There are entire television networks dedicated to the home improvement do-it-yourselfer. Their hosts have become pop culture icons and the show names part of our vernacular. How-to videos populate youtube making changing your toilet look like something that can be accomplished in less than ten minutes. It’s not a surprise that many of us think (or realize) that we CAN do the project ourselves.
But does that mean you should do it yourself? Here are some things to consider when deciding if you are ready to take on that home improvement project or whether you should hire it out.
Time – Those shows, those videos you are watching….they’re edited. Even with an invisible army of trained professionals, that renovation took way more than sixty minutes to complete. The tradespeople on the show, are professionals, they are doing their jobs. They have hours of time set aside for completing just their task within the renovation. Be honest with yourself (and your partner) about how much time you actually have to work on your projects. Any renovation is going to have some aspect of inconvenience, but think about how long you are willing to let that inconvenience last.
Costs – General contractors often have access to wholesale pricing through their suppliers. And there is the cost of tools, unless you or someone you know actually have a well-equipped shop already. However, a general contractor probably won’t spend hours looking for deals and items on clearance, so your time is a big asset in keeping costs low. And as a home owner, you won’t have the cost of running a business to keep in mind (taxes, licensing, contracts, accountants). Don’t want to charge yourself profit? No problem!
Skill – The plumber and electrician we use, they’ve been active in their trade for 30 years each. They’ve wired, plumbed and worked on more houses than there are homes in the town I live in. Will what you do on your first try equal their work? No. Perhaps consider outsourcing parts of your project to keep it problem-free in the future, and putting your elbow grease into the parts of the project that you know you’ll enjoy. (I’ve always wanted to take a sledge hammer to a wall!)
Ask yourself, “Can I do it myself?” the answer is in all likelihood, “Yes!” But perhaps the better question is “Should I do it myself?” and that answer takes a little more consideration. Understand why you want to do it yourself and know when to call in help. And in the end, it will be worth the effort as you enjoy your updated and improved space!
As an architect and home builder, I would be happy to talk to you more about a project you have in mind. You can reach me at Lakeville Homes – 425.453.838 or email me at Jamie@LakevilleHomes.com