One of the first things that a homeowner must make when beginning a home improvement project is who will do the work. The decision to hire a professional contractor or to complete a project personally can be tough to make. After all, there's a lot riding on each home improvement project. Knowing the pros and cons of each option can help you make the right choice.
Pros of DIY
There are many reasons that homeowners choose to do their own home improvement projects.
- Homeowners who are able to complete tasks themselves can save on labor expenses, which enables them to make home improvements at a fraction of the cost of a contractor or handyman.
- Many homeowners like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from working on their own home.
- Some homeowners feel better about the quality of the work when they've done it themselves.
Cons of DIY
Unfortunately, there are some downsides of doing your own home improvement work.
- Not all homeowners know how to make home improvements correctly.
- Without training and expertise, homeowners can do damage to their property.
- Many homeowners lack the equipment and training required to do home improvement projects safely.
Pros of Hiring a Professional
The advantages of hiring a professional to complete your home improvement tasks are numerous.
- Professionals often carry insurance and have a bond that protects the consumer (you'll have to check on a case-by-case basis because not all professionals are the same).
- Professionals often have training, expertise, tools and equipment that enable them to do the job right.
- Professionals are often able to complete the work more quickly and efficiently than homeowners.
Cons of Hiring a Professional
One of the most common problems that homeowners encounter when trying to hire a professional is the price. For a typical handyman, the average rate comes to around $77 per hour. For home improvement contractor, average rates can go up as high as $102 per hour. At these prices, homeowners on a tight budget may find themselves priced out and unable to make the kind of home improvements that they want or need to make.
Fortunately, there are ways to control the cost of a contractor, including:
- Give yourself time to shop around for a contractor who offers a competitive rate.
- Hire contractors in the off-season when rates are lower.
- Hire small business contractors who have fewer or no employees and lower overhead costs.
Another disadvantage of hiring a professional is that not all contractors and handymen have the same level of skill. Hiring a professional is not a guarantee of quality. Checking references and licensure before hiring can help homeowners find a capable, reputable professional.
Making a Decision
When the time comes to make a final decision, safety and expertise are important factors to consider. Any job that could incur structural damage to the home (such as a roof improvement) should be handled by a reputable contractor. Likewise, any home improvement that could result in injuries to the homeowner (such as electrical improvement) should also be conducted by a professional.
Consider Your Home's Value
The final thing to consider before making improvements to your home is the value of your property and the way the value would be impacted. Professional upgrades may be of higher quality and therefore can deliver more value than DIY home improvements. If you're thinking of selling, try to scope out the improvements of other homes in the area. If you're selling a South Alexandria home, it would make sense to understand what other homes in that area are doing before selling. Improperly performed upgrades can actually devalue the home. Taking this into account can help homeowners decide for sure whether or not an improvement should be performed as a DIY project or by a professional.