• Duane C. Barney

Building your dream home? For success, think of it as launching a small business


A custom home, one built just for you in the perfect location, with every amenity just the way you want it. It is very exciting and should be fun but there will be a lot of work between your dream and enjoying the view pool side.



One of the first tasks is understanding where to start, how to launch this dream and make it happen. It is not a glamorous approach but think of the process as starting a new business, which it is, you are setting about the task to manufacture one large single product, you are going to create an asset that may one day be for sale; that is after you have enjoyed it to its fullest.


Each project is custom, one of a kind, never to be built again.

As with any new business venture the business plan includes:

1. A vision

2. Financial considerations

3. Manufacturing location

4. Regulation hurdles

5. Compliance

6. Design

7. Production

8. Sales (At a much later date)

This is a substantial investment involving a multitude of consultants who may have their own consultants. Hundreds of people either directly or indirectly will be in your employment envelope. The process is fairly typical but is uniquely modified for each home as each project is custom, one of a kind, never to be built again.

Recapping, you are starting a business in an industry for which you have no experience committing a substantial amount of your earnings with the objective of building a unique product customized for you alone. The is akin to the buying a sports team our launching your own movie. May be fun, a great investment and a huge learning opportunity but to be successful you will hire a great coach or director. Someone who understands the industry and process. With any new business you have the option to wear all the hats or some, but to be successful you hill hire out what you do not know and focus on what you can do best.

An owner’s representative is your best course of action

In the case of a custom home odds are, very few of the processes or terminology will be second nature to you. An owner’s representative is your best course of action. Hiring a construction consultant to represent you is the coach for your new team to guide you in hiring for success, organizing the process and schedule, coordinating the consultants and overseeing the construction finances. There is a lot of work to be done and an enormous time commitment as would be with any new business. Ask anyone who has been there, the amount of time and decisions to be made is endless. Even with a consultant to oversee the process there will be a large commitment on your part deciding on materials, layout colors and design. These decisions must be made by you, but the consultant can also provide experienced guidance as to the pros and cons for the more complicated decisions. Even for colors you will consult with a designer, why would you not bring on an experienced construction consultant to oversee the overall process, your project COO.

· Land acquisition

· Zoning & Compliance

· Architect selection

· Consultant selection

· Material selections

· Contractor selection

· Contracts

· Billing

· Scheduling

· Change order review

· Project close out

· Move-in

If you are ready, go for it, if you have the time commitment and desire to learn the opportunity is there. Your new home has never been built before and will never be built just this way again, so you have one chance to do it correctly or pay for the do over. Start your new business with a plan for success and hire the team with the experience to make it happen.


you are starting a business in an industry for which you have no experience


This is a small business with no growth curve, the entire team must come up to full seed to manufacture one unit, unlike a normal start-up the opportunity to take on a few roles yourself and then hire on as the business grows is not there. The entire team of professionals must be there from the start.

Questions about how to start your project? We recommend this book as an essential first step.

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