Should You DIY or Use a Contractor?

Doing projects yourself can be a fun way to add that personal touch to home and hopefully save some money. Partly due to the availability of DIY tutorials and tools on the internet, the number of DIYers for home renovation, car repairs, plumbing, electrical installation, and similar jobs is on the increase. You don’t want bite more than you can chew and it is wise to do the due diligence to ensure that you can pull off a DIY job before embarking on it.

When To DIY

When To DIY
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You Can Save Money

Many people who prefer doing home projects themselves cite cost savings as the primary motivation behind their choice for ditching contractors. Labor is usually the biggest expense in home renovation projects and it constitutes a big portion of the costs for car and appliance repair jobs. If taking on a project yourself will help you realize significant savings without taking up too much of your time, then it wise to do it.

You Derive Satisfaction From Getting Involved

While the mere prospect doing a DIY project is enough to send some people into a frenzy, there is an increasing number of people who thrive on doing things themselves. To some, their interest in doing things themselves has little to do with cost-cutting. It is common for some DIY enthusiasts to venture into  projects even if doing it themselves will bring little or no substantial economic benefits. In fact, a study about the motivations of DIY enthusiasts published in the Academy of Marketing Science Review found that perceived economic benefits are just part of the reasons why some people embark on DIY projects. If you derive satisfaction from knowing that you have accomplished a home project and you have a sense of belonging to the DIY community, then DIY might be a wise choice.   

Available Products/Contractors Don’t Meet Your Tastes

For some people with technical backgrounds, the products or contractors on the market may not meet their unique needs. For such people, doing a job themselves is not a choice but rather something they have to do to get a job done their way. If you find that the computers, shelving, engineering tools, and other products on the market do not meet your needs, a DIY project may solve your dilemma. Making a completely unique product or modifying a commercially-available product may be what is needed to meet your needs.

When to Hire a Contractor

Specialty Tools Are Needed

Your DIY skills will likely not help if you don’t have the tools required to get the job done. In this case, whether you like it or not, you will likely be forced to take a back seat as the contractor breezes through the job and takes the paycheck at the end of the day. You can generally save money on contractors if you find a contractor online on a local contractor marketplace as opposed to hiring a company.

Even the best DIY enthusiasts usually don’t have the tools for major electrical and plumbing jobs, gas line repairs, and structural additions. In such cases, the best choice is usually to leave the job to a contractor. Of course, in some situations, you can rent or buy the tools. But take care that your passion for doing projects yourself does not lead you to poor financial decisions. For example, it might not be wise to buy heavy equipment for repairing gas lines in anticipation of issues that might only occur once every couple of years.

Safety Is an Issue

Tread carefully if a job is too dangerous to be done by an amateur. You can know that a job is dangerous if it could kill you, destroy the home, or requires a permit to do. Contractors usually have the skills, permits, and insurance to cover them on potentially dangerous jobs. Unless you have the required training for major electrical repair jobs, roof repair, gas line repairs, and tree cutting jobs, you are better off leaving such jobs to certified contractors.

The Job Requires a Significant Time Investment

Online DIY videos usually make it seem very easy to do projects around the home. In reality, however, most DIY projects are not as easy as portrayed in the videos. The video may not tell you the number of attempts an amateur DIYer made to perfect the demonstration or the years of experience a pro craftsman has that enabled him to breeze through the DIY demonstration.

It is not unusual for new DIY enthusiasts to find that a project is much harder and takes much more time to do than it appears in an online video. If you anticipate that a DIY project may take more time than you have at your hands, you are better off leaving it to a contractor. For this reason, many people find that it is wise to leave jobs like bathtub replacement, tiling, and some car repair jobs to contractors. If you choose to do the project based on an online video, give yourself a substantial time allowance in addition to what the video says is adequate to complete a project.

The availability of online DIY videos and tools from discount online stores has led to a widespread interest in DIY projects. The prospect of saving money, adding a person touch to the homes, and getting unique products is driving more people to do jobs themselves. But good judgment is needed to identify jobs that are beyond your abilities or circumstances. If a job is dangerous, involves the use of specialty tools, or consumes a big amount of time, it is probably best left to a contractor.

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