To Hire or Not to Hire

Taking on a home improvement project can be a stressful endeavor, regardless of whether you plan to tackle the job yourself or hire a contractor to complete the work. There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to each approach. In this article, we outline the primary things all homeowners should consider when making the decision to DIY or hire a pro.


Project Scope/Type of Work

  • Projects with multiple facets or phases may take a very long time to complete on your own as a weekend warrior and/or evenings after work. Not to mention, you’ll be exhausted and stressed. If you have a significant other or children, they will likely feel the stress too and it can test your relationship.
  • Certain things (like electrical, plumbing, and structural alterations) are quite simply best left to the pros for safety reasons.
  • Will the project need permits? If so, it’s usually best to hire a pro for the work. They know the required plans and documentation, as well as the code requirements for completing the job. Inexperience in those areas can create some headaches when applying for permits and undergoing inspections, which can drag the project out much longer than anticipated.
  • Most homeowners can accomplish many small or mid-size jobs, especially with all the resources available these days for guidance. Additionally, it can be a fun and rewarding experience to tackle a project with your family members. Just be sure to do your homework before you begin!

Budget and Timeline

  • Your available resources, i.e. time and money, are also very important factors in your decision.
  • If you have more money than time, hiring a pro is most definitely the way to go. If you have more time than money (and the skills), then DIY is your best option.
  • Hiring a professional contractor will increase the project cost significantly, but will also cut down on the project duration and the headaches. It will usually result in a higher quality and longer-lasting job too - that is, if you hire wisely.
  • Tackling the work yourself will save a lot of money, but can add quite a bit of time and, often, frustration for you and everyone in your home.

Skill Level

  • Your own experience and skill with home improvements and/or handy work is another important consideration.
  • If you’re interested in doing projects around the house, but have little experience, then start with an occasional small project to build your confidence and skill. Leave the big jobs to the contractors and watch and learn as much as you can while they are working in your home.
  • You can gradually take on larger jobs around your home as you do more and learn more, if that’s something that you have the desire to do. You may be able to hire a contractor for certain parts of a job and complete other aspects yourself (e.g., demo) to save money and learn from the pros at the same time. Local, small, independent contractors are more likely to agree to that type of arrangement, though not all will agree to work that way.
  • Your skill level also relates back to section one and two, the type of work and timeline. Certain types of work should ONLY be done by experienced, licensed professionals. Also, keep in mind that anyone you hire does this every day for a living, so he or she will typically be able to do it much faster than you will.
  • If you don’t have a true desire to perform home improvement projects, even if you are quite capable, your best bet is to hire a pro. Tackling that type of work yourself with little interest will only serve to create stress in your home and with your family.

As you can see, there are several important factors when considering DIY or hiring a pro. It is certainly a personal decision that will be different for each homeowner, family, and project. Just be sure to due your research first and whichever path you choose, theHomeMD is here to guide you along the way.