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Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Ask yourself these questions to help decide whether a job is up to your capabilities or if you should leave it up to Professionals:

  1. Do I have the skills and knowledge required for this project? Discuss the project with people familiar with your DIY skill level and ask for their opinions. Do I have the proper tools or can I rent them at a reasonable rate? Don't make things hard on yourself by trying to improvise with improper tools. Professionals use the correct tool for the job to achieve professional results.
  2. Can I complete this project safely? Safety is always the first concern in any project. Familiarize yourself with all aspects the project and the safety precautions. Older homes may contain hazardous materials. If your home has lead-based paint or asbestos, hire professionals to deal with these hazardous materials. Familiarize yourself with all the necessary power tools and read the owner's manual before operating. If the project requires a ladder, use it in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Do I have the time to complete the project? Remodeling projects usually take longer than expected. Estimate how long the project should take and then add 30-40 percent. The extra time accounts for a learning curve and gives you an opportunity to increase your proficiency in the task.
  4. Can I complete this project by myself? If not, is there someone available to help me? Many projects require at least two people. If you need a helper, try to work with the same person throughout the project because you'll get familiar with each other's work techniques and you won't need to re-train someone to help you in the middle of a project.
  5. Am I confident that I can do a quality job? Completing a quality project not only improves your home, but also gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Likewise, a poor job can actually detract from the home's value and appearance.
  6. Do I have the stamina to complete the project? Remodeling is hard work. Lifting heavy or awkward objects, constantly going up and down ladders, and contorting your body into tight spaces requires a fit person.
  7. If the project requires permits, can I obtain them on my own? Certain aspects of a project may require building permits. Call your local building authority to find out exactly what permits are required and how to obtain them. The building authority can also tell you which aspects of the project require a licensed professional.
  8. Do I have the patience to do the job right? When progress seems slow, the temptation to rush through a project mounts and the chance of ending up with a sloppy job increases. Maintain your focus and resist the urge to plow through the job. Take a day off occasionally to recharge your batteries.
  9. Do I really want to do this project myself? The desire to do the work yourself will carry you a long way. That desire can help you overcome many obstacles and drive you to obtain new skills and knowledge.

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