If you’re handy around the house, the thought of tackling a variety of home improvement projects with your own two hands might have crossed your mind a time or two.
But before you dig into a DIY project, it’s important to consider some factors beyond your ability to do the job right. You’ll also want to consider the cost of all the tools and materials needed, as well as the amount of time you’ll need to devote to the project.
Here are four important questions to ask yourself before attacking a DIY project at home:
How complex is it?
You may know how to hang drywall and install a kitchen sink, but do you really want to do everything that’s required in a complete kitchen makeover?
The bigger and more complex a project is, the greater the chance that it might be too much work for one person. You may need to hire a few professionals to help, or at least a contractor to oversee the project and help you in the areas where you need it.
Do you have the skills for it?
Depending on the project, you may need one or two skills, or perhaps you’ll need to deal with plumbing, carpentry, electrical and metalwork to successfully complete the DIY project at hand.
Before starting any new project, assess your skills, and be sure to factor how easily you can learn new ones into the equation. If it’s a skill you’re unlikely to use again, you might be better off hiring a pro.
Could you damage your home?
Consider what the worst-case scenario is if your project goes awry and you mess something up. Not knowing what you’re doing is a surefire way to not only make the problem worse, but also more expensive than it would have been had you hired a professional from the beginning.
If you’re unsure how to work with electrical, for instance, you may want to avoid the chance of causing a fire or injuring yourself. In the same vein, taking down a load-bearing wall can risk the safety of your home if you don’t know what you’re doing.
What’s your time worth?
Spending weeks on a project that should have taken a weekend can get expensive not only from the standpoint of extra supplies, but also from the cost of your time.
Put a dollar value on your time, such as an hourly rate, and factor that into the project’s cost. In the end, will you still save money by doing it yourself? If you enjoy doing the project and have plenty of free time, it’s probably worth doing yourself. But if you could be making money elsewhere—or don’t have the time to do it well—consider hiring a pro.