Whether you’re watching your budget, looking to build some sweat equity, or you just enjoy working with your hands, DIY projects are a popular way to go. While we’re huge supporters of the DIY spirit, we’ve been around long enough to know it’s not always the best (or cheapest) idea. If you’re debating whether to hire a pro or tackle a project yourself, ask yourself these questions before you decide.
1. How much is my time worth?
If you’re working full time at $14 an hour, then paying a pro $25 an hour to do a project is a little steep. On the other hand, if you’re making $100 an hour, it’s wiser to save yourself the time and hassle by calling a pro.
2. Do I have what it takes?
For anything beyond painting the walls or replacing the light fixture, it’s important that you actually have the skills to do the job. Some things can be learned on the fly, but that method often comes with mistakes that can be both time-consuming and expensive to rectify. While you’re assessing your skill level, also think about your supplies. If the only tool you have in the house is a spatula, make sure to account for the added expense of purchasing and learning to use the necessary tools. What happens if you run into something you don’t know how to handle? Do you have a resource to draw from? An experienced friend, a good book, or even a reputable website can be the difference between success and failure.
3. Will I hurt myself or damage the project?
Don’t just think in terms of physical strength when you answer this one. What about fumes from chemicals or paint? Is there a chance that this project will cause an old injury to flare up? Consider what your normal, non-project life entails. Are you a stay at home parent, constantly bending over to wipe noses and pick up toys? Make sure you protect your back. Do you sit at a computer all day? Watch out for projects that will strain your neck and induce headaches. Consider what the project requires. If you’re working toward that dream floating countertop, don’t try to muscle that slab of granite by yourself. Also, think about other people sharing your space. Can your young children or elderly grandmother handle the fumes, debris, and general disruption of a big project?
Handling a project yourself may have wonderful benefits—it can save you money and gain you experience. But it’s important to consider the possible downside as well. Whatever you decide, we at Steel Design Solutions wish you luck with your DIY projects!