As an owner builder, you will need to get good priced contractor bids. Before you make a huge investment buying land, make sure you get the best prices and know the financial commitment building a house will be.
One thing I love about being your own general contractor, is that you get everything exactly the way you want it… That’s because you are instructing all the subcontractors directly.
You can tell all your subcontractors exactly how you want things! If you want special lights, you walk through the house with your electrician and mark each place you want lights and outlets. And the same with all the other contractors.
When you use a general contractor they end up going between you and the subcontractors, and things can get messed up in between. General contractors should fix those mistakes, but this saves a whole lotta hassle that way.
How I Got Good Priced Contractor Bids At First
The first time we built a home we hired a contractor to take it from concrete to drywall, and then to do several finishes. This was a good learning experience for me, because I could document the entire process for my future builds. This is when I learned how to organize bids, costs, plans, finances, lien wavers, and subcontractor schedules.
We had the lot excavated, the well drilled, the temporary power put in, and the driveway built. The contractor took it from there to drywall, and we caulked painted and filled nail holes. Then the same contractor had the finish plumbing, electrical, and HVAC finish up. I learned so much during this process!
A few years later we sold that house, and bought a nice little acre for about 20k. We had a good nest egg this time, and I was ready to just go for it. So, I ordered my favorite plans online, and started getting bids for all the subcontractors from excavation through carpet!
I used the same organization techniques I learned the first time. I used several of the same subcontractors, and also found some good new ones. And it turned out beautiful!
How To Get Good Priced Contractor Bids As An Owner Builder
To get the best prices you will need to get quotes from at least 3 of each type of subcontractor. Make sure each subcontractor is bidding for the same exact things as the others in their category so you can compare them right. Get your plans to 3 contractors in each of these categories:
- The Local Power Company (This is the only exception to the 3 bid rule… We only have 1 power company and they bid the price to get power to the building site.)
- Concrete Contractors – For foundation and any concrete patios and garage bibs.
- Framers – House Framing
- . Siders
- HVAC Companies (Heating and Air Conditioning)
- Painters (This makes the biggest difference! Make sure you get good ones with good reviews!)
- Finish Carpenters (For trim, doors & cabinets or counters in not hard-surface.)
- Flooring & Carpet Contractors (Unless you do this yourself, like us. We like to do mostly hardwood flooring, because we can do it ourselves, save a lot of money and build equity!)
- Well Drillers (If city services are not available.)
- Septic Installers (If city services are not available.)
- Road/Driveway Asphalt and Gravel Contractor – Many Excavators and Concrete Contractors also put in ROCK driveways and small roads, so have them bid on this too!
Tip For The Owner Builder
After you’ve got all your bids, you can adjust your budget and plans to work together financially. I would advise that you do not purchase land till you know how much everything will cost from labor and material bids. That way you make sure to have enough to finish before you make a big investment.
Get a big three ring binder with page or section dividers. Then organize all bids and lien wavers by trade in your binder. This will be a great resource for you if you ever need to call someone back for repairs, or if you decide to build again!
I always get a new binder and do the same thing with each new project, I just label the binder with the new home address, and keep it! This also helps you keep track of contractors and prices over the years as you look back from one project to another.
Mother Builder Step By Step Guide Ebook
My husband worked 8-16 hour days running his own company. So I took the reins with building our home, and I did it time after time till our home was paid off. If I can do it… So can YOU!
As an owner builder you not only save the 15% that a general contractor charges, and money on wasted materials or excess materials.
If you are interested in building your own home and saving thousands of dollars too, get the step by step guide in my ebook!
I take you from financing, planning, permits, organization and through each step of building your own home. I share how I did it, and walk you through the process so you can to!
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