Are you thinking of doing a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home improvement project or repair? Think it might save you time or money? For single-trade projects or simple changes to your home, DIY might be a cost-effective way to go. But if you’re looking at complex remodels or large-scale transformations, it’s unlikely that you will save time or money. When it comes to transforming your home, there’s no substitute for expertise and experience. Here’s why:
Near Enough is Not Good Enough
Most DIY’rs drastically underestimate the time and materials their remodel is going to require. Unless you’re a highly experienced retired remodeler, it’s impossible to appreciate the scope of a design project at the outset, and it’s even harder to quantify things accurately. Professionals will give you a quote that includes everything they’re going to need. If they’ve estimated incorrectly, they may even swallow a few unforeseen costs, so it’s in their interests to get it right. Experienced professionals can look at a design spec and predict things with impressive levels of accuracy.
- How long will your remodel take from beginning to end? Professional remodelers try not to let projects drag on and on because it delays their own cash flow and productivity.
- How much will the project cost, all in all, to the penny, plus specified budget for known contingencies?
- What quantities will you need (lumber, plywood, paint, pipes, flooring, nails, glue, grout, varnish, need we go on?)? Professional remodelers will order the correct materials and quantities and get them delivered at the optimal time. DIYers waste hours going back and forth with many trips to the hardware store.
- Which skills will you need? Plumbing, electrical, carpentry, tiling, roofing and more. Do you have sufficient skills to be proficient, safe, and compliant in all these areas?
- Which permits will you need to apply for, how and when? These can be fiddly to obtain. Experienced remodelers know what hoops to jump through and how to avoid red-tape delays.
On Time, on Budget and to Spec
Professionals tread that tricky triangle between completing projects on budget, on time, to spec, and to a promised quality level. Ask any homeowner who’s taken on their own remodel, large or small, and they’ll tell you how at least one of these elements got way out of hand.
Even the most diligent and detail-focused DIY’rs either run out of money or get something wrong and have to put it right – usually at great expense. But almost all of them will tell you how much longer the project took than they expected.
Professionals, on the other hand, are planners by nature and by profession. They anticipate all the commonly occurring pitfalls, because they’ve seen them a dozen times. They even expect a few more unexpected problems but they are well prepared to deal with them if they do arise.
Jack-of-all trades, Master of None?
Remodeling professionals handle power supplies, power tools and structural supports every day; health and safety is a way of life for them. They have the right training, safety gear and know-how to protect themselves clients like you from injury.
Insufficient skills and experience make accidents more likely to happen on a building site. It’s dangerous work, often resulting in serious injury or occasional fatalities. You’ve probably banged your thumb with a hammer a hundred times. But what if you set your ladder on uneven ground and fell? What if you forgot to turn off the gas flow or the electricity supply before going in to work on an appliance? You might put the wrong ceiling supports or weak scaffolding in place. With the risk of explosions, burns, shocks, gas leaks and collapses, is it worth the risk to you and your family?
One of the benefits of hiring a professional general contractor is that they bring with them knowledge, qualifications and training along with skilled sub trades as required – like electricians, plumbers, and heating and ventilation specialists. They will ensure the safety and structural integrity of the finished product.
Hire a Professional
When it comes to DIY, it can feel like there’s no limit to what you can do. A few YouTube videos here, a cursory glance at a blog post there, and suddenly you’re hanging drywall and installing a new sink all by yourself. But even though you may be a quick study, there is an upper ceiling on what the average homeowner can do themselves. Remember, there’s a thin line between being fearless and foolish. And sometimes it’s better to pay someone to do it the right way … the first time.