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DIY or Contractor? How to Decide


1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

DIY or Contractor? How to Decide

When it comes to fixing things around the house DIY may be appealing, but is it the right decision? Would a contractor do it better? Here is a look at the things to consider before you start hammering down walls yourself.

Do You Require a Permit?

First, check whether the project requires any special permits and qualifications. Although most household projects can be done without any special requirements, there are certain electrical wiring and plumbing projects that require a permit or even professional qualifications. You might require building permission if you are building an extension to your home, or you might need to ensure you follow building regulations if you are doing any electrical wiring. You can find out about how to apply and what the specific requirements are for certain projects at the government portal.

Requirements like these don’t necessarily mean you need to use a contractor, but that you need to file an application. It might be easier to let the contractor deal with these issues, though you should still check they’re qualified and cleared to do the work before they start. If you didn’t follow the right procedure, or you didn’t use a qualified professional and something goes wrong, it could affect the outcome of any home insurance claim you make against any damage.

What Are Your Skills?

Consider your own skills and think about whether you can do it. Do you really know what you’re doing or are you just trying to save money?

If you’ve been doing DIY all your life and you feel at home with machinery, you could probably fit a kitchen with relative ease. On the other hand, if you find hammering a nail in a straight line an impossible task, you probably shouldn’t consider tiling your bathroom on your own. Be honest with yourself when you considering your skills. We all like to think we can manage even the toughest of jobs, but you shouldn’t overestimate your abilities when it comes to working on your home. If you feel uneasy or hesitant about the project, you should definitely at least talk to a contractor before you start work.


How Big is the Project?

The more work your project requires, the more difficult it might be. Consider how quickly you want the project to finish and how much time you have at hand. Although you might be able to figure out how to fit a kitchen, you might not have enough time to finish it within a reasonable timescale. If you are doing the DIY in your spare time your project might end up lasting twice as long as it would if a contractor did it.

If you have a stressful job DIY can be good for a spot of escapism, if you aren’t in a rush, and having a part of your home under construction doesn’t cause major problems to normal life, doing it yourself can be worthwhile. It can provoke a good strong sense of achievement and give you something to show off to your friends and family. But beware, botch jobs can be long lasting and end up costing a fortune.


What Will it Cost?

An easy way to look at cost is to set a budget before you even think contractor vs DIY. Do your homework and discover the typical price of labour and materials for the work you need doing. If you look thoroughly enough you will be able to pick the right materials, the right contractor, and ensure you’re not misled when quoted a price.

If you are planning to do a project yourself, consider what it might cost if it all turns sour, especially if saving money is your primary motivation.

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