Should You DIY or Hire a Professional?

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Should You DIY or Hire a Professional?

Perhaps you’ve decided to upgrade your master bathroom. Maybe you’ve decided to build a new deck or put up a fence around your backyard pool. These are excellent choices to improve your home’s value. But whatever the home project you have in your sites, it’s best to decide right away whether you can do it yourself (DIY) or if you need to hire the help of a professional.

 Assess Skills and Knowledge

Having the right attitude when approaching a DIY project is important, but if you don’t have the right skills and knowledge and take the right safety precautions, you may run into trouble.

According to Jim Rocchetta, vice president of marketing for Handyman Connection, many homeowners with even basic skills encounter unexpected problems. “A small problem can very quickly grow into a huge one,” Rocchetta says. “A sizable percentage of our business each year, in fact, involves salvaging do-it-yourself projects that have gone wrong.”

As you weigh the best option for completing your home project, seek out the advice of others. Ask the staff at your local hardware or home store about the skill level required of the project you seek to tackle. Consult books, tutorials, and even friends who have completed similar projects.

With any project, unexpected hiccups can occur such as the necessity for an expensive power tool or slip ups such as crooked tiles or broken materials. Are you prepared to handle these realities or would the job be better suited for a professional who is trained to handle any situation that might occur? Be realistic with the projects you take on, and start small.

Calculate Cost

It should come as no surprise that you will get the most value out of a DIY project when it costs less to do it yourself than hire a pro. According to Money Crashers, the catch is that the more a job costs to have done professionally, the more of your time and money it will likely eat up. In order to determine whether it is worth it to DIY, you need to “estimate both the cost and the time involved and work out your savings on a per-hour basis.” To begin, price the professional job by getting bids from two or three contractors. Next, add up the cost of doing it yourself, including prices for material, tools, and permits. Subtract the DIY cost from the professional cost to determine how much savings you can garner.

Estimating time could prove to be a little more difficult as it is dependent on your skill level, knowledge, and experience. Consult books, tutorials, and home store professionals to find time estimates for specific projects. Once you have your savings and time estimates, divide the savings by the time to determine how much money you conserve for every hour of work. In essence, this is how much you would earn per hour for doing the work yourself. Are the costs and time involved more than you are willing to dedicate? If so, hiring a professional may be the best route.

Do You Have the Right Tools?

With any project you take on, certain tools will be necessary. According to NARI, the type and cost of the tools you need are dependent upon the scope of the project. Some projects will require expensive tools that you might not have in your garage. If you don’t have the required tools, will you buy them or rent them? You might find that hiring a professional is more cost-effective.

Another important tool is patience. DIY projects often require a lot of instruction-reading and trips to buy materials, and you may find yourself researching how to avoid, or even fix, mistakes.

If you get easily frustrated or flustered, it may be best to hire a professional. When deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional, lay out a plan so you can get a good picture of what will be required to help inform your decision.


About The Author: Paul enjoys working on DIY home repair projects. He learned to navigate the world of DIY while raising a child with special needs. He is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects to benefit people with special needs children. 

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