When to Hire a Home Repair Professional

There are three major factors that should influence whether a home repair professional is the right move for you. These factors are:

• Difficulty of the task
• Amount of time it will take to perform the task
• Budget

There are certain tasks you should definitely avoid, such as any electrical work or work that requires a permit and/or license. For these types of tasks, a home repair professional can guide you through the process, ensuring everything is done by the letter of the law so if you decide to resell your house, everything will be up-to-date, avoiding costly inspections and repair work later down the road. Furthermore, these types of tasks can be dangerous and really should be performed by professionals.

With that said, we’re focusing on completing jobs that seem possible to your average homeowner. This can be anything from power washing your siding to remodeling your kitchen cabinets. Here’s a list to give you an even better idea of what types of jobs you can hire a home repair professional:

• Painting
• Drywall repair
• Concrete
• Deckwork
• Lock replacement
• Tiling
• Plumbing
• Window installation/replacement
• Flooring
• Fan/light installation
• Fixture installation
• Door installation
• Molding & Trim
• Racks & Wardrobes
• And much more!

You may consider yourself skilled enough to take on any one of these tasks. You might be able to accomplish the task in a record time. You may have just enough of a budget for the material but not the labor. But, a simple dollar amount is not the only way you should weigh the cost of any home improvement project. All three components of skill, time, and budget should factor into your decision to hire a home repair professional. Let’s look into each to see just how much it should influence your decision:

Difficulty of the task
The true difficulty of the task goes beyond the ability to simply complete it. You must consider if you can actually make it look presentable, too. If it appears as if an amateur completed the work, you will not improve your home and you just wasted your time and money. For example, most people can paint a wall, but not everyone can lay a coat of primer and then an additional two to three coats of paint, making sure the color appears uniformly throughout. On a similar note, drywall repair is a simple process, but making it seamless with the rest of the already existing drywall is much more difficult than it appears. The quality of the finished product should count a great deal when you are figuring out if you’re capable of the work. If you’re okay with patchwork and appearance means nothing, then definitely go ahead and do it yourself. It will save you money, which is always the greatest benefit of doing the work yourself. But, always consider the finished product when undertaking a home improvement task on your own.

If it’s a complicated task and you are inexperienced, you will naturally encounter things that frustrate you simply because home improvement isn’t easy. A difficult job can be discouraging if you are having a hard time with it. If you deem it worthy, you can pass on all that potential frustration onto the home repair professional of your choice, who is already better prepared for the home improvement task than you are.

Time investment
You know the saying, “Time is money?” Consider this true when trying to decide whether or not a home repair professional is right for your specific needs. Your time is a valuable commodity and home improvement can be a time-consuming activity. If you’re not experienced, it can take you considerably longer to finish. So, when choosing whether or not you are going to hire someone to perform a job on your home, a question you must ask yourself is, how valuable is your time? Is the amount of time you need to invest not worth hiring a professional? Estimate how long the work will personally take you, factoring in if you are also learning on the job, and then weigh it against your budget.

Take remodeling your bathroom, for example. Typically, a full bathroom remodeling by a professional can take anywhere from one week to a month, depending on how many people are helping. From the beginning, they provide an estimate of the dollar amount but also the amount of time it will take to finish. This usually does not change unless there’s something unexpected found, such as discovering water damage, which will cause more work and, therefore, can take longer and possibly cost more money.

With that stated, if not the sole focus, you are a major focus for the professional. You pay professionals to finish and it is to their benefit to complete the task as quickly as possible so they can move onto their next job. On the other hand, if you decide to do it yourself but have a full-time job, you must fit in all your home improvement into your free time. So, not only can it take longer simply because you’re an amateur, but also because most people can’t do home improvement on a consistent basis, especially when they spend most of their day at their own job. This can indefinitely extend your deadline to finish. By placing a value on your time, you can figure out if it benefits you to hire a professional.

Your budget
The size of your budget will dictate whether or not you will hire a home repair professional, period. Hiring a home repair professional can be expensive, especially if it’s a really big job. A good handyman will cost you about $50 per hour. This can lead some jobs getting into the several thousands of dollars. There is a huge difference between paying for just the materials and doing it yourself versus the additional cost of professional labor. Just take a look at any one of your receipts from your car mechanic. Labor is a huge portion of that bill. It is no different with home improvement. Professionals are costly. You should think about that as you form a budget.

Something else people do not take into account when setting a budget is that beyond the cost of materials, you may not be fully prepared for the job at hand. This means having all the correct tools. Purchasing these tools can balloon your budget past the point that it starts to make sense to hire a professional instead. Sure you may have tools for future use, but how many people do you know make regular use of a band saw?

As you can see above, your budget isn’t dictated strictly by a cash amount. It is also affected by both difficulty and time. These realities should also be factored in when creating your budget. You will certainly save actual dollars by doing most things yourself, but you are costing yourself potential frustration by trying things you are unaccustomed doing (Try figuring out how to get a power washer to work without marking up your siding!), the energy you use to do the actual work (For some, this can be the greatest expense!), and the time you spend finishing up (By the time you are done, it might feel like an eternity!). These are real costs you must consider if, for example, you are initially expecting to only pay someone a couple hundred bucks to build you a full-fledged raised wooden deck in your backyard. Once you adjust your budget taking in these realistic elements, if your final budget ends up under most home repair professional’s estimates, it’s time to crack open a home repair book because you probably aren’t going to find someone to work for less than they feel they are worth.

Once you have factored in difficulty, time, and money, you should have a pretty good idea if a home repair professional is the right choice for you.

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