4 tips to help choose between hiring a contractor or DIYing
When it comes to any sort of home improvement project, you can often save money by doing it yourself. However, there are also times when it makes more sense to get the job done professionally. With some self-review and a little research, you can make the right choice - here are several tips to determine whether you should hire a pro or can tackle this one solo:
1. Objectively evaluate your skill level
Set your ego aside for a moment and objectively analyze your skill level. If you've never handled a cordless drill or don't know an Allen wrench from a pipe wrench, you may want to hire a contractor. But if you've already had some success with other home improvement projects in the past, you might up for the task.
2. Determine your availability
If you're a busy professional without a lot of available free time, that may also be another signal that a contractor is a better option. If you start a basement renovation project only to find that it might be years before you finish, then you've likely gotten in over your head.
Whenever you are considering tackling a home improvement project on your own, create a time-frame for it - and then double it. There are always little mishaps and obstacles that come up and delay the completion of any project, so it's essential that you create an accurate estimate in order to determine whether you have enough spare time to go it alone.
3. Create a budget
Create a budget detailing exactly how much your project will cost to complete yourself. Then, contact several contractors to learn what they will charge. If the savings are significant, that may point you in the DIY direction. If not, you might want to go with the peace of mind of having it done by a professional.
4. Check to see if you have the necessary tools
If you already have all of the necessary tools to complete your particular home improvement project, that reduces your overall costs. But if you have to purchase expensive tools and equipment, the project costs may become prohibitive. You can rent certain tools from The Home Depot, but it still may be best to hire a professional if the project will take a long time.
One of the best strategies to take when doing your own home improvement projects and home repairs is to start slowly and work your way up to more challenging jobs. Start with some minor bathroom repairs, such as replacing the workings in your toilet or upgrading a kitchen faucet. Both projects are fairly basic, and you can find plenty of advice online and from associates at local home improvement centers. Once you get your feet wet and build some confidence, then you can tackle more involved projects, such as installing extra shelving or adding an exterior screen door.
Just remember, if you're not comfortable with a certain project - such as anything involving electricity or wiring - your best bet may be to go with the pros. The last thing you want is to have to pay someone to clean up your mess.
How do you feel about DIY home improvement projects? Do you have an easy time deciding if you're going to take on a project by yourself?
Charlie Connor is an online contributor who writes about DIY home improvement projects, smart shopping, and real estate.