As a rule, we as general contractors work on large-scale construction projects ensuring you have the best people executing to the best of their abilities to build a home or business. At this level, we work with customers who trust our relationships, experience and expertise to get the job done right for them. However, as the scale of construction projects become smaller and begin to creep into the realm of the weekend warrior and their workshop, at what point is it smarter to hire a contractor?
Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing cooler than a well-done renovation executed by the sheer work ethic and will power of an experienced owner, but there are also projects that, when done poorly, can cause more problems than they address, both long and short term. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to tackle your next home improvement or construction project? Once you’ve reviewed these questions, you may have a better idea about whether you should hire a contractor.
What About the Cost of Time and Materials?
Two huge advantages of DIY lie in the money saved not having to pay a worker for their time as well the accomplishment felt when creating something functionally and beautiful on your own. However, it’s important to choose your battles. Is the project you started in your free time starting to spill over into other areas of your life? After your fifth trip to Home Depot in two days, have you spent way more on materials than you expected to?
The first step of any project, professional or DIY should be to budget both your time and money. If you’re considering taking on the project yourself, research professional options and compare quotes against what it will cost to do it yourself. If you do not think the money you save is worth the effort you’ll need to commit on your part, picking the pro might be the best option.
What Will It Cost You to Learn How?
If your previous experience lends itself to executing the project successfully, then doing the project yourself may be just the thing you need to step up your handyman resume. On the other hand, if your first thoughts on a project are more along the lines of “I haven’t ever… but how hard can it be?” it may be time to step back and assess the pros and cons of diving in head first.
Is it something you can learn? Are there smaller projects you can do to teach yourself the necessary skills to take on the hefty home improvement task? Do you know a professional that can teach you? Or… is it time to ask that professional to head up the project for you?
Do You Have the Proper Tools?
Having the proper tools to complete a job saves time and money. It also helps ensure you don’t end up on one of those Expectation vs. Reality photo compilations. Acquiring the proper tools can be expensive, and initially, may be more expensive than hiring help, but as your experience grows and so does your arsenal, larger projects will start to become less daunting and less expensive. Ultimately however, if you are unable to acquire the proper tool for the job at hand, it may serve you better in the long run to bring in a pro.
What About Plumbing or Electrical?
This one is pretty simple. Unless you’ve been trained as a plumber or an electrician, leave this part of the renovation to the pros. They’ve gone through a lot of training to ensure they don’t fry themselves or flood your house. Don’t learn the hard way that you need to hire a contractor.
How Long Will It Take?
This final point relates to the above section about weighing the cost of your time. Consideration of time almost always runs hand in hand with consideration of space. If you decide to remodel the kitchen, even if you have the know how and the right tools, how long is your family going to have to make dinner in a toaster oven in the back yard and wash dishes with the hose? (true story…)
Sometimes the best part about hiring a professional is getting back to your “normal” as quickly as possible. Take as long as you want on the man cave or home office. Experiment, build, learn, and make it your own. When it comes to your family’s necessities, hire help to make sure your livable space becomes livable again in a timely manner.