Save Money By Doing It Your Self

by Chris on March 5, 2013

To Do It Yourself Or Not To Do It Yourself?

Are you a do-it-yourself type? Do you aspire to be? With the increased specialization of labor in today’s workforce, the character of the jack-of-all-trades handyman is disappearing. You may want to save money on a job by doing it yourself, but is it always cheaper? Even if it costs less, will the savings be worth the time you spent on it? Several factors can help determine whether you should tackle the challenge or stick to what you know and leave the rest to the pros.

Do you have the skills?

Do you know what the project requires, or could you learn by doing a little research? Are you prepared for unexpected complications with the project? There are plenty of resources out there for those who are willing to learn, but some skills require experience, practice and finesse that you won’t learn in a week. Also consider if you would be proud of the job you did yourself, or if you would rather trust

Do you have the tools?

Once you have the skills, you need the equipment for the job. If you have the equipment or can borrow it from a friend or neighbor, then you can go ahead with confidence. However, if you have to buy all new power tools for the job and you only use them once, the project will probably cost you a lot more overall than if you had hired a professional.

Do you have the time?

Will you be able to complete the project just working nights and weekends or taking a few vacation days off work to finish it? If you have great enthusiasm starting a project and your motivation wanes as time goes on, a do-it-yourself job may turn into a half-finished nuisance you’d rather be rid of. Before starting, estimate a best case, worst case and most likely case for how long the project will take. If it seems likely to take more time than you can reasonably commit, outsourcing is best.

Is there danger involved?

There are some situations in which the potential danger far outweighs the potential benefits of doing the job yourself. Some work that you should never do yourself unless you are a professional in the field: electrical repairs, plumbing, asbestos removal, gas appliance repair and roofing. Safety always comes first, and an expert will do the job correctly without risking injury or damage to your home.

Is it worth the time?

How do you value your time? Is the task something you would enjoy doing yourself, or are there other ways you would rather spend your time and resources? Consider the time you would spend as hiring yourself. Put a monetary value on your time, a cost per hour for your time. Compare the cost estimate from a professional to the hours required for you to do it yourself. Considering the numbers along with less tangible factors will help you feel confident in your decision.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

kim June 16, 2013 at 7:02 am

Great article! As a strong believer in do-it-yourself, I will spend hours researching how-to sites if something needs to be done at home. Budget restriction is a good motivator to learn how to do something yourself without paying a contractor to do it for you. I’ve painted rooms in my house, installed hardwood and tile, installed a toilet, changed locks on doors and interlocked our front yard. Researching different do-it-yourself sites can give you most of information you need to get started. I really like the ones with video instructions so you can get a sense of what you are supposed to do.

I leave electrical to the professionals, as I have a fear of being electrocuted, but everything else I will give a try. If I can’t do a job I will call in someone who can.

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openmind57 June 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Great points for everyone to ask before attempting a project, of any type or size. I think knowing your strengths and weaknesses will determine your success, also the quality of the end results.

Being a renter, anything to be done outsie, I call the landlord. Gardening is the only outside projects that I tackle. I am however a big crafter and re/upcycler. So, inside the home I will attempt to DIY a lot more. The only DIY projects inside that I won’t even think about attempting is electrical and plumbing work. I am too afraid of being shocked or flooding my home!
Good read! -Om57

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Grep June 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I’ll have to agree with openmind57– you really need to know your limitations when attempting to do diy projects around the house. An inexpensive redo, can easily become a large time and money sinkhole if you’re not careful. Another consideration is that handymen and contractors are able to get better discounts on supplies from suppliers. This will cut into your “savings”.

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peanut July 9, 2013 at 8:38 am

This is a very good article. I used to think I was a do-it-yourself person, till I read this article. All that I’ve ever had, based on your list, are tools and time. I’m the type who will actually go out and buy any tools I might be missing just to get the job done myself. It’s not a wonder that I always end up frustrated. After reading this article, I now see that I am not yet a lost cause, but I definitely need to consider the skill factor and the danger factor before taking on a new project. Not to forget that reading more DIY literature will do me more good than harm in helping me organize my projects in a systematic manner.

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saragk July 16, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I love doing things myself, but I also know my limits. For example, I rent an apartment, so I’m definitely not going to be doing any major home repairs. But I do do lots of kitchen DIY that I think save me money. I make my own yogurt fairly regularly, and it’s about a quarter of the cost. And I’m in the process of building self-watering window boxes where I’ll be able to grow herbs and maybe some lettuce all winter long.

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