As crazy as it might sound, employing one particular Clint Eastwood catchphrase from a “Dirty Harry” movie comes in handy when it comes to a home improvement or remodeling project. Clint Eastwood tells us in the movie “Magnum Force” that a “man’s got to know his limitations.” This is an appropriate yardstick by which to measure whether or not one needs to hire a contractor or engage in a home improvement project oneself. There are three avenues one can take to tackle a home improvement remodeling project: hire a general contractor, hire a specialized contractor, or do it yourself.
The former two options involve the ability to finance the work being done, while the latter operates under the constraints of financing, time involvement, and skill knowledge. The decision to improve one’s home is one that should never be taken lightly, nor is it one that should be entered into unrealistically. There are several things to consider to make the decision easier:
Money. Budgeting for a home improvement or remodeling professional, a general or specialized contractor, can be costly. Make certain you can afford the work you want done. If the work is labor intensive, it more than likely will drive up the cost of any project. Some jobs end up having unforeseen problems, such as old or rotting base materials that need replaced, so cost overruns should be considered as well when budgeting for a job. If the job looks to be an expensive undertaking, the decision to hire a contractor may be made before you begin. Of course, performing as much of the extraneous job details (finish work, trash pick-up) as one can could lower the overall price. To save money, one need only purchase the material and allot enough time to complete the project.
Time. Home improvement projects tend to be time consuming, even some of the smaller, more specialized efforts. Make certain that you have the time to commit to a remodeling project. Juggling work schedules and renovating a home can be problematic, so plan accordingly.
Skills. Remodeling one’s home can require certain skill sets. Basic carpentry skills are a must for even the most simple project. Some smaller — and some major — tasks can be performed after attending home improvement seminars, such as the free classes held at Home Depot stores, but, going back to the most important factor of the decision of whether to hire a contractor or do the work oneself (know one’s limitations), be certain you have the necessary skills. Otherwise, you might find yourself in the embarrassing predicament of hiring a contractor after having spent time and money in a fruitless attempt. Pride in one’s home and one’s craftsmanship should extend to the knowledge that there are some things that one cannot do or that others may be better at performing. In short, doing it yourself may not be the best option.
Inconvenience. When trying to decide on whether the improvement is one requiring a contractor or not, one should also consider the inconvenience factor. Make sure you can withstand the inconvenience of having your home improved upon. Having already considered time, now you must consider having your home either engaged in a state of construction or a level of disrepair. You may or may not be able to enter certain parts of your home for various reasons. Hiring a contractor means strangers in and/or around one’s house. Even if one decides to do it oneself, there is always the disruption of the normal flow of daily household activity.
After considering these basic factors, the decision to do it yourself or hire a contractor should be a bit simpler. Just remember that contributing to a remodeling project by completing tasks that are within your skill set will have an impact upon the entire job, saving you money and perhaps a little time and inconvenience as well.