Most homeowners are eager to make upgrades to their home. You might have great ambitions and a long laundry list of things you want done to your home but not sure how much you can accomplish. Whether handy or not, sometimes getting over zealous happens. Perhaps you started a project and then once into it, realized that it was too much for your level of expertise. Do not feel bad, as this happens all the time. Therefore, the next time you have a project to do, start by determining if you should hire a contractor off the bat or if you can do it yourself. To make this determination, you need to consider several things.
The first step is to determine the scope of the project. For example, is the project something simple and cosmetic such as painting or wallpapering or does it involve work that is beyond the �do-it-yourself� scope. For instance, any type of structural change, electrical, plumbing, and so on, might be best done by a contractor.
The next step in deciding whether to hire a contractor or to do the job yourself is looking at your budget. Obviously, there are great financial advantages in doing the work yourself but if you run into problems and get in over your head; it would be worth paying extra to get the job done and done right. Just remember that when you set your budget for the project, you should add 20% for unexpected changes. Most importantly, you need to make sure that you can stay within the budget. If you start a project, spending half of the allotted budget and then discover that you cannot finish the project, you will obviously be paying much more than the budged amount to hire a contractor to finish what you started.
You need to ask yourself some very honest questions before you begin. Now keep in mind that the market is flooded with step-by-step books to help you complete projects you might never have though you could do before. Additionally, most home improvement stores now offer free weekend classes that cover things like laying ceramic tile, building a brick barbeque, changing light fixtures, and so on. Therefore, if you are determined to do the project yourself, you might invest in a good do-it-yourself book and see what classes your local home improvement store is offering.
Regardless, be sure you ask yourself these questions to make sure you are making the right choice in doing the project on your own.
Do you have the needed skills/knowledge to complete the project? If not, do you have resources to gain the skills and/or knowledge?
Do you have the appropriate tools to complete the project? If not, is there money in your budget to rent them?
Are you able to finish the project safely? Some projects such as working with electricity need specific knowledge. If you are uncomfortable working with this or do not know enough about it where you would be safe, then you should definitely hire a contractor.
Do you have the time to dedicate to the completion of the project? Most projects end up taking longer than anticipated. Therefore, look at the time honestly and see if you have the time to do it. The best rule is that whatever amount of time you determine the project to take, add another 40% to that time.
Will you be able to do the entire job on your own? If not, do you have a friend or family member that is reliable and as dedicated to the completion of the project as you are?
Am I physically able to complete the project? Many projects require heavy labor so be sure you are physically able to lift, bend, climb, carry things, and so on.
Do you have all the needed permits? Many times, do-it-yourselfers forget about permits so if you are building a room, adding a fence, or whatever, make sure to check with your local building authority about permits.
Another option that you might consider is working with a contractor. For instance, if you were remodeling a dining room, you could do a portion of the work and then allow a contractor to do the rest. You could paint, wallpaper, texture walls, add new crown molding and baseboard but then leave the electrical and flooring to a professional.