Owner-Builder Saving Secrets

I've listed some owner-builder saving secrets below that are stated by many industry experts, home-building books, and other home builders.  Any one of these secrets can save you the suggested amounts on your construction budget but once you start combining multiple owner-builder saving secrets, you should cut the values in half to get a realistic total on your savings.

Est. Savings:   By:    
5%   Running a clean job site  
5%   Making no change orders (with your subs)  
15%   Hiring subs at a downturn in the economy  
5%   Doing your own planning and using a designer rather than architect  
2%   Paying suppliers in 10 days  
15%   Doing 1,000 hours of planning  
10%   Being on-site  
5%   Getting bids from three generals (if you use a general)  
10%   Getting bids from three subs and suppliers in every category  
5%   Using a spreadsheet to estimate and track all costs  
3%   Eliminating scrap by designing to nominal sizes of material  
5%   Starting in the low construction season for your area  
10%   Buying all material separately from labor  
5%   Avoiding the lender and paying cash  

Your saving can be further boosted by doing labor yourself.  In fact, self-work can save you over 60% of the cost of any trade.  One thing to keep in mind however is doing a lot of the labor yourself will distract you from your responsibilities and opportunities as general contractor.  You have to control the amount of self-work that you do.  It is usually most effective to do the trades that you have a little experience at and not attempt huge tasks that you have never done before on your own.  Many trades have a steep learning curve and you can find in the end you've wasted more time and money than it would have taken to hire it out. It's best to figure on the owner-builder saving secrets listed above and then look at the self-work saving as a bonus.

Construction Hard Costs versus Soft Costs

Construction Schedule

Construction Budgets/Costs