Wouldn’t it be nice if home upgrade projects were as fast and seamless as a 30-minute home makeover show makes it look? Alas, without TV magic, we’re left to make all the hard decisions ourselves. The first question: Should you hire a contractor or DIY? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The right choice depends on the scope of your project, your personal experience, and your budget.
Nine times out of ten, hiring a contractor will cost you more money upfront than trying to do it yourself, but there are pros and cons to both sides: Accomplishing a project on your own is incredibly satisfying, and can save you a large chunk of change. On the other hand, there is a certain peace of mind in knowing that it was done professionally, and that you didn’t have to lift a finger.
As you contemplate your decision, ask yourself these questions:
What’s Your Budget?
This may seem like an obvious first question to ask yourself, but don’t forget to zoom out and look at all of your end goals before you get too far down the rabbit hole. With your total budget in mind, you can clearly divvy up tasks into things you could potentially handle and those you can’t. Of course, this will all depend on the scale and complexity of your project — are you giving your powder room a cosmetic refresh, or demoing your kitchen? You may decide that most of your budget needs to be spent on actual materials, or you may see that there’s plenty of wiggle room left to hire a contractor.
How Long Will It Take? (No, Really – How Long Will It Actually Take?)
Saving money is appealing, but don’t forget to factor in your time investment. Your time is not a renewable resource, and for many people, that’s reason enough to outsource project management. If your home project is a huge undertaking, you’d likely find that hiring a contractor saves you enough time to justify the cost. For smaller projects, you may feel the time spent is well within reason. Either way, be realistic in your estimate and include a margin for “oh no” incidents.
Do You Have the Skills Needed?
Installing tricky wiring is not the moment to “wing it.” Sure, some skills can be self-taught with YouTube videos and a can-do attitude, but some tasks are better left to the pros. Hiring a professional means tapping into their specific realm of knowledge, meaning they can predict issues you may not have even thought of, simply because they deal with it every day.
Plus, a contractor is able to assess various aspects of a job and make sure that everything is being done correctly and up to code. On the other hand, tackling something yourself or learning how to do it can lend a sense of pride and accomplishment. Weigh the risks and consider your previous experience before deciding whether or not you’re up for the challenge.
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