When it comes to home improvement projects or repairs, countless homeowners face the decision between doing it themselves and hiring a professional. A professional ensures a certain amount of guarantees, but they’re also costly; if you can do it yourself with less expense and a lot more bragging rights, why not, right? On the other hand, while DIY allows you to have your hands in every element of the project, most jobs the professionals receive are salvage projects from failed DIY attempts. There are risks and disadvantages in both options, but there are also advantages to each.
Which one is the best? Here are three ways to decide the best option for you and your project; the handyman approach, or the professional?
1. Your Capabilities
It’s important to take a long hard look at what you’re capable of. You do not need to be proficient in the task at hand, but a certain level of understanding and competence in other tasks can ensure your attempt at replacing a wall doesn’t leave your home open to explosions from faulty wiring. This would be frankly annoying as well as potentially deadly. If you’re not sure about your capabilities, it may be best to call a professional.
– How difficult is it to learn?
Thanks to the Internet, we have unlimited information at our fingertips, from free online guides to video walkthroughs that allow us to learn skills comprehensively and in detail from the comfort of our home. Let’s say you know nothing about the project at hand; searching up guides online is definitely a viable and preferred option. However, some tasks simply cannot be found online – either they are too extensive to fit into a collection of videos or too little-known for someone to devote a guide to. Before you start tearing apart your garage door or bathroom wall, it’s wise to search out this information and see if it’s available to you. If it’s not, you may want to consider taking the safer route and hiring a professional.
– Do you know anyone who can give you advice?
Where the internet lacks, we can always go back to the original form of information gathering – asking people we know. If you have never handled a certain project before, do you know someone who has? Having an experienced individual to offer you some pointers, a few warnings on unexpected things to anticipate, and perhaps even an assessing eye here and there to make sure you’re on the right track can keep you from disaster. Once again, if you don’t know anyone familiar with the task you’re taking on, it’s wise to go to a professional who can guarantee results.
There is a lot of suburban honor to be found in handling your projects personally; rolling up your sleeves, putting on your old blue jeans, and sipping beer as you work on your sprinkler system. Working hard and earning your own results; that’s the American Dream, isn’t it? While you may be dedicated to the idea, it’s important to evaluate step-by-step exactly how much dedication each project will require and how devoted you really are to it. Nothing’s worse than having the guest bathroom ripped apart and deciding at that point that it’s not worth the trouble.
– Are you willing to get dirty?
Mechanics, plumbers, and electricians alike are known for saying, “The fun part’s the surprises!” Usually with an eye roll and a twitch at their left cheek as they remember said surprise. Most projects will have some unexpected turnouts, and although putting in a new window may seem like a fairly straightforward job, you must be willing to find out you have termites after ripping out the old window, or realizing that your insulation is lacking, or finding that the support boards need replacing to handle the weight of the new window. Are you willing to get dirtier than you expected? If yes, then more power to you; if no, a professional is the right choice.
– Are you willing to pay more for mistakes?
Money is one of those infamous surprises you might encounter while getting knee deep in the hard work; replacing those support boards or beefing up your insulation could be an additional cost on top of what you quoted yourself. Professionals are able to assess projects more thoroughly and predict these issues; some professionals will even personally pay for any unforeseen problems, giving you peace of mind that you are not at great financial risk.
– Are you willing to take more time than was expected?
If your project was supposed to take a week, a surprise may end up extending that deadline to a month. This cuts into your personal time and may leave your bathroom looking like a bomb went off in it while you wait for the funds, the time, and the research to help you finish the plumbing or the replacement of a wall. A professional can offer more reliable timelines and even offer compensation if the project takes longer than anticipated, with no additional effort required from you.
3. How Dangerous is the Project?
Say you’re kicking out that wall in the bathroom to allow more space; simple enough, right? You’re experienced in plumbing, you’re a decent handyman electrician; it should be fine, right? It very well may be, but a single error in the wiring could leave your house in ashes after a fire within the walls, or even lead to death or injury. While it may be fine, there is a great risk to yourself and your possessions from a simple oversight, a simple slip up, and a single error. When making the decision between going DIY and hiring a professional, it’s important to factor in the danger and the risk of handling projects yourself. The peace of mind that comes with knowing a trained professional has safeguarded against danger may be worth the additional cost.
With these three main things in mind, you can make the decision between which is better for you; DIY or hiring a professional?