Do it Yourself or Hire Out? 3 Things to Keep in Mind
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The personal finance world is full of valuable tips on how to make virtually any project a “do it yourself” project. From refinishing cabinets to installing a new doorbell to redoing your basement, there’s articles, tips, lists and You Tube videos on how to do just about anything.
This is especially true when it comes to craft, decorating and home improvement projects. Sometimes, however, “do it yourself” isn’t the best option. Like when it comes to converting a wood fireplace into a gas one, or pretty much anything dealing with electricity. Those projects can be dangerous and require advanced knowledge that might be beyond the reach of a You Tube video.
So, how does one eager to make the most of their dollars decide whether they should undertake a project on their own, or hire a professional? When I’m making that decision, I try to keep three factors in mind – attitude, safety and time.
#1 – Cultivate a Do it Yourself attitude
In the nearly twenty years that my husband and I have been married, he’s learned, with the help of books and the Internet how to: install tile, linoleum and laminate flooring; repair sheetrock; do a flush and fill on the radiators in our vehicles; remodel both a bathroom and a laundry room and much, much more. His most recent do it yourself conquest was tearing off and replacing the roof on our 12×12 shed.
The take-away here is that just because you don’t know how to do something, it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn. There are so many resources out there to help you cultivate a do it yourself attitude. The library, the Internet, skilled friends or family members: they all can be resources for you in learning to tackle new projects.
Also, many local home improvement stores hold workshops on different do it yourself projects too. “I don’t know how” just doesn’t fly as a reason these days when it comes to not learning how to do a project yourself. If you’re on the fence about whether to hire out a project or do it yourself, stop and ask yourself what kind of attitude you have (or would like to develop) when it comes to projects. If you don’t know what you’re doing but are willing to learn and have a positive attitude, doing it yourself may be the best route for you to go.
#2 – Don’t Forget About Safety
One reason you might not want to make a project a do it yourself project is when your health and safety may be put at risk by completing the project yourself. If you or your family’s safety is even remotely in danger or if undertaking the project and doing it wrong may end up costing you more in the long run, it may be best to consider hiring the project out.
Electrical projects, outdoor projects such as tree trimming, or projects where heavy lifting is involved all might be reasons to avoid doing it yourself and leaving the work to the experts. Yes, it will cost more, but I think we’d all agree that our health is priceless and not worth the risk. Also, getting that tree trimmed by the experts is likely much less costly than the hospital bills that could be incurred by an injury to a do it yourself fanatic.
#3 – Time is Money
Time savings is another reason one might choose outsourcing a project as opposed to going the do it yourself route. We chose to outsource last year when a car repair came up that my husband didn’t know how to do. He estimated that to learn and repair the car would take him about eight hours, however, my brother the mechanic could do it in less than two. We chose to spend the money. My brother got the opportunity to earn a nice chunk of extra cash, and Rick and I spent the day ice skating with the kids. In some cases, it’s well worth it to spend the money to hire an expert.
Learning to do a project yourself provides for big money savings and valuable skill-building, but that doesn’t mean that do it yourself is always the way to go. Take the time to consider other possible scenarios before making the decision of whether to complete a project on your own, or hire out. Sometimes saving money is the best value while at other times, the money spent is well worth it.
What’s the latest do it yourself project you’ve taken on? What do you consider before deciding to do a project yourself or hire it out? Are you all thumbs when it comes to do it yourself projects? If so, how do you get the best deal for professional work?