How to Decide If You Should Do Your Construction Project Yourself

Consider These 4 Points Before You Decide

I met with a customer recently about finishing a project that had been started eight years ago…it’s still not done. They haven’t even been able to live there this entire time. Yes, it was an extensive project…for that matter it still is.

They did most of the work themselves. The question is…

Were the monetary savings worth the cost of time?

As a builder, I’ve never been a big fan of DIY (Do It Yourself). The TV programs have whole projects done in 30-60 minutes. This is misleading, not to mention downright impossible.

Don’t get me wrong, the satisfaction that comes from doing a repair, changing a light switch or faucet, installing a window, building a deck or even remodeling a complete room can be extremely rewarding. The thing is…

You better know what you are getting into before you start.

Here are some things to consider before you decide:

  • Reasons for hiring a professional –

You need to consider what your skill level is and what the parameters of the project are, before tearing into it. Depending on the specific project there are a lot of things to be aware of.

Even something as simple as painting a wall can be more complicated than many people realize. If your project is going to involve things that are structural; for example, cutting an opening in a wall or building a deck, you certainly need to understand what is involved. Not knowing how to do something like this can lead to big problems.

  • Benefits of hiring a professional –

Time is a precious commodity. If you are like me, I am never able to get everything done that I want to. So, when I find someone that I can trust, who I have determined has the desire and skills to do the thing that I need done, it makes sense to pay them to do it? This allows me to be able to do something else that I am better suited for or maybe would just prefer doing.

Growing up on a farm was very “Do It Yourself. I learned how to do a lot of different things. We just didn’t hire much of anything done. Learning like this took years and lots of trial and error. I didn’t just watch a 30-minute TV program or go online to learn it.

I am sure that I could make a car given enough time and money, but doesn’t it make more sense to buy one made by professionals.

  • Reasons for not hiring a professional –

The key here is defining ‘professional’. If you’re considering hiring someone then you need to do some research. There are a lot of people out there that seem to be qualified and aren’t. If you hire someone that isn’t then the outcome might not be much different than doing it yourself.

Maybe you have the time and desire to learn something new. This is a great reason for doing the project yourself. Just be careful to not get in too far over your head. Be clear on what it’s going to take to do this.

You can save money by not paying somebody else. Just be aware that there is a lot to a project beyond the actual constructing. There will, or at least should be, time spent in researching, planning, shopping, buying, exchanging, returning, redoing and cleaning.

It is good to be physically active. Depending on your normal routine construction can be a great way to exercise.

  • Another option – Hiring a consultant.

If you really want to do your own home project, but need some help with knowing how, what, when and where. You might consider finding an experienced professional to guide you through the process. Finding the right person for this can be as tricky as anything. Just realize the value of knowledge and the benefit that it can have.

If you have questions about a construction project or know someone who does, contact us in the chat below.

It comes down to priorities. You can choose where to spend your time and money, what’s the best use of either? Saving money by spending time seems like a good plan… but is it really, if eight years later it still isn’t finished.

With over 35 years of construction experience I have determined that getting help is a good plan. I can’t do everything myself…as much as I would like to. That’s why I share the load with others.

Once you have determined that you have the ability (knowledge, time, money, and physical strength) to do your project, then by all means, go for it.

There’s nothing much more rewarding than stepping back and looking at something you built with your own hands.

Based on and revised from To Hire or Not to Hire, that is the Question, published Aug. 12, 2016

Here is the Million Dollar Question

What if There Was a Way to Combine DIY and Professional Construction?

The question is probably more like a billion dollar one. The DIY industry is booming. It’s everywhere we look, TV commercials, internet ads, home improvement programs and online videos. There’s simply a level of pride that goes with doing things ourselves.

Why is the DIY industry so popular and prevalent?

That would be because the construction industry has let too many people down through a whole list of things. These problems certainly are good reasons to consider a DIY project. Here are a few other reasons you might think about doing your own construction project.

Price – is the number one reason for doing your own projects or being your own general contractor. Construction is expensive and the cost of professionals and general contractor’s markups are dollars saved.  

The important thing to consider is…

What are the dollars saved costing you?

As a professional I have witnessed too many DIY projects that have gone badly. The experience factor goes a long way to avoid problems. Depending on where you’re located, some construction actions require licensed professionals to do them. You probably wouldn’t stitch up your own gaping wound or represent yourself in court. Not that both haven’t been done, but they come with a risk. The cost of your time spent doing this rather than that, doing things over, unsolved problems or project disasters can be expensive.

The value of a professional often exceeds the cost.

Control – is another important issue that customers face. The construction industry has one of the worst satisfaction ratings. The only one ranked worse is the used car business. In too many cases customers have felt out of control. This makes it understandable why you would prefer to not deal with contractors. There is a comfort that comes from being in control of the project even with little or no experience.

Sense of accomplishment – is one of the best feelings that we experience. This feeling is especially connected with seeing a physical achievement. Stepping back and looking at something we built is satisfying. These are legitimate reasons you might consider doing your own construction project.

What if there was a way to do your own project while having access to professional experience, knowledge, and connections?

Wouldn’t this be great. This would be a win – win. If there was such a plan out there. What would something like this even look like? What would it include?

You might say, “There’s already services out there for connecting me with construction services. I can contact Angie’s List or Home Advisor.” The problem with these services is, the list of companies and individuals they provide to you, pays to be on the list. I know because they’re calling me regularly wanting me to pay dues and join. This isn’t the most reliable resource.

I’m considering something that would be more detailed and customizable. A service that would fit your individual needs. A mix of educating, advising, consulting. Something that would allow you to have your questions for your project answered.

This would allow you to “do it yourself” with the benefit of professional guidance.

As we research this service, we need your help. Give us your thoughts by taking this short survey or leaving comments below.

To Hire or Not to Hire, That Is the Question?

Over the last several years ‘Do It Yourself’ has become a popular theme for TV programs as well as marketing for building product suppliers. As a builder, one of my pet peeves is the DIY shows and marketing. There are even whole TV channels dedicated to this. My problem with it is, that in 30-60 minutes’ whole rooms are transformed. This can be misleading, not to mention 898282907_10c68e3ac4_odown right impossible. Don’t get me wrong, the satisfaction that comes from doing a repair, changing a light switch or faucet, installing a window, building a deck or even remodeling a complete room can be extremely rewarding. The thing is, you better know what you are getting into before you start.

 

Reasons for hiring a professional – You need to consider what your skill level is and what the parameters of the project are before tearing into it. Depending on the specific project there is a lot to be aware of. Even something simple like painting a wall can be more complicated than many people realize. Once you start getting into things that are structural, for example, cutting an opening in a wall or building a deck. You sure need to understand what is involved. Not knowing how to do something like this can lead to big problems or maybe somebody getting hurt. It can be hard for those of us that are micro managers to give up the control.

It comes down to priorities. Of all of the things I can choose to spend my time and money on what’s going to be the most important? With over 35 years of construction experience I have determined that getting the right help is a good plan. I just can’t do everything myself…as much as I would like to.

 

Benefits of hiring that professional – Time is a precious commodity. If you are like me, I can’t ever seem to be able to get everything done that I want to. So when I find someone that I can trust, who I have determined has the desire and skills to do the thing that I need done, doesn’t it make sense to pay them to do it? This allows me to be able to do something else that I am better suited for or maybe would just prefer doing.

Then there is the whole ability thing. Having grown up on a farm I learned how to do a lot of different things. I learned how to be pretty self-sufficient. I am proud of this heritage and I think this is a good quality. The thing is, I was taught this from an early age, over several years and through trial and error. I didn’t just watch a 30-minute TV program or go online to learn it. I am sure that I could make a car given enough time and money, but doesn’t it make more sense to buy one made by professionals.

 

Reasons for not hiring a professional – The key here is defining ‘professional’. If you’re considering hiring someone then you need to do some research and make sure that you get the right person. There are a lot of people out there that seem to be qualified and aren’t. If you hire someone that isn’t then the outcome might not be much better than if you did it yourself.

Maybe you have the time and desire to learn something new. This is a great reason for doing the project yourself. Just be careful to not get in too far over your head. Be clear on what it’s going to take to do this.

You could save money by not paying somebody else. Just be aware that there most likely will be more time spent in researching, planning, buying, exchanging, returning, redoing and cleaning than actually constructing.

Doing physical work is good exercise. Some people go to the gym or have equipment at home. Some people walk, ride bikes or run. Depending on what your normal routine is doing a home project can be a great way to exercise.

 

A third option – If you really want to do your own home project, but need some help with knowing how, what, when and where. You might consider finding an experienced professional to guide you through the process. Finding the right person for this can be as tricky as anything. Just realize the value of knowledge and the benefit that it can have.

 

Once you have determined that you have the ability (knowledge, time, money and physical strength) to do your project, then by all means go for it. There is nothing much more rewarding than stepping back and being able to see something that you have built.