Home Repair: Do It Yourself or Hire a Contractor?

A young lady that I know was sharing with me yesterday her disappointment that her husband was not handy around the house. She mused that they could save a lot of money if her husband could do the job as opposed to having the work done by someone else.

For years I have felt like this young lady. As I reflected on how she felt, I began to think of the people in my life and their home improvement projects. I suddenly began to realize why Tim, the tool man, Taylor was such a popular character on the American show "Home Improvement." As I have watched this show over the years, my mind said that this character was really more of a disaster than anyone in the real world. Then I began to think about my dad.

Dad was a very fine carpenter and always did an excellent job. He remodeled my parents' kitchen when he was ill and did things that he would never have done normally. After the remodel, my mother kept complaining that every time she used the stove she seemed to get an electrical shock. This happened off and on until my husband moved the stove one day for cleaning. We could not believe our eyes. There was no outlet for the stove plug. The cord for the stove disappeared through a hole drilled in the kitchen floor. We went down to the basement to investigate. Dad had cut the plug off the end of the stove cord, wired it into an old extension cord, and plugged the extension cord into the side of a light socket in the basement ceiling. We were horrified that dad would do such a thing. He was always so precise at what he did. This clearly did not come up to code. We had an outlet run properly from the fuse box to the kitchen and then put a proper cord on the stove.

The reason for the above story, although extreme, is to help you consider how important it is to do a job properly in your home. This story could have ended in disaster if someone had been electrocuted or a fire had erupted from such a foolish repair.

If you are proficient at a repair and have done it many times (maybe you do plumbing and you need to fix a pipe), then doing the repair yourself will be well worth it. On the other hand if you are unsure whether you should try to repair something yourself or hire a contractor, you may want to consider the following.

  1. Ask yourself if you know how to do the repair so that it is up to code and can pass an inspection.
  2. Ask yourself if you are capable of doing the job both physically and mentally even if you have performed the repair in the past. If you have become weaker or cannot remember things, a contractor can be a great asset. Know your limitations.
  3. Ask yourself if you can do the job in a reasonable time span or if it will take you a long time as you try to figure out each step. Consider that a repair that takes months may cost you more in inconvenience than what you may initially save.
  4. Ask yourself how much it would be for a professional to do the job and then consider how much extra an error would cost you if you did it yourself. Strongly consider hiring a contractor and asking if you can watch while they do the repair so that you can get an idea of whether you can do the repair in the future.

If you are unsure of any of the above four points, you may want to hire a contractor. Remember that cost should not be the only determining factor that you should consider when making a decision to do a repair yourself or hire a contractor.

No comments:

Post a Comment