diy do and dont

When should a homeowner hire a home professional?

Featured Question by Bante Design: What is the difference between an architect and interior designer? When do you hire a handyman over a specific type of contractor? Can’t I just do this myself?

These questions regarding what type of professional to hire (or if you should hire outside help at all) baffle homeowners everyday. Sometimes homeowners want to go at it themselves to save money. Other times, they just don’t understand what professionals do and why they are necessary.

Why We’re Asking:

DeAnna Radaj of Bante Design, suggested our 7th Blog-Off question. Bante Design LLC specializes in Integrative Lifestyle Design (ILD): healthy design solutions for the home, office or retail space. ILD is a fusion of Eastern (Feng Shui) and Western (eco-friendly, healthy home) design philosophies while taking into account client’s needs, goals and lifestyle requirements.

We asked DeAnna what inspired the question. She said it is a topic that comes up a lot on her radio show and at speaking engagements. For homeowners, some tend to not know exactly what hiring a professional entails. Some get confused as to which professional is appropriate for which job, while others believe they can do the same thing for less money. DeAnna explained,

“I’ve heard homeowners say ‘I can pick out a color and paint. Why would I hire someone?’, obviously not realizing what actually goes into a well-designed space,”

She also explained how this is often a debate among the professional community.

“I’ve had ‘words’ with those in other disciplines (architects and contractors) who feel that since they are ‘in the trade’ they know how to design a room,” DeAnna said. “When I respond regarding the psychology of space in furniture placement, color theory/therapy, or what color to use in what room and why, they’ll usually go ‘huh, I didn’t know that.’ So it’s not only the education of the public at large, but education within the industry as to what other trades know and how they view others.”

So experts, it’s time to fill our homeowners in:

When and why should a homeowner hire a home professional?

Whether it be an interior designer, contractor, consultant, or installer, what is the reason to hire a professional?
When is it appropriate to hire and when should you DIY?
Are there any jobs that you shouldn’t hire out (i.e. maybe it is not the best use of a professional’s time)?
Most importantly, which jobs are appropriate for which profession (we encourage a breakdown by trade or definitions of what each trade typically does!)? Do you believe there should be differentiation?
Or can one professional do it all?
Lastly, as always, how does price factor into all of this?

Experts, post your answers in the comment field below!



  • Greg Chick @ DIY Plumbing Advice 04/12/11

    When it comes to color, I am OK, when it comes to Plumbing Fixtures, I am certain I am the Expert, not the consumer. I am not referring to the finish of a faucet or fixture either. Plumbing fixtures are required to do more than fit a motif, most fixtures have rough in issues, trim fitting issues, supply and waste issues and safety issues that far exceed the consumers willingness to understand. For example does that fixture use a code required ASSE 1016 or an ASSE 1017 compliant Thermostatic Mixing Valve. Does that wall need to be a 2X6 wall or will a 2X4 wall suffice. Is a floor drain better there, or a channel drain? Is a separate Water Heater going to pay for it’s self in 2 yrs.? or is a Tank less Water Heater really going to be worth it? Is a trench to the Building Drain thru the Concrete floor better or is an Ejector a better option, if so how loud is an Ejector, Oops, we didn’t get a quiet one and it is all built in now….What about this Brand Name Recognition… “Oh it is a %^&*, so it must be good”, Name Brands only offer a fuzzy buyer comfort, not a home run on a good choice. “We got a Designer Package” at the Fixture House, she said this was all “top o Line stuff” I have been paid thousands of dollars fixing such claims. Hire a Pro, Plumbing is too expensive to do twice. In addition to hiring a Pro., as I said in last Blog, communicate well and watch his employees. Remember the Contractor himself is required to be on the job personally part of the time job is in progress.

  • Jason Todd @ GreenHomes America 04/12/11

    When it comes to weatherization and our search for comfort, there are lots of things homeowners can successfully accomplish on their own. Many of us have added weather-stripping or tightened up a door and these things may help, but may not make a huge impact on the comfort of the home. A Home Performance professional is one that focuses on improving energy efficiency as well as comfort, health and safety in a home.

    The reason we encourage homeowners to hire a Home Performance professional when it comes to the efficiency, health and safety of their home is simple: It’s complicated. A house is a dynamic system with many parts that interact with each other. It is not just a heating or cooling unit, not just an attic with insulation (or one that is un-insulated), a drafty room, condensation on the windows, not just a bath fan or a damp basement, but an intricate system that needs to be maintained and tuned. No one expects a furnace to work well year after year without a tune-up and in fact it’s a health and safety issue if it isn’t maintained. The same goes for the home.

    Hiring a professional to assess the home can help to establish a game plan, and in Home Performance may cover the work of a number of trades such as HVAC, moisture management, ventilation, insulation and air-sealing, and that is a good thing. The value for a homeowner is that they hire someone who understands the interactions in a home, not just one part. It helps them to make an informed decision.

    Hiring a number of contractors to complete a project can work too, but it certainly is harder on the homeowner, and there is also a greater risk of some details being overlooked. Either way there may be some recommended measures that the homeowner will still want to take on and that’s ok too, since now they are making an informed decision and know what they are doing is worth the effort and investment.

    Speaking of investment, often when a homeowner calls a professional to fix a problem such as comfort in the home, they think of it as an expense. The work of a Home Performance Professional not only addresses comfort issues, but by increasing the efficiency of the home, the improvements often pay for themselves at the same time. The cost of hiring a professional in this instance can be a real money saver.

  • Barbara Tako/Clutter Clearing Choices, LLC 04/12/11

    Okay. I am originally from Iowa, so I am frugal. That said, I also speak and write about home organizing and clutter clearing. Sometimes tossing to clear clutter and hanging onto things to save money conflict! So, the answer about whether to hire a professional or not, is that it depends…on your living situation, your financial means, and your preferences and stage of life.

    My book is a tool for “do-it-yourself” people and it is frugal. I like that approach because it teaches and suggests a variety of simple habits and life skills that help people to be independent from a professional organizer. Hiring a professional organizer has it’s place, especially when a situation has become overwhelming or there is a time constraint to accomplish a task–moving out by the end of the month, dealing with a death or health issue…If we learn new behaviors, however, we can stay on top of our clutter so, in most cases, it won’t grow back! I will conclude with this then “Try before you buy!”

  • Jody Costello @ Contractors from Hell 04/12/11

    As to when and why a homeowner should hire a home professional should be based on the complexity of the project and the risks involved such as structural, electrical or plumbing. These are areas that unless you’re experienced in these trades you’ll want to hire a pro.

    As to DIY projects, painting and landscaping can certainly be done by a homeowner who is really able to carry out the task. And they should also have some idea of the challenges involved such as prepping walls properly for a paint job, understanding the use of color in rooms or choosing the right plants or proper drainage for landscaping.

    As to can one professional do it all, well that can be a recipe for disaster. More complaints have been filed by consumers whose General Contractor did it all but did not have the required license for the other trades i.e., electrical or plumbing and the result was shoddy work. Most states (not all) require licensing in electrical, plumbing and engineering so anything related to these trades should always be done by a licensed professional as there are potential hazards and liabilities at risk for both parties. General contractors for example, cannot themselves do the electrical or plumbing unless they are licensed in that trade as well, but that’s not typical. Those jobs will be sourced out to the trades and rightly so.

    Homeowners should always weigh the risks versus saving money by doing it themselves. It could end up costing them more in the end if they have to hire someone to correct or repair their own work – so much for saving money!

  • Melissa Galt @ Melissa Galt Interiors 04/12/11

    As a professional interior designer I’ve jumped in to help a client out on anything from an exterior paint color (and then they need the trim, the door, the shutters, the roof shingle selection) to a complete remodel and interior furnishing.

    There are no small decisions as in design it is about context and everything is connected. One small change has a domino or ripple effect that will impact many other small and large decisions both now and in the future.

    Hiring qualified help saves the homeowner precious time, scary anxiety and sleepless nights, often money (saved from expensive mistakes), and provides peace of mind that the best materials were chosen for the specific job and installed professionally. Now this does presume professional resources are called in, resources that have a proven track record, client reviews, certifications when necessary, licensing when required, education and more.

    I would never suggest there aren’t some awesome DIYers out there, but not nearly as many as they think they are. If you doubt me just go take a look at what shows up on HGTV. While it can be inspiring it can also be frightening! Holmes on Homes is forever fixing bad contractor work. (Oh and HINT, just because it’s on TV doesn’t make it right, they do need a disclaimer, “don’t try this at home, it won’t last.”)

    While I can make great selections and design decisions all day long, I don’t attempt to wire my own lights, plumb my own toilets, hook up my own HVAC, or even paint (I’d rather chew foil!) I hire experts at what they do because they’ll save me time, aggravation, and ultimately money (time is money!)

  • Pablo Solomon, Green Designer 04/13/11

    I will add a few quick comments to those of my fellow professionals already given.
    1. Never do anything to do with gas or propane leaks yourself. Period.Get out of the area and call the utility company and professional plumbers.Do not even call from the leak area or turn a light on or off as you might blow yourself up.
    2. Yes, it is fun, frugal and satisfying to do as much as you can. However, Ms.Tako is correct when she advises to consider your age, your health, your time constraints,etc.
    For example, I can easily switch out a water heater for my own home. But, as fate would have it, the last time the water heater went out it was a rare icey day in Texas and my wife and I were on our backs with the flu. So it was well worth getting a pro out.
    I also have had friends to hurt themselves badly trying to do at 70 what they once did at 40. When I turned 60, I vowed to no longer do anything that requires getting on my second story roof or a ladder over 6 feet tall. One broken leg would cost much more than getting some one out to trim a limb or paint trim.
    3. If you have money–and yes many people stil do–hiring a designer can result in something special. Not that you cannot pick your own colors, rugs, furniture, etc. But often a professional designer will give you ideas that you never thought of and can even give you creative ways to use what you already have in unique and interesting ways.
    4. As an artist and designer, my challenge is always to give my clients value while creating something special that make them feel good. I really want them to go away feeling that I was worth money.

  • Bill Riggs @ Riggs Construction 04/13/11

    The key word here is professional. Sure you can take out a splinter, but would you tackle a major surgery? No; you would definitely go to the doctor and let the professional do it! You would trust only a qualified doctor to handle your body. It is the same thing with your home remodeling. Sure you can change a doorknob, but would you tackle a major home renovation? The correct answer here is no! You should go to a professional and let them handle your most valuable asset…your home! Here are some other things to think about:

    1. Look at your own skill and experience level. And no, reading about something on the internet is not experience! Gauge your true ability, and think about what you will do if a problem comes up – which it will in many projects. Are you equipped to think quickly and solve the problem quickly?

    2. Consider that you don’t know what you don’t know. Most trade professionals who work on remodeling projects have extensive training, education, and on-the-job apprenticeships to become masters at their crafts. Have you amassed that knowledge to tackle your project?

    3. Think about the time commitment required to complete your project. Do you have enough time, and will you have the stamina required to make it to the finish line? If you’re up against a hard deadline, like a family gathering or the arrival of out-of-town guests, the issue of time becomes very critical.

    4. Investigate what types of permits and certifications may be required by your town for construction projects. Do you have the skill level to complete the project to the inspector’s requirements? (Don’t avoid permits because you’re afraid you won’t pass! That will pop up to bite you later on down the road.)

  • Steve Robinson @ Axios Architecture 04/13/11

    There are many reasons to hire a professional. For my practice, the essential benefit is making a client realize what the design possibilities are (often possibilities they never thought of), assisting them with selecting the right design option, and then making that a built reality. An architect is trained (and typically naturally gifted) to develop more robust solutions, even for seemingly small design problems.

    The second major benefit is the majority of homeowners just don’t know how to translate what they want to a rich design solution and then a built reality. Architects provide the big design picture as well as carefully integrating the small details that make a big difference. Design done in a piecemeal manner (i.e. contractor input, flooring sales staff, kitchen designers) can certainly be helpful, but often lacks the overall sophistication that an architect, who has solid familiarity with all of these design components, brings.

    Finally, an architect will help you envision the space as a three dimensional reality. Design is much more than arranging rooms, extruding up walls and adding a roof…it is about creating a warmth and sophistication you will delight in every day. Find an architect you can trust and watch the magic happen!

  • Leah Thayer @ Daily 5 Remodel 04/13/11

    Once again, I invited professional remodelers to offer their opinions.

    Asked what homeowners can do vs. what they should hire a professional for, Neil Parsons of DesignBuildProfit.com, N.J., said a highly skilled DIYer can undertake almost any project. But DIYers need to balance the money they’ll save with “the time to complete, time taken away from work and/or family, stress and responsibility/warranty.”

    When to hire a specialized trade contractor versus a handyman?

    Typically the cutoff from handyman to trade begins with “permits, architect and/or need for project management or coordination of multiple tasks or trades,” Neil said.

    When to hire an architect vs. relying on a remodeling company’s in-house design staff?

    David Roberts is an architect who runs a design/build firm in Evanston, Ill. He wrote:

    “I’m slightly more than biased on this subject. An architect should be on the team when:
    altering the structure
    changing the interior traffic flow
    changing the exterior design and materials in any manner
    any historic preservation / restoration issues
    performance of materials
    energy conservation;
    sustainability concerns;
    accessibility;
    lifelong livability concerns.”

    But Neil Parsons said this:

    “In my opinion, hiring an architect before the design+build remodeler is only for homeowners who are not too concerned about the budget and final investment.”

  • Steve Mickley @ American Institute of Building Design 04/13/11

    In the discipline of residential design, at the very least, every project requiring a building permit warrants the involvement of a qualified design professional.

    In the residential realm, it is very possible that a lot of home professionals (i.e. contractors, designers, installers, etc.) aren’t even required to be licensed in any given state. Therefore, a more daunting question may be, how does a homeowner know when they are hiring a professional?

    Building or remodeling a home is a thrilling undertaking, one that represents the greatest investment most individuals will make. A specialist in residential home design is an outstanding partner to make sure homeowners take advantage of the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls while creating their perfect house plan. But when 45 of the 50 states do not require any credentialing for someone to market themselves as a home designer, how does a homeowner know if they are choosing a qualified professional?

  • Lori LaRochelle @ La Rochelle Interior Design 04/14/11

    As an interior designer I often get hired after the client has botched his/her own design project to come clean up the mess. On the other hand on rare occasions I have been hired by those with a good sense of design. They hire me to insure that the investment they are about to make in their home truly fits their needs and desires. When you are about to make a major investment in your home whether you have a good since of design or not it is always good to hire a consultant to at least review your plan to insure you haven’t missed anything. I was once told by a very sweet old man (my Dad) a job well planned is a job half done. Even I as a design get a second opinion when doing work for myself. Sometimes we are just too focused on one aspect of the project to see the bigger picture and need a little perspective on the design. It’s much easier and cheaper to change it on the drawing board than it is in real life. A good professional can give you that bigger picture so you don’t make costly errors or worse, end up with a space that does work for you or your family. A good consultant can save you time and money in the long run.

  • Patricia Davis Brown, ASID, CKD, CBD @ Dig This Design 04/14/11

    My motto is…”Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.” Before starting a remodel it is important to develop a plan of the space first. To do this one must hire a professional. This person could be an Interior Designer, Architect or Kitchen or Bath Designer. Having a professional plan drawn up is the best money you will ever spend. A plan puts everybody on the same page and empowers the home owner to go out and get apple to apple bids. I would then recommend getting three bids from licensed and insured contractors and then evaluating them with your designer. Your designer is your representative and they can help you to qualify the bids you receive. A designer will also make sure their job is done with the best quality and oversee the construction of the project. Remember design is cheap in the long run and will make up the money you spent by eliminating costly change orders.

  • Reggie Marston @ REM Home Inpsection 04/14/11

    Everyday as a home inspector I encounter projects homeowners undertook that should have been left to a professional. As I tell my clients when they ask me if they can perform the repairs on issues I have encountered in their home or a home their purchasing, number one you have to determine your knowledge level, skill level and comfort level of the project you plan to undertake. You could probably repair your roof leak, but if your not comfortable working at heights you probably don’t want to climb up a ladder twenty feet in the air, get off the ladder onto the roof and then climb up a steep roof to where the repair is needed because one misstep and your sliding off the roof and it’s not the fall that hurts, it’s the sudden stop at the end.

    Also you need to take a few minutes and think about what you are planning to attempt, can the project possibly injure or kill you or someone else, can you flood the house or burn the house down. If the answer is yes then it’s probably better to leave the projects to the pro’s.

    I did an inspection for a couple that was purchasing a home in a neighborhood they were presently renting a home in. The wife attended the inspection and the husband didn’t, the wife after I finished inspecting the attic commented that it was good I didn’t fall through the ceiling like her husband did. Apparently he wanted to run some cable TV wires through the attic to their bedroom. Simple easy job, except he wasn’t aware of house construction and didn’t realize the drywall ceiling couldn’t support his weight. So he’s in the attic over the two story entry foyer, steps on the ceiling, falls two story’s, bounces off the stairway rail and lands on the foyer floor with a broken back and spends the next six months in rehab. He was lucky he had the opportunity to spend six months in rehab, could’ve been eternity in a box. He probably could have hired a professional for $250 to run the wires. Was the outcome worth the $250?

  • Deborah Cannon @ Comar Products 04/14/11

    A home owner should hire a professional if the job is above their skill and comfort level – particularly if it involves plumbing, electricity or gas!

    If you are able to get good professional advice, which most of us are happy to give, you should certainly consider DIY. There is a great sense of satisfaction in a job well done. But, if it is going to cause stress and be a never-ending project, consider a professional. Just like those of us that do these things for a living, your time is valuable and may be better spent doing something else!

    There are times when the professional would have to charge considerably more than the job is actually worth just to cover their costs – transportation, etc.

    Differentiation between professions would depend on whether your area requires licenses for certain jobs. For instance, a carpenter may be capable of hooking up your faucet after he sets your new cabinet and counter top – but he may not be licensed to do that. It is also possible that his insurance would not cover any problems that result because that is not what his coverage is for. If your job is extensive, it is probably best to get a licensed remodelor who can do all the work required or help you obtain the services of those that can.

    Many times a professional, with an established account, can buy the same product at a lower price and already has all of the tools, etc., needed to do the job. If that is the case, you probably aren’t saving any money or time by doing it yourself.

  • Linda Benninger @ Atlanta Plumbing Plus 04/14/11

    Sometimes the law has a say in when to use a professional. For example, here in Georgia, the law states that all plumbing must be done by a licensed plumbing professional (someone who holds a Journeyman or Master Plumber’s license in the State of Georgia). A lot of people choose to ignore this law when they are working inside their own homes. This might be OK for smaller jobs like installing a new faucet in an easy to reach location, if you are skilled and have the correct tools.

    For anything major, however, you should always hire a licensed plumber who is also insured and bonded. The cost of hiring a professional is nothing compared to the cost of repairing damage from a water leak that has gone undetected for a while; or cleaning up after a sewage back-up; or worse yet having health issues from a gas leak.

    At the other end of the spectrum, when customers call wanting to hire us to re-grout the tile in their showers, I always advise them to do it themselves or hire a handyman. Grouting is a simple job that is not typically considered to be plumbing.

    So as a simple breakdown: If the job involves cutting in to water, sewer or gas lines; installing or repairing a water heater or a complex faucet or shower system with multiple parts, you should always use a licensed plumber.

  • Kelly Duncan @ Garden Association 04/14/11

    Here are some reasons homeowners should hire professionals:

    Value Engineering – Build from a Plan – No costly overdos with DIY mistakes or unplanned surprises.

    Creativity – Out of the box design ideas – Creative solutions to issues typical homeowners don’t notice.

    Extensive Knowledge – State Certified Professionals have an abundance of industry information at their disposal to assist your project.

    Use of Certified/Expert Installers – As many of the other experts said, it is illegal to use unlicensed professionals in some states, so using a professional (that is actually licensed) reduces legal risk.

    Overall Project Management – Ensure highest possible quality in craftsmanship, time lines, and accurate budgeting and pricing for each install. There is no need to worry and try and manage your own project.

    Maximum Use of Property – Professional can consider technical issues while blending aesthetics and the clients own personal style and project specifications to ensure the maximum potential of your project is reached.

  • Elizabeth Kinkel @ Wnuk Spurlock Architecture 04/14/11

    When a homeowner wants to remodel/renovate their dwelling they should ask themselves a few questions:

    * What changes would I like to make? Put on an addition, remodel my kitchen etc.
    * Why would I like to do this? Is it to increase the property value, improve their daily life, accommodate new needs, etc.
    * What are the Must have’s vs. the I would like’s?

    Once these questions are answered it becomes a question of scope. If the project is small and purely cosmetic, meaning re-surfacing a floor, painting, re-siding the exterior etc. DIY, contractors, or interior designers are the way to go.

    If the scope will involve multiple trades its best for the homeowner to call up and Architect, or a few. Architects are a GREAT resource and for a small fee they are willing to consult with homeowners to better educate them on their needs, budgets, and overall execution of the project. Time and time again homeowners do not understand the extent of what they would like to do nor the costs associated with the changes. The small fee upfront fee to be better educated could save them thousands in the end.

    Of all the trades Architects are the only ones that are required to be licensed in order to practice. Obtaining this license involves 5-6 years of university education, 3 years of apprenticeship, and passing the ARE. This is a security to the homeowner that their information from an architect is backed up by both the AIA and the state. Although architects are not required for certain projects, it is well worth the investment to consult with one.

    Once a rough idea of the cost is established through either a contractor, materials supplier, or architect it is important to consult a realtor to see if the investment is worthwhile. Often projects, especially kitchen remodels and additions have some initial sticker shock and end up being twice as expensive as homeowners originally thought. By meeting with a realtor and understanding the investment they are making in their home, the decision to proceed with a remodel becomes easier.

  • Nancy Keenholts Dalton @ Baywolf Dalton, Inc. 04/14/11

    You should consider working with a design professional, architect or structural engineer if you’re making structural changes to your home. You may need one of these professionals to help obtain a permit in your city to do the work. I would suggest that unless it is really a small chore a good general contractor would be a better resource, they have the expertise, insurance and bonding. Some handymen are not insured and may not be paying taxes. You could have a problem if something is done wrong, check for business licenses and insurance for anyone working in your home. Many good contractors are doing smaller jobs right now and this is good for consumers.

    The benefits of a designer or architect can be invaluable for projects as simple as room layouts, colors, adding a French door. We are professionals and bring more knowledge and skills to our work than many people realize. Our projects demonstrate our understanding of how things need to function and product knowledge our clients just don’t have. Here are several examples; in-swing vs. out-swing doors, low voltage lighting vs. line voltage; abrasion ratings for floor tiles and code requirements. This is the technical part of my work. The part the public is most familiar with may be my understanding of colors, textures and finishes but there’s just so much more.

    Have you ever wondered why that hotel lobby or restaurant looked so amazing? A commercial project would never be built without professionals. If you want a great project, large or small find the right professional for your project. I partner with structural engineers and architects when I need their expertise and I refer them when most of the work is structural or beyond my area of work. Any good professional would advise a client if they needed a different specialist; then refer them to someone they trust.

    You don’t need to wait until you have a large project; in fact don’t wait until then to meet with and hire a professional. Find out more about their work, how they charge and if this something within their scope of expertise.

    I can’t see the downside to working with a professional, really only up side. As a client, you’re not giving up control, your gaining valuable insight and expertise.

  • Charlene Storozuk @ Dezigner Digz 04/14/11

    I have seen many homeowners prepare their own homes for sale without the help of a professional home stager. This can become a very costly mistake if the home languishes on the market due to the fact that it hasn’t been merchandised properly. Besides that, it is very hard for a homeowner to be impartial with their own place.

    That being said, that doesn’t mean that a homeowner needs to hire a home stager to do all of the work for them; particularly if a homeowner is willing to put some “blood, sweat and tears” into it. In a lot of cases, a home staging consultation is the answer. a professional home stager will look at the property with a critical eye and prepare a detailed, DIY plan drawn up to specifically meet the needs of that property. Some will even come back for a quick review after the homeowner has followed through, to see if any additional tweaking is necessary.

    Hopefully I won’t ruffle any feathers here, but as far as which jobs are appropriate for which professions; I would have to say that unless an interior designer or decorator has also received additional training in the theory and psychology of home staging, it’s best that property merchandising be left to a professional home stager to do. Selling a home is very different to decorating one to live in. I have been in homes that were designed and decorated by professionals and they were stunning I might add, however, they were still in need of some changes to make them appeal to a larger buyer pool.

  • Lori Gilder @ Interior Makeovers Inc. 04/14/11

    I realize that some folks feel the DIY route is for them (thinking this is the BEST way to save themselves considerable cash), while others remain unclear as to the true value and expertise we professionals even offer.

    Truth be told if this is a maiden voyage, lack of experience and any errors made along the way could realistically only save about 10-15% of the cost of your project and typically takes 3x longer. I know of many ambitious home remodelers/and self-proclaimed designers who eventually had to call for professional back up to not just complete the work they started but to fix the damage they themselves created. I’ve witnessed it first hand…where these DIYers had literally thrown away good money after bad.

    Be realistic and know your limitations no matter how capable you THINK you are!

    Depending on the scope and size of your home project, hiring the right design or trade professional will not only guide you through the decision making process easily – but save you substantial time and MONEY in the process. Hiring the right home specialist eliminates any planning disasters and logistical nightmares that naturally occur with home improvement and design projects.

    Hiring the right expert for your project will provide you “the homeowner” with the best possible solution and final product.

    Your home has a heart and soul. So treat it with the same respect and dignity you deserve. Hire a home professional!

  • Tanya Stock @ Vida Verde Build 04/14/11

    In line with my earlier blog post about compensation and what it means when you consult with a professional my feelings are to always initially hire a professional for whatever purpose – Remodeling, Design, Plumbing, etc.

    Because you are “consulting” with them you are under no obligation to hire them. Professionals are just that professionals in their field and their expertise, training and experience can enable you to find out who you need to hire, when you need to hire and why. If during the consult you find out that you can DIY then they can also provide you with the necessary information you can use to complete the task yourself – as in the kind of tools, permits or procedures. Hiring a Professional to consult with you will save you money and time in the long run.

    And this goes out again to the varying trades – are you offering yourself as a Coach, Advisor or Consultant. These can be marvelous marketing and financial opportunities to keep your business afloat and offer you another way of learning the most essential skill – communication. By just talking to customers and listening to them vs trying to sell them you will learn invaluable lessons in what the public wants and needs from a trade professional.

    Its very easy to Google but that information is often misleading, incorrect or inapplicable. You get what you pay for.

  • Stuart @ ToolGuyd 04/14/11

    When preparing for a project, whether at home or work, I ask myself a series of questions.

    Is this work potentially dangerous for me to attempt myself? If there are health or safety concerns due to inexperience or the type of work or materials involved, I hire professionals.

    Will doing it myself save a lot of money? Obviously, some projects are more affordable to do oneself than others. If I can do the work myself in a reasonable amount of time and at huge savings, I am likely to give it a try.

    Can I produce quality results? For specific types of work, my own results may be superior to that of a professional’s. In the same sense, I consider how much I could bugger things up. I have heard too many stories of mechanics, contractors, and other professionals having to fix long lists of issues after a DIYer screwed up a project. I don’t want to be featured on http://thereifixedit.failblog.org/ !!

  • Terry Peterman @ Electrical Online 04/15/11

    For most renovation projects, you should hire professionals to do the work. Generally speaking, this is what they are trained for, licenced for, and are experienced at doing.

    Speaking for the trades portion of a project (if applicable), most jurisdictions allow a homeowner to work on their own home providing they check with the local building authority to see what is required to do so. This is a necessary step, most importantly to protect the health and safety of you and your family. You should check with your insurance provider to ensure that you are not compromising your coverage on work you do yourself.

    You may need to obtain a homeowners’ (electrical, plumbing, etc.) permit, and have a qualified inspector check you work to ensure you are compliant with relevant code rules as they apply to your project.

    If you choose to do some (or all) of the work on the project yourself, the first question to ask yourself is why? Saving money is the worst motivating factor, simply because in all probability, you won’t!

    If you have an interest in tackling the project, are capable of doing the work, and have the time, then go for it, but remember these points:

    1. You will take much more time to complete tasks than it would take the professional. You will make mistakes, spend more time thinking, planning, and doing things that a professional would do instinctively. Your extra time spent on portions of a project that you do yourself will hold up progress on the rest of the project that you hire out.
    2. Do your research in advance. Failure to plan is a plan to fail!
    3. Make sure that this is something you will enjoy doing!

    Doing part or all of a renovation project yourself, and doing it correctly will give you a sense of pride, accomplishment, and satisfaction that you won’t get from simply writing the cheques. Either way, make sure that the job gets done properly and that the professionals you do hire are reputable, and have solid references from happy customers and clients. I’m sure we all have examples of very questionable quality in work done by those calling themselves experts or professional at what they do.

  • Mary Kennedy Thompson @ Mr. Rooter Plumbing 04/15/11

    Your home is an investment, so you should consider how changes you make will affect its resale value. Getting a professional opinion is worth it even though it may not always be necessary, because you want to be happy with the results and comfortable living in your home with the decisions you make.

    Modifications that require structural changes and permits or those that could affect the safety of your family require a contractor’s special attention.

    I recommend you hire a professional for these jobs:
    Water heater installations
    Re-piping or relocation of water, gas, vent and drain lines
    Sewer line replacements
    Shower valve repairs/replacements.

    The costs of doing the job incorrectly far exceed the costs of having a licensed contractor do the job correctly the first time. You should also factor in the stress and safety aspects.

  • Jennifer Dusina @ freedomRail 04/15/11

    To hire or not to hire….that is the question.

    It depends of course on the type of project and the amount of time they have to spend on it. I agree with Deborah from Comar Products, some projects are just too difficult for them like anything that has to do with plumbing, electricity or gas.

    Other projects may seem achievable, but homeowners need to ask themselves how valuable their time is and if they’re willing to invest their time towards that particular project.

    Yes, while it’s true they may be able to paint their home on their own, install their own closet system or do their own landscaping, it’s likely it would take them double the time, not to mention their investment for the supplies that professionals would already have. And, time it would take to fix any issues they may have that typically doesn’t occur when a professional is hired.

    So when they’re making the decision as to hire or not to hire a professional, it’s best that they consider these points when they’re calculating the bottom line because it may seem like a DIY project that could save them money when in reality it’s more cost effective to hire a professional.

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