Most people have been where you are right now.
You’re thinking about doing some home Improvements in 2023, and you ask yourself, should you DIY or Hire a Pro?
Maybe you have some skills and feel like you can handle a project, but you’re not sure what the cost is. Even more, you’re not sure how difficult it would be.
You ask yourself, “Can I do this?.” You’ve never hired a professional before; where do you start?
When considering DIY improvements, you wonder if you can cause more harm than good.
You can take a few simple steps to make the right decision and give yourself peace of mind.
The average cost of home improvement projects
Let’s go over the average cost of home improvement projects to get an idea of the scope of the project you are considering.
According to Angi:
- Kitchen Remodel: $25,000-$40,000 (National average $30,000)
- Bathroom Remodel: $6152-$15,246 (National average $10,788)
- Flooring: $1,445-$4,485 (National average $2,965)
- Roof Replacement: $8,700-$22,000 (National average $14,360)
These prices are average costs but keep in mind that prices vary by region.
It’s tough to estimate the cost of smaller projects because there are too many variables to consider. We will cover some of these variables later on.
Where to start
When considering home improvement projects, you need to start with the basics to determine whether to DIY or hire a Pro.
- A budget for the project
- Your timeline to complete the project
- How will the project disrupt the home
What are some common DIY projects?
Homeowners can do many DIY projects that don’t require a higher skill set and can be done over a weekend or two.
Not everyone needs major renovations or a Pro to get the job done. Always proceed cautiously and consult a professional when dealing with plumbing and electrical repairs.
Simple DIY projects include;
- Interior painting
- Installing a tile backsplash
- Replacing light fixtures
- Replacing faucets
- “Hardscaping” lawns and gardens
- Deck resurfacing
- Driveway repairs and resurfacing
- Garage floor painting
These DIY projects can save you money and improve the value of your home. There are tons of “How To” videos and advice online that can help you research each project and help you narrow down your choice.
What DIY projects should I not do?
There are some home improvements you should not try to DIY unless you have the necessary skills and experience.
- Any task that involves cutting into a roof or sidewall of the home.
- Any task involving rewiring of electrical panels’
- HVAC and major mechanical replacement & repairs
- Working with natural gas, propane, and oil systems, and structure
- Projects that require heavy machinery (where an operators license is needed)
- Performing repairs at dangerous heights
Any of these tasks could potentially cause irreparable damage and lead you to hire a Pro anyway.
The potential risk of causing serious harm or even death due to lack of experience in finishing repairs.
Remember that improper repairs to areas of your home can lead to more damage and will be an issue when having damage appraised. A good insurance inspector will know if you tried to repair things on your own, and you will be liable if done improperly.
Get an estimate
The next step is to determine how much the project will cost.
Almost every contractor gives free estimates; if they don’t, use someone else.
When getting an estimate, make sure you ask for a breakdown;
- Is the Pro licensed?
- Do they have both liability and worker’s compensation insurance?
- Time to complete the project
- A list of materials
- The cost of the labor
- Does the project require Permits and Inspections?
- What is their schedule?
Once you have a price for your home improvement project, you’ll better understand the potential savings if you DIY.
How to determine if it’s a DIY project
Shakespeare once wrote, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” You need to be honest with yourself and do a bit of introspection to determine if you have the skills to do your home improvement projects or not.
Here’s what to consider;
- Your knowledge of how to do the project
- Your skill level (experience with tools and procedures)
- Do you have all the necessary tools?
- Do you have insurance?
- Does your project need a permit?
- Do you have the time? (Realistically)
- Is the project potentially dangerous?
- Does the project require technical skills? (gas lines, electrical, plumbing)
- What is your time worth?
- Could you do more harm than good?
What does a Pro provide that you don’t?
Before you jump into any home improvements, you need to consider what a professional brings to the table. As long as we’re being completely honest, you need to be impartial when determining hiring a Pro.
Here are a few things a Pro can provide;
- Liability insurance
- Knowledge of getting permits and inspections
- More experience than you
- Guarantee of the work
- Work done properly to “code.”
- All the tools
- More labor to complete the job faster
- Professional results
- A timeline
What to look for when hiring a Pro
Hiring a professional can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before.
Remember that you are the potential customer and have all the power to control your projects.
You already know what an estimate should include, but what do you look for when considering which Pro to hire?
- Are they on time?
That could be a potential issue if you move forward. Keep in mind that Pros are busy, but they should give you a “within” time for showing up to the estimate.
- How do they present themselves?
Don’t judge a Pro by what they wear or are driving. Are they professional, courteous, and polite? Some of the best contractors are coming off a job to give you an estimate, and having an older vehicle means lower overhead, so they charge less.
- Are they knowledgeable?
You’ve already looked into the project details yourself, so you have some idea of what they will discuss with you. Are they thorough? Do they talk in-depth about the entire project? How much experience do they have?
- Can they show you examples of their work and provide references?
Experienced contractors will have pictures of completed projects. Some Pros will allow you to visit clients’ homes to see their work. That’s a great way to help choose the right company to do your job. Get at least three references and make it a point to call them.
- Are there any online reviews about them?
- What is their schedule like?
Are they busy? How far out is the schedule? If they’re not busy, Why?
The determining factors to consider
Image from Canva
Ultimately, you have the final say in determining if you can DIY or if you should hire a Pro to complete your home improvements.
But there are a few final questions you need to ask yourself before making a decision;
- Is this something you know you can do yourself?
- Will this home improvement project increase the value of your home?
- Is there a potential risk of injury or danger involved in the project?
- Is there a risk of you doing more harm to your home than good?
Now you know if you should DIY or Hire a Pro
You started this journey not knowing what to expect.
You’ve narrowed your list of home improvements you can and can’t do.
Now you know how to hire a contractor and what questions to ask.
You have the knowledge and insight into home improvements, and whether you should you DIY or hire a pro!
What are you waiting for? Time to start improving.
You got this!