Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Manage Your Expectations During the Building Process


A few years ago, Richard Carlson wrote a book titled, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff— and It’s All Small Stuff.

don't sweat the small stuff

Let your builder provide you a perfect custom home blueprint.

Perspective in Homebuilding


In his now famous book, he said, “Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren’t really that big a deal…” That’s not only good advice for life, it’s especially important during the homebuilding process. I can assure you, there’s going to be a lot of small stuff during the building of your home.

Many people who frequently call their builder’s office worrying about minor things make the building process much more difficult, both for the builder and for themselves. A homeowner who worries when a subcontractor is two hours late to the job, or needs to know why a two-by- four has a knot hole in it, or notices some sawdust in a corner of the living room can take the wind out of anyone’s sail and cause delays.

Yes, it is important to let your builder know if there are things that truly concern you because your builder wants to provide a complete and pleasurable experience. However, people who view every little thing as a “big deal” and worry about it all (especially those who call their builder daily with their current worry list) are never going to be satisfied.


Case Study: The Pitfalls of Over-Attention to Detail


Jordan was someone who excelled in “sweating the small stuff” during the building of his new home. Throughout the design and contract stage of his new home, Jordan was a delight and seemed to be the perfect candidate for a successful project. The trouble started when his builder mentioned the surveyors were scheduled for Thursday. Even though the survey work didn’t need to get done for at least two weeks, the builder wanted to schedule it early so it wouldn’t be a critical component in the building schedule.

At 7:00 Thursday morning it was raining buckets and continued to rain all day. Early Friday morning, before the builder’s offices opened, Jordan called because he was worried about the surveyor. The builder explained to him that because of the full day of rain the previous day, the surveyor was delayed by a day. Jordan was stressed. It was the first of many times throughout the process that Jordan was “sweating the small stuff.”

A week later, when the material was dropped at his lot so construction could begin, the delivery truck got stuck due to all the recent rain. The builder’s office got another call from Jordan wanting to know all the details about why there were tire ruts in his front yard. The day the foundation man was scheduled he was delayed because of traffic. Another phone call from Jordan. Once the foundation work was prepared, Jordan called to find out what day the inspection would occur. Once inspection passed, Jordan wanted to know what the inspector said and why the inspection card in the permit box was signed off in black marker instead of blue ink.

After the foundation was installed, there was a bag and a half of mortar left over and two wheelbarrows of sand. Jordan called to ask what was going to be done with the leftover material. It went on and on and on throughout the entire job! Jordan continued to “sweat the small stuff.” No amount of meetings and explanations could convince Jordan to let the builder do what he had hired him to do. It was counterproductive to the relationship and impeded the builder’s ability to execute the job with excellence. The builder spent more time answering Jordan’s questions about the small stuff than he did looking for opportunities to build his home in the most efficient and effective way possible.


Focus on the Bigger Picture: Quality and Timeliness


It’s important to know that if you’re going to sweat the small stuff (and remember, as Richard Carlson said—it’s all small stuff), it usually will not help you get what you really want. At the end of the day, you and your builder both want the same thing: a quality, custom home completed on time and within a reasonable budget. So relax and let your builder worry about the small stuff. In the end you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

Don’t sweat the small stuff–  let your builder do that.


-Sean Sullivan


Building A Quality Custom Home

Want to know more? This book by Sean Sullivan is full of helpful information in easy-to-read chapters like this blog post.

It is a step-by-step guide to the “must-know” issues of building your dream home. Discover the custom-home construction secrets that could save you headaches, heartaches, and thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars.

Building A Custom Home