Hire a Contractor vs Do it Yourself
June 1, 2010
At two different barbecues last weekend, the conversation turned to hiring a contractor vs doing big projects yourself. One of our friends had decided that rather than spend all Memorial weekend working on installing a fence he would hire someone to install the fence for him.
All of us had been through several major do it yourself projects because just a few years ago we preferred taking on big house projects ourselves. We pretty much came to the conclusion that although we did get a sense of pride and accomplishment when finishing a project like installing a patio, putting up a fence, or drywalling a basement; that for us hiring someone was the best way to go.
Why We Hire Contractors
At our second cook-out, some of the dads were talking about how we’d shifted more towards hiring than doing projects ourselves and our host asked why that was.
I think a lot of it has to do with a lack of time. When you have two little kids running around, it’s hard to get your daily household tasks taken care of, let alone a major project that requires planning and big blocks of uninterrupted time.
Quality & Speed
We also agreed that when you hire the right person, not only is the work done much faster, but they also do a better job than we would since they’re professionals and we’re just guys with “how to build a deck” books. Especially when it comes to things like wiring where the repercussions of error could be electrocution or a fire, we felt safer using an electrical contractor.
Not only that, many times contractors will offer a warranty period during which they’ll come back and fix any problems that pop up for a 6 months or a year.
Cost of Mistakes
The last main reason was that some of us had at least one project where we did a project ourselves to save money but then ended up having to hire someone to fix it. It would have been cheaper to just hire them in the first place.
Hiring a Good Contractor
Of course the important part of the paragraph above is “when you hire the right person”. You can run into a lot of headache and hassles if you don’t find a good company or contractor to do the work. One good way is to get a referral from a friend; our friend putting in the fence had a great home builder and asked his recommendation on who to hire for the fence.
Another option that we’ve had a great experience with over the last two years is a company named Angies List. They use the same recommendation type approach but instead of getting feedback from just one or two of your buddies, you hear from dozen or hundreds of people in your town that have worked with a contractor and what their experience was.
What about you? Do you usually hire a contractor or would you prefer to do it yourself?
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