With my advice for owner builders you will be supported throughout your whole build. Have you ever seen owner builders completing their builds and wondered how you can do it too? There’s no real mystery to it other than simple everyday habits. 

Now, if the word “habits” makes you wince a little, I get it. It sounds like a lot of work. But it’s true what they say: Sticking with a new habit long enough, you’ll forget it’s a habit. 

Good habits can help you complete your build and keep your sanity intact. Knowing this, I aimed to create a smooth building process. At first, I got tripped up by needing to be more organised and double-checking on trades and suppliers. 

I couldn’t get in front of my projects because I was going round and round in circles.

So if you’ve struggled to stay on top of your build, there are others. Most people assume building a home is easy when starting, but there is a reason builders charge margins of 20%+.

The key to success is having a strict routine you can follow without fail, including a checklist/construction schedule. 

Discover three easy owner builder habits to help you stay on top of your build.

1. Refer To & Update your Checklist/Construction Schedule

It took a lot of work to follow through with this one initially because I needed to get used to it. However, my advice for owner builders is referring to and updating your checklist/construction schedule is critical to stay on top of your build and being organised. 

So if you find it challenging to incorporate into your routine, you’re not alone.  It is easy not to remember when you have so much going on.  Please remember you can only be in control by taking the time to refer to and input your information into your checklist/construction schedule daily. 

Here’s the good news: You don’t need hours. You can start by committing to referring to and inputting your information every morning. You will quickly feel in control once you make it part of your routine. It will become a regular habit that you no longer dread! After you have this habit, you can also set clearly defined goals to help you refer to and input your information into your checklist/construction schedule several times daily.  All you must do is commit, and the rest will follow. 

You can start by putting aside time a couple of times daily. Then you can fine-tune your checklist/construction schedule. A support system will be able to help you stay answerable. One of the outstanding decisions I made while trying to stay up-to-date with my checklist/construction schedule was to set phone alarms a couple of times per day as a reminder. Even though it was initially annoying, and I often pushed the snooze button, you’re more inclined to stick with it.

Want more tips on getting the support you need? Read this post-Owner Builder Project Manager – Be Effective! And if you’re ready to and are looking for a checklist/construction schedule to refer to and input your information into, use Owner Builder Checklist.


2. Another essential habit – Check Trades Are Onsite

I underestimated the power of checking if trades are onsite, but it’s crucial to your success and worth paying attention to. 

Over the years, I’ve learned that reliable trades are the backbone of success. In my early days, I underestimated their power and thought cutting corners on certain services would save me time. However, this mentality quickly proved to be detrimental. Reliable trades that show up when they say ensure that your build runs smoothly and efficiently. 

Unreliable trades that don’t show up onsite can be an owner builder’s worst nightmare when building their dream home. These subpar contractors can cause delays and cost overruns that undermine the integrity of the entire build. 

My advice for owner builders is if you’re having a hard time getting trades to the site on time, try to:

  • Step 1 – Verify a week before

    If you need help getting trades to the site on time, try to step up your game and verify everything at least a week before their arrival. This will ensure everybody is on the same page and understands exactly what needs to be done. Verifying ahead of time allows for any necessary adjustments or rescheduling if needed, preventing delays that could cost time and money. By being proactive with verification, you can maintain and improve the quality of work by ensuring timely arrivals and efficient use of resources. So take this primary step seriously because it can enormously impact your project’s success!


  • Step 2 – Verify the day before

    This practice helps avoid potential delays or miscommunication and saves time and resources for all parties involved. By reaching out to the trades a day beforehand, you can verify if they have all the basic tools and equipment for the job, if there are any last-minute alterations or updates, and if they need directions or assistance with finding the location. Additionally, this gesture shows your professionalism as it demonstrates that you value their time and commitment to meeting project deadlines. So, please prioritise verifying appointments with trades a day before so that your projects run smoothly without hiccups.

  • Step 3 – Verify on the day

    It is imperative to ensure that every aspect of your project runs smoothly. One such element that requires a lot of attention is verifying the attendance of your trades on the day of work. Even though you have verified their presence one week before and again the day before, it is very important to double-check their availability on the actual day. This ensures that all parties are aware and prepared for any unforeseen circumstances and provides an opportunity for communication regarding potential challenges or delays. Verifying each trade’s attendance can help reduce risks and maintain a seamless checklist throughout your construction project.

3. Essential habit – Confirm with Trades and Suppliers 

This one can be extra challenging, mainly if you’re used to taking people at their word. 

Confirming all details with them is crucial before taking trades and suppliers solely on their word that the goods will be delivered and trades will show up. This includes confirming delivery dates, quantities of goods being ordered, as well as any other pertinent information related to the trade. So that you know, doing so can avoid potential misunderstandings and issues further down the line. It is also important to ensure the trade and supplier have a reliable track record of fulfilling their promises. So, confirming all necessary information and establishing trust through dealings will help make your build come in on time and within budget.

As a professional, I have learned that trusting trades and suppliers’ words can lead to significant setbacks. In the past, I have taken their promises of timely deliveries and onsite presence at face value and have yet to verify them adequately. Unfortunately, this approach has resulted in numerous blowouts where deadlines were missed or work needed to be completed due to unfulfilled commitments from trades or suppliers.

I recognise the importance of carefully vetting all parties involved in a project. You need to establish clear expectations for communication and deliverables. While it may be tempting to take someone’s word for it to save time or avoid conflict. It is better to ensure that all involved are on the same page from the outset. Rather than risk costly delays and mistakes down the line.


Wrapping it up

Whether you are new to owner building or have been at it for a while, these habits will help you build your home.

All you need to do is continue with a routine. 

Remember, stick with my advice for owner builders – it takes time and dedication; failure is part of the process. So if you go off track at any point, that’s completely normal. Please don’t beat yourself up and lose time worrying about it. Get right back to it? You got this!


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