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12 Armadillos art 7: The “Not So” Glamorous Life Of A General Contractor

title.jpgChrista and I have found our new calling!  We LOVE LOVE LOVE being general contractors!  Initially we did not set out to hold this position, but ultimately decided that we could save the 30- 60k general contracting fee that we were quoted. We have set an 8 week deadline (we want to spend Thanksgiving in the barndo) for completion.  

IMG_8709How often do we drive to Brenham to work?

We go about 4-5 times a week. 

Here are some lessons we have learned!

toolsBe Smart About Supplies You Need to Purchase/ Rent At the Beginning. 

Porta Potty:  We should have rented ours months ago. It only costs $80 a month, is serviced weekly, and doesn’t smell bad.

beforeDumpster:  We waited too late to realized we needed one.  There is a shortage due to Hurricane Harvey so now we have to pick up garbage, bag it, load it onto the trailer, and find a landfill.  Don’t load up a trailer full of dirt and trash and take it to a recycling center.  They will look at you like you are a fool (yes we did this) and then point you to the closest landfill.  They weigh your trailer on the way in and out and it costs around $25.00 a load.

IMG_5875Trailer:  We should have purchased one in the beginning.  We finally broke down and bought one and use it almost every day!  Before we owned one we had to rent ones to transport items.  We did learn that it is too easy to rent a trailer or a U-haul for the day.  If you don’t want to bother your neighbor to move something, just know it is cheap and easy to rent one on your own. 

Storage Shed:  We plan on buying one of these for less than 1k at Home Depot to keep lawn equipment, etc.  We should have purchased this at the start because now we have a pod and the cost will add up to be much more than a 1k when we are done.

Large Trash Can, Wheel Barrow, Shovel, Work Gloves, and Large Contractor Garbage Bags

doorYour Significant Other Has Skills That You would Not Believe!

For years Brad was the handy one.  A few weeks ago Dave decided he wanted to get into woodworking.  WOW!!! Who knew Dave could be a woodworking ninja! So far he has built a large picnic table, a barn door, and is now working on our shutters.

blueHusbands will admit when they are wrong

For a year we have collected bargains at flea markets, resales shops, beg barter sites, etc.  Our husbands have complained and complained about #1.  Us spending money on these things   #2.  The stuff junking up our garages.  Now that the project is getting towards the end, they are admitting that they were wrong.  They now see our transformations and appreciate that we will have cool items in the barndo (for rock bottom prices). 

garagebarThings Pop Up:  Both Good and Bad

IMG_5870.jpgBad:  Your budget will always go over.  Expenses that you didn’t even think of will need to be added.  We had to have our road fixed because the wear and tear of 17 concrete trucks, numerous semis, etc. have torn it up.  Dirt had to be added to level parts of the land, and now we are having rock delivered for a parking area, trim, and a fire pit area. 

roundGood:  We discovered that we are close to one of the coolest Antique Shows in the U.S. (Round Top).  We now believe that we will be able to rent out our place during this twice annual 3 week fair.  

Find Good Deals!!!

We purchased our cabinets at Lowes because the manufactures were running an awesome sale along with lots of rebates.  We now make sure to check out the Appliance Clearance section.  We scored a brand new $3000 fridge for $1000 because it was ordered incorrectly.  Check out the Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity on a regular basis to find bargains.  We were able to buy brand new door handles (we needed 20) for $6-$8 each at Habitat for Humanity.  We also scored a vintage red piano for $200.

piano.jpgSign Up For Pro-Accounts

We save 10% at Home Depot, 5-10% at Lowes, and are able to check out floor samples for free at Floor and Decor. 

Go bigger than you think you need

One of the best things we did was listen to our sweet friends Marina and Jeff (they have a rental home in Galveston) who said we won’t regret have 6 bedrooms/ 6.5 baths.  If you think you want to have 3 bedrooms, build 4 instead.  One of our favorite things about our barndo is our 1500 sq ft covered porch.  

Stay organized

This is especially important for us because there are 4 partners.  We keep our receipts and input them into an app

IMG_5577.jpgMake it a family affair

All 12 Armadillos have been an active part in making this dream turn into a reality.  The older kids work on projects and the little ones try and get involved. 

FullSizeRenderPeople you hire are so nice and will help you figure things out!  They will also be great about working with others on the project. 

apYou HAVE to have GRIT.  Because this is our full time job, we must be willing to do the crap work.  We are both covered in bruises from the last two days of hard work we put in at the land.  We spent several hours picking up large construction site trash.  The next day we spent a long time putting in landscaping border.  It was hard work.  Every bone of our body aches but this is what this adventure is all about.

Here are a few more picts!






So, there you have it, our progress so far.  It’s been so much fun, but it has also been a lot of work.  We have learned so much and can’t wait to help any of our friends and family who want to go on a similar journey!

Our question for you, what types of things do you think are a must for this type of place? (Games, activities, amenities, etc)


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Wow!! It’s coming together great!! Y’all have really gotten the things that are making this great. Can’t wait to see it.

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