Learn from our mistakes and experiences
Along the way, we have made HEAPS of mistakes and also made some really good moves that saved us a great deal of time and money. This is an ongoing list, but so far, we have the following:
Stuff not to do!
1. DON'T order materials like timber over the phone, always put it in writing. This was one of our golden rules, and one day, we broke it. We ended up with joists the wrong height. As we had no fall back, and the timber had already been cut, we couldn't send it back, so we took it and paid the price! Not only did it cost us at least $1,500 more, but we then had to put noggins in, and this cost us weeks of extra work and money.
2. DON'T assume anything! This was our mantra, and every time we thought we had things under control, a suprise would come our way. For example, assuming that our plumbers would turn up when they said they would.
3. DON'T get sucked in to working 7 days a week. We made sure we had at least one day off a week from building, and Peter got regular chiropractic adjustments and massages etc to take care of his well being. It's worth it!
Ways we saved money and/or time
1. Go local. Don't assume that larger companies are going to give you a better deal. Our small local building supplies company did us some fantastic deals, and on more than one occasion, saved our bacon by bending over backwards to help us when we needed it (ie delivering materials on their way home out of hours).
2. Let people know what you are doing. We had contractors do all kinds of awesome stuff for us because we were genuine and let them know our vision and what we were up against. Don't understimate the level of interest and good will your owner-building can generate.
3. Go second hand. We saved HEAPS of money shopping on ebay and looking in op shops. As an example, we got near-new steel capped boots for $10 from the local op shop, brand new work gear like king gee pants for a few bucks, and even some free stuff from Freecycle. We got our kitchen from ebay for $600. This included the sink, mixer, gas cook top, double electric oven, and more cupboards than we could use.
4. Always ask for recommendations. We asked local people we trusted, to recommend other tradies and contractors, and they were fantastic.
5. Do the figures re buying instead of renting. We did the cost/benefit analysis on equipment before we rented them, as often it was quicker to buy it ourselves and then sell it when we were finished.