Do-it-yourself home improvement projects are all the rage right now, and for good reason. They can be budget-friendly, resourceful, and offer “Weekend Warriors” a great sense of self-satisfaction from a completed project. However, DIY can quickly go awry. While there is no right or wrong answer, here are five things to consider before deciding between picking up your hammer or picking up your phone to call a pro.
Research the Project
A good old-fashioned research expedition can make a world of difference in knowing the scope of the project. For instance, you may relish the thought of knocking down a wall in your home and expanding your space, but this could be very tricky, or impossible and in the specific case of a wall, possibly structurally damagin g to your home. Also, will you need permits for this task? Check with your local zoning office. Online tutorials and videos can make even the most complicated projects seem simple, so ask around to see if others have experience in this project. Be sure to also look over the tools needed and directions to follow. If you are unfamiliar with even a few of the items listed or the directions, this may be something you leave to a professional.
Assess Your Skill and Interest Levels
This is the most basic of all questions when it comes to deciding who should tackle a project. Now that you’ve got the lay of the land, you can see if it aligns with your skill and interest levels. Keep in mind that skill and interest levels may be different and one does not equal the other. An honest assessment of your skills (Plumbing? Electric?) is essential. Availability of tools, equipment and man power are also critical to success. Your interest level is also a crucial aspect to completing your DIY project in a timely fashion. Finally, assess if you are willing to accept small flaws and imperfections that may arise from your own work.
Assess Your Time and Money Available
It may seem like a DIY project is bound to be more budget-friendly, but this doesn’t necessarily follow. If you have to take time off work, rent or buy equipment, and may need to redo work, your time and money are easily eaten up. Be sure to factor in overages as projects — especially those requiring new skills — always seem to require more time and money than originally planned. If you need your whole house painted, hiring a professional who can quickly mask off trim and use a spray may be a more efficient use of your time and money than spending weeks doing it yourself.
Get a Quote
Call a couple of contractors you trust or that comes highly recommended and get a few quotes for the job. This may factor into the decision more than you think. Many people are willing to pay extra for the convenience of knowing the job will be done quickly and efficiently. But many also find the satisfaction of their own job-well-done outweighs any monetary savings. A good old-fashioned pros/cons list can come into play at this point if the other factors line up.
Stick it Out
Most contractors won’t take on a miscalculated DIY, so keep that in mind ahead of time. Being able to stick it out in a complicated project is important whether or not you’re hiring a pro. Follow-through is the most important part of any project, and sometimes the most difficult. If you’re going the do-it-yourself route, set a schedule and keep pace. If you’re hiring a professional, ask for a schedule and make sure the project is on pace.