Once you become a homeowner, you’re going to get that all too familiar “itch” to take on a home improvement project and do it yourself. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with maintaining your home on your own but depending on the project, it can be a little tricky to determine if you’re up to the challenge or whether or not you should hire a professional.
From one perspective, making the decision to DIY a particular home improvement project can actually save you quite a bit of money, being that the costs of home improvement services can get pricey, just from labor alone. Another added bonus is that taking on DIY projects can bring about an immense feeling of accomplishment and gratification as well. And it just helps you to become more familiar with your house and how it functions.
However, certain home improvement projects are just better left in the hands of professionals. Unfortunately, some of these home improvement TV shows have distorted the truth behind how certain home improvement projects really work, making viewers think they can actually take on those projects, when more than likely, the viewer hasn’t the skill nor the budget to complete such a project; TV shows oversimplify the process.
For example, you might see your favorite Fixer Upper couple Chip and Joanna Gaines take on a house flip that required complete siding replacement. Well, you might see Chip climb a ladder and start replacing the siding himself… He makes it look so easy that you decide to try it and suffer serious injuries from a ladder fall.
According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury mortality nationwide, and 43% of fatal falls involve ladders.
Scenarios like that happen all the time, unfortunately. But that’s the whole point of this article. It can indeed be difficult for some people to tell when they should hire a professional when they have all the tools every DIY enthusiast should have. But even if you have the tools, do you have the skills and knowledge?
As far as the above scenario involving siding installation, you should always hire a professional for siding replacement or installment. In fact, if you ever need the siding on your home to be replaced, you want to hire a GS Exterior expert to get the job done for you.
So if you find yourself getting that “itch” to start a DIY project, always remember to ask yourself these questions first.
What are the Risks That Come With the Project
Safety should be your number one concern in determining whether or not to take on a project. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if ANY mistake you make can cause bodily injury or potentially damage your home, you shouldn’t take it on. Similarly, any projects that require you to handle harsh chemicals should be left alone, and any form of electrical or plumbing (plumbing beyond the realm of a plunger or snake) should be handled by a licensed professional.
Do You Have the Time to Invest in the Project?
If you look at the receipt for any service you’ve had done, you’ll see that the bulk of what you’re paying for goes to labor costs. When you hire a contractor, on average, one-third of the costs go to materials and the remaining two-thirds go to the time and skill of the contractor, which depending on the type of job they’re doing, can be significant. This same theory applies to you taking on a DIY project.
For the amount of time it would take a professional to do the job, you can double or triple that when taking it on yourself because you have a job and other responsibilities outside the realm of your project, whereas the professional… your project is their job, so they’ll be able to complete it much faster.
How Much Will You Actually Save?
Comparing how much it would be to hire a professional contractor versus how much you’d spend if you did it yourself is very important. The best way to determine this is to contact a contractor and ask for a quote for the service you need, then ask them to break down and separate the costs of materials from the costs of labor… In most cases, once you have that information, you’ll know whether you’ll save more doing it yourself or if it’s just better to go on and hire the pros.
Will You Be Satisfied With a Potentially Less Than Perfect Result?
The answer to this question is a matter of you coming to grips with your own skill level in taking on a project. Professionals have gone to school, received certain certificates, and obtained certain licenses to perform the jobs and possess the skills they have… You, on the other hand, watched a few YouTube videos and think you’re a grandmaster.
Ultimately, when you hire a contractor, you’re paying for their knowledge and skills to perform and know that the job will be done right the first time. In taking on a project yourself, just know that there’s a high risk of you not being satisfied with your work and having wasted a lot of money.