Finish on time, on budget.