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A decision that you need to make as a homeowner is when is a good time to DIY or hire a contractor? I grew up with a dad as a carpenter so there were fewer times that I saw contractors come into our home.
That being said, my dad had respect for all trades and knew when something was outside of his expertise.
Houselogic shares some good info on the cost of the most common repairs. As most of us know, labor is usually the most expensive part of any service. That being said, cost should not be the only factor in deciding if you need a professional for your project.
Do you need a licensed trade person?
There are times where the project needs a licensed tradesperson. Your town or city will have legislation in place. For example, you may need a permit for a specific job that only a tradesperson can obtain.
Call your local township to see what the requirements are for the project that you are doing.
This typically applies to larger-scale projects but you also need to know what is and is not within your scope. You are not an electrician or plumber so you may want to delegate those tasks and stick with the sections of the project that you are familiar with and know you can do legally and responsibly.
Will DIY affect your home insurance?
This is a big one. Depending on your insurance company, certain jobs in your home require a certified or licensed tradesperson. Without it, you simply will not have the coverage.
Once I had the idea to make a lamp for my dad’s birthday. It was so cool! I spent hours putting the piping together and wiring it so that it would look like a jazz player. Sitting on the hardware store floor, an employee came over to help me. I told him what I was up to and he mentioned that he knew someone who’s house burnt down due to a homemade lamp. They got no insurance coverage.
After I got home, I called and checked with my own company and sure enough, he was right. I still built the lamp but for appearance purposes only.
Make sure you know what you are and are not allowed to do. The rules seem to change from time to time as well so check as you go.
Obviously, this is a huge priority… I am not just talking about basic protective glasses, gloves or masks that you should always be used to properly protect yourself. There are a few areas that you need to factor in when you are making the decision to DIY or hire a contractor.
Contractors likely have the proper safety equipment and are more prepared for if something unexpected comes up.
They have the right gear should they cut into drywall to find moldy insolation or the right tools to stop a leaky pipe.
Do you have the skill to complete the task?
Personally, I am pretty hard-headed and tend to think that I can do anything. Respecting my own limitations is a skill set that I have learned over time. Learning when to stand back and let a professional do the work can keep you safe.
Professionals go to school for a long time to learn their specific trade, many do internships as well. That means that they have been exposed to various situations should something go wrong and will be able to fix the issues much faster than you likely can.
Do you have the proper equipment?
Sometimes you can get away with using a skill saw instead of a Mitre saw but ceratin jobs are not that flexible. You could do major damage to your home if you take on a task such as plumbing with the wrong equipment.
Related Post: Top 10 Must Have DIY Tools
Cost of DIY or hire a contractor
Cost isn’t everything. I know that one of the reasons that we all love DIY home projects and/or ideas is being it saves money. We all love to save some cash…
However, I have had to redo some projects that in the end cost me a ton of money because I refused to hire someone. I am very stubborn so if I can do it myself I will. I actually don’t mind the idea of redoing a project because I love the reward of doing it myself. Sometimes though, it just doesn’t pay off.
There may be times when you can consider doing a section of the work and hiring a contractor for the other. Many contractors are ok with this and you can go over with them what areas you would like to do.
Some projects will require new tools
Price out the cost of the tools that you need and compare that to how much the professional cost is. If you are doing one tile project and need a wet saw, it may not be worth it.
Some tools are worth the investment since you will use them over and over. My Mitre Saw and skill saw, for example, get used regularly and I couldn’t do half of many DIY home projects without them.
Basic tools should be in every home like a hammer and screwdrivers. Another tool that I use all of the time is my palm sander. You don’t need to buy the most expensive tools either, the higher ticket ones do tend to be better quality and last longer. If you are just starting pout it is ok to buy cheaper options, rent or wait for a good sale.
Most of the time, DIY is fun and a perfect hobby. I know when I have gone too far. Suddenly, it is no longer fun… When this happens, I know that it is time to step away and either hire someone or stop for a while.
Having 2 kids, a hubby and a full-time job; adding in DIY can feel overwhelming at times.
I do all of the home DIY or home reno in our home. Sometimes I take on too much and have to reevaluate my time.
Consider the time of day that you do your best work as well. I prefer the morning as that is when I feel the most inspired and active. If I want to teach the kids then I may wait for them to get home from school or after homework in the evening.
You may have to space out your home project ideas. That way you can save for each one and also have more family time.
Not sure about you but I am not about to go up on my roof to shovel off all of the snow in minus 30 degrees. Not only is this a dangerous idea, but it is also freezing…
There are weather conditions that should be put into consideration.
Too hot or too cold can affect your judgment and reflexes.
You may know how to shingle a roof but that doesn’t mean that you should. If it is cold. you could fall and slip. If it is hot and you are not used to the conditions and working in the heat, you could faint and fall.
Professionals are trained in their skill and that includes training in the various conditions when needed. Be smart in your decisions when it comes to weather.
Being able to do your own DIY is an incredible opportunity to teach your kids. I love that my kids see how creative I am, that you can do most things on your own and save money.
School is fantastic but lacks life skills. Take these precious moments and give the gift of life skills to your children. Take time and explain each step. Bond with them, as you create memories. I find that as my children watch me they grow in their own confidence.
Sometimes, I need to teach them that I can not do everything. Take that moment to share with them that it is ok to hire help. Show then that you respect the various trades and skills of others.
My favorite time with my kids is helping them build, paint or create. I love seeing them watch what I do and recreate it or ask to give something a try on their own. It is amazing to see their confidence grow and how they are not afraid to make a mistake knowing that it can be corrected.
Choosing between DIY or hire a contractor should be taken seriously. Money is not the only factor when it comes to deciding. Time, safety, tools and equipment as well as expertise, insurance and permits should all be considered.
My favorite part of all my DIY projects is the reward. That feeling of success is wonderful. Teaching my kids how to create, build and save is all a great experience as well.
I would love to see your DIY projects or even pictures of work that a professional has done in your home. Take a minute and share with me!