5 Core Practices of a Successful Building Business

5 Core Practices of a Successful Building Business title on white background with photo of Amelia Lee and Duayne Pearce and Live Life Build Logo

How do residential building business owners get it all done?

We show you the key principles to getting it all done, WITHOUT doing it all.

Watch the video now, or read the transcript below. Be sure to also subscribe to the Live Life Build YouTube channel.

Doing It All


I know you get this question a lot, because I’ve seen builders ask you this question. And so as well as having a bit of a giggle about it, because, it’s that perception of what people say versus what’s going on in reality.


Duayne, lots of builders do see you and they ask you, you have so much going on, you seem to have all of these things, all these different businesses, all of these things that you’re interested in, and you’re passionate about. How do you actually manage to get so much done?


I know what I’m good at. It’s pretty much that simple. 

I learned very quickly, in business, that I needed to focus on my strengths, and get other people to do what I’m not good at. So everything that I do in my business, and even with Live Life Build, you and I both know what our strengths are, what we’re good at. It doesn’t mean that I don’t try other things every now and then. But for me to make the most use of my time, every day, it means that I really spend that time focusing on what I’m really good at. 

And in my building business, I’m really good at the client communication, having the client meetings, going to design meetings, I love that side of it. I’m really good at managing things. 

So I can have multiple jobs running, lots of different trades everywhere. And I’m very good at making sure everyone’s doing what they should be doing. And something I got told probably five or six years ago, and it really stuck with me is:

I don’t have to be doing everything. I just need to make sure that everything’s getting done. 

And that’s my focus.

Being a Productive Residential Builder


When you actually do really think about what are your strengths? What are you good at? What do you enjoy spending your time on? What do you enjoy doing, but perhaps you could improve? So you need to gain some extra learning? 

What are you really great at and you could actually spend more time doing that you’ll be far more efficient, you’ll be far more productive, which then in turn, helps your business actually grow and thrive and support you to then be able to outsource those things that you’re not great at. 

Or look at how you can bring in team members that are going to support you in that way. And I think that when you look at teams, the best performing teams, it’s because they have people with complementary skill sets, doing what they’re great at, and all working together to deliver the best result.


Building is a really challenging job, and there can be so much going on. And as we’ve sort of come to know, over the last two years of doing Live Life Build, because we’ve developed such an incredible systems library, and we’ve broken it right down:

Only 20% of the tasks it takes to run a building business are done on site.

80% of the other tasks are away. So that’s all your contracts administration, project management, design meetings, all those types of things. Invoicing. There’s so much going on. 

So I think so many builders get tied up in trying to do all the little tasks. And this can be for multiple reasons, you might feel that you can’t afford to employ someone. You might even feel that your business is not big enough to employ someone. There’s so many reasons. But at the end of the day, if you’re trying to do everything, you’re just going to waste a lot of time because there’s always going to be someone that’s more efficient at doing something. 

So I think a good starting point is sitting down and outlining it. Just a full list of the tasks that you’re currently doing in your business. And then maybe go through with some different coloured highlighters and highlight the ones that you think you’re really good at. Highlight the ones that you want to do. I think that’s really important. It’s not just about ones you want to do. If you don’t enjoy doing it, there’s no point doing it. Because you’re going to get tied up, you’re going to get frustrated. And then highlight ones that you could easily outsource and give other people to do. 

Basically over the years that’s what I’ve done. And I’ve always, from a very early stage in my business way back even when I had a contracting carpentry business. I employed people where I needed to employ them. So I have always had a bookkeeper to help me out with the numbers. It didn’t help that I didn’t understand the numbers, but it still got all the accounting side of things done. It kept the business flowing. I’ve always employed an accountant to do the final numbers and review things and talk me through things.

When it comes to doing things on site, again, even back when I had a contracting business, I employed carpentry supervisors. So I could end up with 40 or 50 carpenters. I could be working on multiple jobs for multiple builders. And I knew I had teams running things. And it’s no different these days with my building business. 

I have an incredible team. I think the important part to remember here for any builder out there watching this is, it’s not all me. I do get asked all the time, I get lots of messages like, “man, how do you do everything in a day? I see your Instagram stories, it looks like you’re all over the place. So how do you know what’s going on? How do you keep everything under control? How do you keep cash flow? How do you make money?” And it’s not me. But the reason it’s not me is I’ve learned that you need to employ people.

I only have so many hours in a day. In those hours, I want those hours to be focused on things that I’m good at, that I’m efficient at. And ultimately, my business will be successful if I keep doing that. 

So I’ve got an incredible accounts manager in my business. My wife, Camille, does all the project management and admin in our business. And she’s amazing at that. I’ve got an incredible supervisor, unbelievable supervisor, who has been with me a long time. And I’ve got incredible lead carpenters and others, your normal carpenters and apprentices. And so by employing people, learning about people, putting people in the right roles, I think that’s really important. That is what allows me on face value, to look like I’m doing so much.

Put a Monetary Value on Your Time


I think too, oftentimes you can forget a couple of things. One is if you’re spending time on things that you’re not good at, and that you are slow at and feel you cannot learn, it starts to mess with your mind, your head, your headspace about whether you’re cut out for this. Whether you’re actually capable of this, and most likely 99.9% of the time you are, you’re just the wrong person to be doing that job, and you need help. 

And too many business owners struggle for far too long doing tasks that they are not suited to, and then make that mean that they’re not good at running a business. And instead, you’ll often find that if you actually put a value on your time and a monetary value on your time, you would realise that you can hire somebody for far less money to be able to do that job that then frees you up to have greater capacity to earn more money for your business doing the things that you are good at and that you’re more expertly suited to, because it needs your experience and your expertise. 

So it’s really important that you stay focused on what are your strengths, thinking about what you’re good at. And this has worked really well for Duayne. 

Then identifying where you can bring in support and understanding you’re not going to build this team overnight, it’s taken a long time to build this team that you can trust and rely upon. So you’re not going to get this overnight but starting and looking at where are the team members that you could bring in to start working on some of those jobs that you know need to be done in order to keep running your business but could be done more effectively and also potentially far more cheaply by somebody else other than you.


And look, the other thing to remember here is Live Life Build’s no different. Live Life Build, Amelia and I, it’s not just Amelia and I. We have multiple staff behind the scenes that deal with a lot of stuff that is more efficient for them to do then for us to do. 

So figure out what you want to do in your business, focus on it, get people doing the other tasks. And the other thing I guess, Amelia, to bring up as well is it sometimes it’s not just employing people. There’s a lot of apps and software out there now too that will make your life a lot easier. And I know Amelia has got a lot that she loves. I’ve got a lot that I love and just really simple ones. I am absolutely useless on a computer. And so simple ones like voice memo tools and things that you can talk to on your phone that can then translate that into an email or send a message to someone. 

There’s so much out there that can help you and don’t be like I was for a long, long time and make excuses that ‘I don’t know how to do everything’. ‘I’ve got no time’. Prioritise your time on what you’re good at, focus on what you’re good at and employ people or find software or apps to do the things that can be done more efficiently.

5 Core Practices of a Successful Building Business

If you can implement the key takeaways from the above, you will have a solid basis to how you approach your business, and it will give you the tools, and the time, to grow your business and give you the lifestyle you want.

  1. Focus on your strengths and what you enjoy doing
  2. You don’t need to do everything, but make sure everything is getting done
  3. Realise that 80% of tasks needed to run your business are done away from site
  4. Create a team of the right people for the right jobs
  5. Get Help when you need it

Our discussion on Shifting Goals as a Residential Builder will give you an insight into some of the struggles Duayne faced early on in his business and gives you some tips on changes you can make to overcome these.   When you are ready to add some members to your team [or perhaps make a change to the ones you have] – check out our tips for building a successful team.

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