There are few things more rewarding than a job well done, especially when that job is a do-it-yourself home improvement project. DIY invokes that hearty, self-reliant spirit synonymous with the founding of North America. Of course, there’s another more modern thought that pervades the book-smart, somewhat soft suburban crowd: “I’ve got a guy for that.”
Whether it’s the myriad do-it-yourself websites or the 20th century version — books — the eternal debate rages on: Should I do it myself or should I hire a professional to get the job done?
There are several factors to consider. Consider these critical elements before you make your decision.
Maybe you helped dad change the oil in the car when you were a kid or built that treehouse in the back yard. Think about it a moment. How much did you really do? When it comes to your do-it-yourself prowess, is that sense of security a false one?
Before you start purchasing materials and designing a new bathroom, ask yourself if you really have an understanding of what’s involved in the project. Can you handle plumbing, electrical work, drywall, tiling, painting and any other elements that could be a part of the process?
If your tool kit is buried under a thick layer of dust and some old magazines, and it contains little more than a hammer, a Phillips-head screwdriver and a smattering of screws and nails, then you might be better off calling a professional.
You know what to do; you just don’t have the tools to get the job done. Even the least handy homeowner usually has the basic tools – a hammer, a couple of screwdrivers, a pair of pliers and miscellaneous materials scattered around the garage or basement. If the project is going to require special tools, you might be better off finding a professional.
Cost overruns on remodeling projects are so cliché it’s become almost laughable, if they weren’t so sad. If you have the skills to get the work done, you can definitely save a great deal of money. A professional is going to cost more than doing it yourself. But the professional offers some advantages: A pro is likely to get the job done more quickly, for instance, and often guarantees the work (depending on the type of project).
If something goes wrong when you do it yourself, there’s only one person to blame. Multiple redos might end up costing more in the long run than just having a professional in the first place.
OK, it’s a cliché. But it’s also true. Just know — there is far more than the cost of the project. What is your time worth to you? If you’ve got the skill and time, and you enjoy the process, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with whiling away the hours working on a project.
We do offer this caveat: It’s been said there is no truer test of a marriage than working with your spouse on a home improvement project. Stress and pressure don’t build character; they reveal it.
If you decide to go the professional route the most important decision you can make is finding the right person or company to hire. Everyone’s advertisement looks good. The photos of their work are going to look stellar.
Word of mouth, personal testimony is perhaps the most honest assessment of a professional’s work, attitude and skill. The Internet is likely to have comments from past customers. Organizations like the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List can also be valuable resources.
Do your due diligence and find the right person for the job. (Of course, that person might just be you!)
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