By Andy Meredith
When it comes to renovating and remodeling houses, Candis and I have always been a little bit different than other investors and sellers. Instead of hiring a general contractor and/or a project manager, Candis has always acted as our general contractor, while I take on the role of project manager. That means that she works on the designs and manages the whole project, while I’m usually on-site taking care of anything I can do myself, hiring our subcontractors, and making sure that everyone’s on the same page. I’ve learned a few things about being an effective project manager over the years, so if you want to take a similar path to ours, here are a few tips I’ve had to learn the hard way.
Know What You Can’t Do
One of the coolest things about the way that we remodel and renovate houses is how hands-on we are about it. I’ve learned a lot about carpentry and building construction since we started working together, but I’ve also learned that there are some jobs that you leave to the experts. When it comes to plumbing and electrical work, I have a couple of guys on speed dial, and I never touch that stuff on my own.
We take our time with our renovations because we want to make sure that they get done right, and we put a lot of love into our work. That doesn’t mean that Candis and I have to learn a bunch of new trades that’ll take years to master, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you have to do that. No project manager on the face of the earth does every single job on a renovation, and you shouldn’t, either. So identify the things you can’t do and get the people who can lined up to work for you.
Never Underestimate the Power of Good Organization
When you first look at a house that needs major renovations, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and think, “There’s so much to do!” Trust me, it still sometimes happens to me when we walk into a house for the first time. When we sit down and go over everything that the house needs, though, things start to come together. If you try to just move from one thing to the next and renovate your properties as you go, you’re going to spend a lot of extra time and effort, and you’re likely to get in your own way. You’ll feel like you’re living the old saying, “Before you get anything done, you have to do something else first.”
Getting organized and putting together a plan helps you prioritize your work. That way you know which specialists you need to call and what you need to do first. The whole thing suddenly gets a lot more manageable and a lot less overwhelming when you have a solid plan.
Don’t Micromanage Your Subcontractors
One of the things that makes being a project manager easier for me is focusing on the things I have to do for the project. I take some time every day to check in with the guys working on other parts of the renovation, but I never stand over them or micromanage their progress. I make sure they know they can come to me with issues, and I let them do their jobs.
If you know what you need help with, stay on top of your organization, and communicate well with the people working for you, you’re going to have a lot more success working as your own project manager. If you have trouble with any of these, there’s no shame in farming this job out to someone with more experience while you work on the big-picture projects for your business.