If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably encountered this common problem: for home improvements, do you do it yourself, or do you hire a qualified company to do the work for you? With the many things that can go wrong with both commercial and residential buildings, the decision can seem perplexing.
On the one hand, there’s a ton of money to be saved in just picking up the hammer and doing the job on your own. However, many home improvement projects are too complicated or involve too many sophisticated tools and expertise to accomplish without a qualified expert doing the heavy lifting.
So, how can you decide which job is something you can tackle yourself, and which ones are best left to the professionals?
Consider the Worst-Case Scenario
One of the best ways to determine if a home improvement job is something you can do on your own is to envision how bad things could get if you mess up the project. Consider the example of painting the garage. If you mess it up, what are you losing? A bit of spilled paint on the garage floor? A mismatch of the paint colors? Either way, it’s probably not going to end up being a seriously costly error.
Now apply the same decision-making criteria to installing a new water heater. Sure, you could go to the local hardware store, buy the water heater, transport it to your home or commercial building, and unload it. But then what? What if you wind up needing specialized tools or testing equipment to do the job, and you can’t figure it all out? Or, even if you are successful with the installation of the water heater itself, what if it doesn’t work? Are you going to be ok with going through the process of returning to the hardware store, considering all of the time and effort involved?
Thinking through the worst-case scenario for any home improvement project is one of the quickest ways to arrive at a sound decision. If you can stomach the worst-case outcome, and if you have a plan to deal with that outcome, then by all means; go for it!
Conduct a Cost Comparison
If you’re kicking around the idea of installing new carpet on your own, for example, you may think that the only expense you need to consider is that of the actual carpet and padding itself. However, think about how much your own time is worth. If you wind up spending 80 hours removing the old carpet, sizing the new carpet, installing the padding, and cleaning up everything afterward, the real cost of this project starts to get out of hand pretty quickly.
Remember that your time is valuable, too, and it should be taken into careful consideration before pulling the trigger on any DIY project. By thinking through the worst-case scenario as well as estimating the real cost of doing a home improvement job yourself, you’ll end up making a wiser decision for both your wallet and your home. Good luck!