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Tips on DIY vs. Professional

Typical DIYers jobs require little to no specialized skill or knowledge to accomplish many home improvements. Painting a room, replacing a filter or battery are simple DIY projects. What do you need to think about when a professional is required?

Time, money, and peace of mind are the factors to think about when deciding on a professional vs. a DIY project. Time is the most underestimated action when starting a project. YouTube might make it look simple and easy, but time is not captured correctly on a 10min video. I have seen many instances when a simple job turned into more than expected.

Money involves many factors like materials, time off, and tools. Most DIYers need to purchase new tools to complete the job or use what they have on hand. Using what is on hand can increase time and the risk of injury or a project not being completed correctly.

Peace of mind is knowing that the project is completed right and will last for a long time.

Example: A simple project to replace the decorative post base. The material was mica which just soaked up water. After removing the decorative base, additional unknowns became known. The footer was wood on top of concrete and was rotten and falling apart. Would you cover it up or call someone if you saw this? Would you feel safe using the deck above? Or sit under this deck? Be ready for unknowns like this. It is often better to hire a professional who has the tools and experience to fix now rather than wait and see. This project required a replacement or risked the deck falling.

How much is your time worth? How much stress can you take on? This project required two-floor jacks to support the deck to remove the post. Not many people have these in their garage—the repair involved meeting building codes, replacing Hardie boards, and drilling rebar reinforced concrete.

The suggestion is to hire a professional. You might be thinking, how do I pick the right professional to hire? The web is a great tool and your friends. You can look at reviews, but the better source is your local BBB (Better Business Bureau ). Review the professional's website, then call a minimum of three to have them come out and inspect and provide a quote. When interviewing your professional, ask them to share their license if required in your area, ask for details about their insurance, and if they hire subcontractors. Why ask if they hire subcontractors? To begin asking additional questions to understand who guarantees the workmanship, who to call, and who to pay. Most legitimate companies will work directly with you and have guarantees on workmanship.

Do not just pick the lowest quote/bid when you receive them. Compare and look for similar line items and those missing. Call and ask questions about the quote/bid. Ask and make sure the quote/bid is the final price, or is there a percentage that it could go higher?

Never pay for the project upfront. Some might ask for 25-50% upfront, and some expect full payment after the project is complete. Also, ask what forms of payment do they accept. There are a few that will only take cash or certified checks.

The last tip to reduce unknowns is to have yearly inspections. Ensure you have the roof, foundation, furnace, air conditioning, and general walk inside and out looking for possible damage. It is much cheaper to repair than to ignore and notice when the problem is more extensive and requires an imidate response.

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