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DIY or Contractor? Your Home Improvement Projects.

Which Way To Go?

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Being a home owner is a good investment but it is no secret that it can be a costly one too. Apart from the mortgage payment, there are costs like utilities, property taxes, insurance, and the typical routine maintenance.

If you are able or skilled to do this yourself, you can save significantly on labour costs alone. However, because you are skilled or able to DIY does not mean you have to. Difficult or complex work such as electrical, plumbing, or tile setting is better left to the experts. Work such as painting where little or no skills are needed such as painting is definitely something you can put your hand to and save some money.

The hard part is to decide what part of your project can you do yourself and which part should be hand over to a professional expert.

How To Determine What Tasks to DIY

Regardless of how skilled you are, there are some tasks that are reserved for skilled professional experts only without hesitation. There are three main considerations when you want to determine if you should DIY or get a professional.

1. Safety
There are three prominent indications that a task should rather be left for a professional to do:

  • Can it be fatal?
    The main question should be what if you do it wrong, is it possible that the outcome can be fatal. If so, it is a task for a professional. This is usually electrical or roofing related tasks.
  • Can it wreck or damage your home?
    Here we specifically refer to plumbing works. A slight oversight can turn a small initial unnoticed leak into weakened walls or foundations that can cause collapsing or serious structural damage.
  • Is a permit or license necessary?
    If the answer is yes, it is evident that certain skills and expertise is required to ensure a safe and secure outcome. It is not debatable.

2. Difficulty
If you have no idea how to do a specific job, then it is apparent that you should not consider DIY. There here are a few questions you can ask yourself to know if a job is too difficult for you.

  • Is it risky?
    If there is any risk involved, rather leave it to the experts, especially if there is a certain degree of know how required that draws back to safety concerns.
  • Will it be costly to rectify mistakes?
    Even if there are no safety risks, having to pay extra afterwards for a professional to rectify your DIY mistakes is always costly, in fact it will cost you more than what you would have saved.
  • Could it affect the value of the house?
    There are some imperfections that you can hide with clever techniques, but poor, cheap, inferior looking DIY projects are not part of those small imperfections. It most definitely will have a negative influence on the value of your house. If you can not do it like a pro, rather get the pro to do it.

Do It Yourself or Hire Professional?

3. Time
In the most instances, DIY is simply more cost effective especially if you are on a tight budget. However, you should consider time wise if it is really economical. In the majority of cases professional jobs are pricey because it consumes time. There is also no sense in doing it yourself and it takes 12 months to complete if it would take a contractor only 4 weeks.

Here is how you establish if DIY is a cost effective option time considered in these 5 easy steps:

  1. Establish the cost of a professional
    Obtain a few quotations for the task you need done from professional contractors.
  2. Calculate the cost of DIY
    Carefully calculate how much it would cost you to do it yourself. Remember to include tools, permits if needed, and all materials.
  3. Work out cost difference between professional and DIY
    Subtract the total cost of the professional quotation from your DIY cost. Now you know how much cost you will save money wise
  4. Calculate the time required
    Depending on your skill level and experience you need to calculate the time it will take you to do the job. Different levels of skill require different time frames. If you are a novice, remember it will likely take you longer.
  5. Calculate your DIY hourly wage
    With both the cost saving and time required estimates, divide the cost by the time. The answer is the DIY per hour rate. Are you happy with the per hour rate? Is it really worth all the effort and time?

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