Log Home Builder Costs

steve | July 15th, 2011 - 7:20 am

As someone moves forward in planning for their log home it can be so much fun to browse through photos and floor plans. But when the actual budget and building cost time comes it can be a challenge to locate just the right contractor to handle your log home. At times it seems like builders get dollar signs in their eyes as soon as they hear the words “log home”. So here are some guidelines and also approaches to matching an excellent builder with an outstanding Cowboy Log Home package.

First let us look at the approaches for finding a builder.

Mike and Sue Lemmon Cowboy Log Homes

Often our customers decide to build a log home by themselves. This means that the customer purchases a log home package from us and then provides their own labor to erect the shell and complete the home.

Another avenue is to act as your own general contractor. For this approach the homeowner purchases the log home package from us and then they hire all of their own people to finish the home. The homeowner does not have to actually do any of the building, but it is their responsibility to locate a subcontractor for each stage of the building. This would include someone to do the foundation work, a contractor to erect the shell, scheduling a crane, lining up an excavator, hiring a plumber, electrician, and heating contractors, finishing the exterior and interior of the home, and so forth.  This option does save the builder mark up of the entire home, but it does require that the owners be on site everyday through out the project. Also the homeowners must make all of the phone calls to schedule the various contractors, be sure each stage of construction gets completed so the  successive subcontractor can proceed with his work, and also that all of the materials and machines are obtained and delivered on time. Trust me, this is no small job.

Hire a Project Manager

Hiring a Project Manager can be another way to still act as your own general contractor, but you have a project manager with lots of building experience on hand to help with all the scheduling, making sure work is completed, and the overseeing of the project.

Dryin Contracts

The third option is to purchase a log home package from us and then hire a contractor to install the foundation, erect the package, and dry the home in. Then the balance of the finish work can be completed either by the homeowners themselves or by contractors that the homeowners hire. This is sometimes referred to as a dry-in cost or dry-in finish. One large benefit of this option is that a contractor with experience in log home building oversees the vital parts of the home– including foundation, stacking of logs, installation of roof, windows, exterior doors, etc. Then the homeowner can handle the less daunting task of finishing the interior of the home themselves.

Turnkey Contracts

And the fourth choice is to purchase the log home package from Cowboy Log Homes and then hire us or a general contractor to finish all of the home to turnkey completion. This means that all the homeowner has to do is to turn the key and move in the furniture. A full turnkey also means that the homeowners do not need to be on site. Sometimes the homeowners do not even see the home until it is completely finished. This is often the case when the owners live out of state. A general contractor does need to have a phone number available to reach the homeowners in case something arises that they need to ask the owners opinion on. Also a general should be able to provide weekly photos to the owners so they can see the progress. Cell phone shots are not adequate most of the time, so be sure to ask for large resolution photos to be emailed to you.

Now for locating a general contractor.

One of the best ways is to allow us to work with you to locate a builder. We have several builders that we work with. Also if a job site is out of our builders’ areas or if our log home builders are already booked, we can help you locate someone else. Selecting a log home plan, choosing the style of log home, and getting a quote from us is not hard. But selecting a builder can be difficult for homeowners if they don’t have some help. At times a homeowner locates a builder right away that suits their needs and budget. But at other times we have seen excited homeowners shelf all of their log home dreams because they spoke with a builder that either 1. provided extremely high building costs, 2. did not like log homes, 3. was not informed about log homes, or 4. had been asked to build in the past with substandard logs. All of these can make the builder provide distorted building costs.

Some of the best questions I ask builders are things such as 1. do they have experience with log homes, 2. how log have they been building, 3. do they work in XYZ area, 4. do they build log home plans from most companies or are they limited to only one,  and so on. It is not unusual to speak with many builders before you find one that is qualified. If you are interested in only a dry-in contract, or just erecting of the log home shell, then be sure to ask the builder that up front.

Log Home Building Costs:

For a milled log home a full turnkey is around $165 starting out with an 8 inch milled log home, depending on how complicated the log home plan is, finish material chosen by homeowners, job site location, etc.

For a handcrafted log home a full turnkey ranges between about $200 and $225, also depending on how complicated the home plan, amenities, job site, building location, etc.

These are just general guidelines. Once a homeowner has a floor plan chosen, more accurate quotes can be provided up request.

Recently we had a customer approach us and only inquire about the cost of a package. Being a self motivated person he took it on himself to call builders. After speaking with several he contacted us and said he was so discouraged and he was no longer going to build on his property. This had been his dream for 10 years. So I called this customer and spoke with him. It turned out that all of the builders he had talked with were not informed about how little a milled log home really shrinks and how we plan for that shrinkage. After speaking with me and viewing several photos and construction details the owner was so excited. Then he said, “I should have just talked with you first!” And yes, much unnecessary heart ache can be avoided by first consulting your log home professional.  We are a full service log home company and part of our job is to act as a log home coordinator for your project. So whether you are building a great big handcrafted log home or buying a small log cabin kit that’s for sale, do yourself a favor, ask us first instead of last!

Cowboy Log Homes

Any projected costs, cost estimates, material costs, and estimated construction/ building costs, are only the opinion of Cowboy Log Homes and are drawn from our experience. Every home is custom tailored to meet our individual client's wants and desires. The construction of a log or timber home is based on two primary costs: material provided by the log home company and construction costs contracted with Cowboy Log Homes as the builder or another builder of the customer's choice. Final costs are obtained and contracted with each respectively. Cowboy Log Homes is simply the "glue" that helps bring these two together to provide a final culmination of a customer's project. * Please note photos and elevations may differ some from accompanying floor plans.
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