Whether it’s hanging new wallpaper or an addition to the house, many homeowners are faced with the decision to either hire a professional or do it themselves. BBB offers advice for determining whether a home improvement project is a do-it-yourself (DIY) or a get-a-professional job.
Cost can be a concern when it comes to home remodeling projects and many homeowners have realized the amount of money that can be saved by doing home improvement projects on their own. While labor can easily total more than half the cost for major projects, homeowners need to balance the desire to save money with the need for a job well done.
For those planning to take on major home projects, BBB offers the following advice to help make informed decisions on whether or not to enlist the help of professionals.
Know what you’re getting into.
Cosmetic changes, such as painting or wallpaper are easy DIY projects. Structural changes, such as plumbing, wiring, or framing are typically best left to professionals. Even moving a bathroom sink a few inches can become a huge hassle re-routing the plumbing, painting, caulking and tiling. BBB recommends that DIYers do some research on the project and realistically consider what they can do well, and ask for advice from friends and family to understand the scope of the project.
Hire a professional.
If the project requires specialized skills, could take an extensive amount of time or calls for additional workers, hiring a contractor may be the best option. BBB recommends getting at least three detailed estimates. Compare the estimates and negotiate on issues that are important, because changing plans once the project is underway often involves additional expenses.
Divide the work.
One way to defray costs is to work with a contractor to determine what is and is not a DIY task. Demolition work on the front end and clean-up or cosmetic work such as painting or putting up wallpaper on the back end can keep costs down while the still reaping the benefit of having an expert for the “heavy lifting” that requires more skill.
Weigh the costs.
While hiring professionals is an added expense to any project, they often have relationships with suppliers and can usually get materials for much cheaper than a homeowner can. For DIYers, BBB recommends comparison-shopping. Saving money requires research, both online and with visits to home improvement and specialty supply stores. Homeowners can check out suppliers with BBB Reliability Reports.
Get the right tools for the job.
Some DIY jobs can be done with as little as a screwdriver or a hammer, but most require specialized tools and equipment that add to the cost of the project. To achieve the desired results, it’s important to use the right tools, which can mean renting large equipment and machinery as well as buying new tools and accessories.
For more trustworthy BBB advice on DIY projects, and to find reliable information on choosing and working with contractors, start at bbb.org.