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DIY or a Pro? 4 Questions You Should Know

You are an enthusiastic weekend warrior. From landscaping to painting, laying updated flooring to installing a new toilet, you have some pretty impressive home improvement skills. But, on occasion, even you have to admit there are some times where you have bitten off a bit more than you can chew. So, how do you know when to take on a home project and when to leave it to the professionals? Even if you have the know-how, what you save in expenses might just cost you in time. Here are four questions you can ask to help you decide: do it yourself or a hire a professional?

DIY or a Pro? How much can you afford to spend?

How much can I afford to spend?

This question is hard to answer without knowing your specific project. However, a little research is all it takes to get an estimate rolling around in your head. For instance, hiring a professional to build a new deck in your backyard can run anywhere from $2,500 to as much as $24,000, depending on size and materials. If you have some interior upgrades in mind, a professional can handle these sorts of projects from anywhere between $750 to $2500. And if you need a professional to tackle a major air conditioning repair, you could spend between $600 and $1900, depending on the age of the unit and the kind of repairs needed. Weigh these costs against your estimates for completing the project on your own to decide if DIY is the smarter choice.

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If cost is the main factor in whether to hire a professional, don’t forget the costs that you might be facing outside of the project. For example, you may need to rent a storage unit to protect some of your furniture and belongings during major construction. Over the last 180 days, the
average cost to rent a self-storage unit in Sterling Heights, Michigan is $109.00. Or, in the case of kitchen home improvement projects, you may have to order take out instead of cooking for a few nights. And if a plumbing, electrical, or construction DIY projects hits a few snags, you may need to factor in a hotel stay for a night or two, as well.

DIY or a Pro? Is this a skill I can learn?

Do I know how to do this? If not, is it easy to learn?

Just because you have never tiled a bathroom floor doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. There are plenty of free tutorials on YouTube and step-by-step instructions all over the internet. However, will the costs you save doing this project yourself outweigh the time it takes to learn the new skill, the cost of purchasing materials and equipment, and the risk that something might go wrong? To help you make this decision, get a few quotes from professionals who can handle the job. Ask your friends or your neighbors for recommendations and make a few calls.

DIY or a Pro? What if I make mistakes or get frustrated?

What happens if I get frustrated or make a mistake?

Whether you are capable of doing this project isn’t the question. We know that — for you — when there’s a will there’s a way. But on the off chance that something does go wrong, what will happen? For example, if you’re installing new countertops in the kitchen, how will the rest of your family feel if the project takes longer than expected? When they can’t cook or prepare food for several days or even weeks, will that cast a shadow over the household? Next you’ll want to consider your mental state. If you’re the sort of DIY devotee who enjoys a project from start to finish, you might feel frustrated, stressed or even guilty if something goes wrong. Hiring a professional means you can let go of all those concerns.

Is this a common repair or a complex remodel?

A minor repair — replacing a leaking faucet or a squeaky floorboard — can take you at most an afternoon. A complicated project, like replacing the pipe in your bathroom or widening your doorways, requires planning and process where you might need new tools, extra hands or even a few permits. When the projects become complicated like this — building a detached garage or transforming an unfinished basement into a game room — a professional can come in handy. They know what’s waiting around the corner. They have the tools needed, the licenses and permits required, and the experience to understand how to make your vision a reality.

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Maybe the project required a little more knowledge and skill than you originally thought. Maybe you didn’t have the right tools or enough time. It happens to enthusiastic homeowners all the time. Arming yourself with the pros and cons of hiring a professional can help you make the right decision about how to tackle your next big home improvement project.

Written By: Ray Flynn

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