Lessons Learned

  1. You will go over budget.
  2. Your plan will change.
  3. Your timeframe will vary.
  4. You will experience incredible highs and bottomless lows.
  5. You will feel as though it will never end and there is no way they can put everything back together.
  6. There will be moments when it's kind of fun.
  7. Unexpected costs will appear for work you didn't intend on doing.
  8. If you plan on living in the house while you renovate, it will get dusty.
  9. Don't walk around the renovation area and then walk where you are living.  See #8.
  10. Put a humidifier in the area where you are living to help keep the dust down.
  11. Keep your vacuum out where you can get to it often.  See #8.
  12. Meet with your project manager and contractor weekly to review the budget and the schedule.
  13. Treat your sub contractors well.  Buy them lunch, give them water and snacks.  It will pay off.
  14. Communicate early and often with the contractor and supervisor to avoid mistakes.
  15. Mistakes will happen.
  16. Point out the mistakes to your supervisor early and often.
  17. If you think something small isn't going to get done, it probably won't.
  18. Review the plan for the day, every day, with the supervisor.
  19. Bitch when your supervisor isn't there and you think he should be.
  20. Ask for advice from the supervisor and the subs as most have done this before.
  21. Toss out half of the advice from the subs as they are looking for a shortcut.
  22. Question what and why things are being done and offer suggestions to prevent sub contractor shortcuts.
  23. Never place a Port-O-John on your neighbor's property.
  24. Never discuss politics with a sub contractor.  Especially one that is doing anything that he could muck up if he disagrees with your position.  
  25. If you have subs that speak a language different from your native tongue, try a few words in their language, even if it makes you look like an idiot.