Do it Yourself?

Should I do my own work?

If you are skilled in the trades and can do the same quality of work that a professional can and have the time and energy to do so, then yes. If you have family or friends that are skilled in the trades and willing to help you out, then that can save you money, but it is not without its own set of complications. Uncle Louie is an electrician and says he’ll wire the house for you all you have to do is give him beer for the weekend.

Sounds great!  So it comes time to wire the house and it’s ready on Tuesday, well Uncle Louie can’t come until the weekend. Friday night you call Uncle Louie just to make sure he’s going to show on Saturday and he’s sick and just can’t make it, or he has a birthday party he forgot about, or his wife has other plans and he forgot to tell her of his plans. Guess who wins that one?

Anyway, another week or two or three is lost until Uncle Louie can show, or the friend who has the paint machine can show.  In the mean time, the next step cannot be completed or even scheduled until these guys show up. Not only that, the next people in line to work on your house are not sitting home watching soaps, they are taking on other work and other commitments, so when the work is done and passes inspection, then and only then, can I call the next sub to schedule their work. By then he is deep into his other jobs and we are at the bottom of the pile, so we may have to wait another week or more to get them back to the job.  I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I’ve seen this happen to owners over and over again.

There is also a life and property risk when you are dealing with electrical, heating, plumbing and roofing as well as trades taken on by owners. For example, I had an owner who wanted to do his own wiring, plumbing, heating as well as other items on his house.  He is a perfectionist and everything he does is really nice work, so I wasn’t worried about the quality of work.  Two or three months after the house was completed, one of the plumbing fittings was not glued properly and popped off while they were out of town for a long weekend.

It caused over $30,000 of damage and they had to be out of their house for 6 months while the disaster restoration company could do the work, which in of itself was another nightmare.  Just nailing down a wire to tight or putting on a wire too loose can cause a fire, months or even years later. These are just some of reasons to think twice about doing the work yourself or having a friend, neighbor, or even Uncle Louie do the work because if something goes wrong it all falls on you and nobody else.

Should I build my house my self?  Twenty years ago, It used to be a fairly simple process to build a house yourself, but every since the spring break quake in 1985 everything has changed.  We are now in a seismic zone in the Willamette valley and it has not only complicated the building process from foundation to the roof, but it has added substantial expense to the overall cost of the home.  The building code is constantly changing it’s difficult for us who work in it everyday to keep up with it, more less your average home owner, and the framing is only one aspect of the construction process, there have been huge changes in heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical, insulation, exterior envelope, even sheetrock.  Honestly, it’s just ridiculous how many rules and regulations there are now.

A lot of folks want to build there own house to say they built their own house, and I totally understand that.  But if you’re considering it to save money, I often times challenge an owner that I can build their house for less money than they can even building themselves, and I know we can do it in a fraction of the time that the owner can, plus it will be done professionally, and with quality.  How can we do that? Let me explain why.  We build several homes a year, year after year, so we are going to get a way better price on lumber and materials to build your home than you are.   Next, I also get better pricing from the sub contractors than you will, because I keep them in work all year long.  Even with my overhead added to the bid I can almost always beat a home owners cost.

Another very big benefit to using us is #1. we have spent the last 10 years finding and working with the best sub contractors in the area. They are fair, honest, do what they say they are going to do and when they say they are going to do it, if they didn’t there gone.  #2 because of the reasons I have already mentioned, when I call a sub to be there, if at all possible they are.  That also is the case for any call backs after the house is build.  An average home owner is just not going to get that kind of attention and commitment, it may not seem right but unfortunately, it is just the way it is but by using us you benefit from our great reputation and relationship with all the trades.  Last but maybe the most important reason to have us build you home is, it is my job to make building a home a stress free and enjoyable experience for the owners.  Many people who have built a house themselves and or with other contractors often say what a stressful, difficult and frustrating experience it was.  Not so with our clients, we have a very long list of happy customers and we are happy to allow you to talk with anyone we have built for.