4 Things To Consider When Deciding Whether To Hire A Contractor Or Do It Yourself

If you are thinking about undertaking some home renovation or improvement projects, you have probably already thought about whether you are going to do it all yourself, or whether you are going to hire the work out to contractors. It is a dilemma that faces all homeowners and would-be renovators at some point. Do you roll your sleeves up, take out the measuring tape, hit the hardware store and do it all by yourself on a budget – but risk making mistakes that could cost you more in the long run? Or, do you pull out your cheque book and get the professionals in which can be very expensive.

In many cases, doing it yourself is the best option. It can be easier than you think, especially with the help of a YouTube tutorial or two, and even if it is not easy, you come out the other end with a sense of satisfaction that you have done it yourself. However, for other jobs, getting the professionals in is much, much easier – it not only saves you the time and hassle but could protect your property – and you – from serious and very costly damage. Here, we look at a few of the things that you need to consider when determining whether to do it yourself or hire out for your next big house project.

1. Your budget

This is the deciding factor for many people. The most significant benefit of undertaking your home improvement project by yourself is the amount of money you will (probably if it all goes to plan!) save. By doing it yourself, you are not paying for someone else’s labor time plus the additional costs they will add on to make sure they make a profit.

However, when you are debating whether to hire out or go DIY, though, you should consider whether that saving is worth it in the longer term. Complicated jobs could end up costing an awful lot more if things don’t go to plan, and you never know what is lurking under the floorboards, in that pipe, or behind that cupboard, which will make the job ten times harder. A professional, such as mrrooter.ca/mississauga, will tell you exactly what needs doing and what can be achieved within your budget constraints. They will also know how to deal with potentially expensive problems before they become an even bigger problem.

It also depends on the scale of the project that you are planning to undertake. When you decide to do it yourself, you need to factor in the additional cost of hiring or buying the tools needed to do the job correctly. If you need to buy or rent expensive and heavy-duty tools for a long time, you may well find that you are not really saving that much. You also need to have the space to store all of this equipment, whereas contractors may be able to bring it with them in their truck each day.

However, if you do have a limited budget but still want to use the services of a contractor, you can save money in other ways by doing some of the unskilled work yourself. Your contractor will charge you their hourly rate to buy the materials – perhaps this is something you can do yourself? Basic items such as screws, adhesives, and paint can be picked up easily at any hardware store. You also save on any potential mark up on the materials that the contractor may apply. For more substantial items, such as building materials, make sure you get a quote first. Many contractors have contacts within the industry or trade accounts that allow them to get the materials for a better price than you can.

Disposing of the waste created is also another area where you can cut the price. Every project, whether a complete house build or a bathroom refit, will generate waste, and instead of having the contractor charge you to dispose of it, you can simply collect the waste and transport it to the dump in your own time. If you do this, however, be prepared to have waste sitting around a lot longer!

2. Safety

Safety should be one of your primary considerations when deciding whether to do it yourself or hire a professional. Do you have the skills and expertise to do the job properly without hurting yourself or anyone else? Small scale projects like painting, varnishing and replacing cracked tiles are unlikely to be outside of your abilities, but more significant projects should be thought about carefully, and whether it is something that you can handle yourself. Some of the jobs that should definitely be done by a professional include all gas and electrical work, structural and roofing work, HVAC installation, and window replacements. By getting them in to do this, you can avoid any risk of death, serious injury, illness, or significant damage to your home if this work is not done correctly.

If the work needs a building permit or needs to be signed off, it is a clear sign that the work is out of your depth and requires a professional to undertake.

3. Timeline

This obviously depends on why you are doing it. If you are doing something for fun, the timeline may not be quite as crucial for you, and you may enjoy learning the new skills yourself. However, doing things yourself will almost always mean the project takes significantly longer to complete. If there is no deadline and no other reason such as safety – go ahead and do it yourself and enjoy the process.

On the other hand, if you need to get your project completed within a specific timeframe, for example, before a baby arrives or before the weather changes for the winter, you will be better off using a contractor. They generally run to a pretty tight schedule – they have to get the job done within the timescale that they have quoted, and they may have other clients booked in after you. They also have the entire day to do the work in – it is their job, after all! You, on the other hand, may have to fit the project in around your family or your job or other projects, and before you know it, you have not had a chance to do anything for several days – or even longer. 

4. Opportunity Cost

Now, we have thought about the cost of a contractor’s time, and how this can be expensive, but we also need to take your time into consideration. This is called opportunity cost.

Of course, when you decide to go and do a project yourself, you will save money by avoiding the fees for the professional. However, have you stopped to think about the value of the time you will be spending on the project? 

For most people, DIY is an activity that has to fit in around families and jobs – this usually means spending weekends, evenings, and vacations trying to do the work. It may seem like a superb idea to begin with, but if it takes longer than you think – which it inevitably will – you may find yourself soon getting tired of missing out on quality time with your kids or loved ones, or merely some downtime after a busy week at work. Many people find that their enthusiasm soon begins to wane when spending all their precious free time doing it, and have an expensive half-finished project sitting in the way for many years to come. 

If you do not mind giving up your free time, go for it. Many people enjoy it, and it is a hobby as well as something necessary. However, if it is just something else that you need to do, it may be better to buy the time of a contractor in order to save yours.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, in this article, we have shown that there are many things that you need to take into consideration when deciding whether to tackle a home improvement project by yourself. Ultimately, as long as it does not involve electricals, gas, or other dangerous systems, it comes down to your skills, budget, and how much free time you have available as to whether you decide to give it a go yourself or get someone in to do it. The average person can do plenty of projects, and it can be an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience for homeowners. However, life has a real habit of getting in the way, and if you do not know what you are doing or something goes wrong, your dream renovation can turn into a costly and very real nightmare.

*Collaborative post