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DIY vs Professional home project

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Is it better to  take on a home project in a do it yourself (DIY) fashion vs. engaging a professional to complete the work? I imagine this question gets asked a lot every week in households all over the world, particularly if you are not that handy like me! It certainly has at my house over the past few weeks.   In this article, we will cover off questions to consider before embarking on a DIY project. We will talk about the potential to save thousands of dollars, compared to, is it really worth it?

Potential to save thousands of dollars

In recent storms, my fence fell over due to the high winds and fallen trees resting on it. It obviously needed fixing. My first thought was to get professionals to provide three quotes. I was quite shocked at the high price of the quotes (and the pricing differential!).  However, the quotes did involve replacement of the fence. The tradesmen don’t seem to want to repair the fence and replacement is the suggested course of action. As the fence was still in good condition i.e. straight but leaning, it got me thinking, could I fix the fence myself and potentially save thousands of dollars?

DIY, Is it really worth it?

The web is a fantastic resource, and based on the relatively simple task, my cost estimates showed I actually could save thousands of dollars. So I decided to give it a go. What could go wrong? After two weekends of hard labour, plan revisions (due to human error) and multiple trips to the local hardware store it was done. On reflection, I am jubilant with the result, which was very effective and did save me thousands of dollars. There is also the satisfaction of doing the task yourself and the pride of a job well done! Personally, I have found the key points to consider are the (1) size of the savings, (2) complexity of the job and (3) time vs. money tradeoff. As a non-professional taking on something for the first time, estimating the complexity or time to complete the job may be very inaccurate. So you should leave some fat in your estimations and then you decide is it really going to be worth it. For example, I did not take on our recent bathroom renovation as I did not think the amount I could save (if any) outweighed the effort and difficulty of the job.

Questions to consider before embarking on a DIY job

  • What are the potential savings?
  • How difficult or complex is the task?
  • Is the time vs. money tradeoff worth it? (i.e. forgoing family or other personal time)
  • Do you have the required tools already?
  • Is the job potentially life threatening? (i.e. electrical work)
  • Have I got some good mates that may be able to lend a hand?
  • Does it have to meet the applicable standard for that code, if so will it when I finish the project?
If you can get through those questions and are still keen to proceed with the DIY, I wish you the best of luck and may see you at the hardware store on the weekend! Author:  Professional Banker  

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