Is It Worth It? Should You Hire a Contractor Or Do It Yourself? A Guide From Kenney Bros. Construction

January 6, 2020

Home improvement jobs, whether for repair or renovation, have enjoyed a recent uptick in recent years, mostly due to strong millennial interest in 'do it yourself' projects.

For the most part, those undertaking these efforts do so because they have the necessary skills and wish to save money by not hiring a contractor.

What many do not realize is that, depending on the job and the DIY-er, hiring a contractor may be the better choice in terms of convenience, time, quality, and even, in many cases, money. 

At Kenney Bros. Construction, we respect those who have the skills to do it themselves, but do not want to see anyone risk their home, or even their safety, unnecessarily. To help those on the fence to make a decision, we have listed several questions to consider.

What Is Your Skill Level?

First and foremost, do an honest assessment of your skill level. Even better, ask someone who has witnessed your work. Some homeowners can add entire additions on their own; others should not change their own light bulbs. Most lie somewhere in between.

Figure out your own capabilities before going any further.

What Is Your Budget?

Again, be realistic. Avoid the “best case scenario.” Assess exactly what you are capable of paying, then estimate high on materials, tools, and other needs for the job. 

Make sure that the budget includes a healthy percentage for incidentals or unplanned needs.

Is the Job Safe For You to Perform?

This should be the most important consideration. Jobs involving electricity, or other risk factors require special experience and education to perform safely, let alone competently. We strongly recommend that you do not undertake major electrical work without proper experience or guidance.

Also, some jobs may be overwhelming to people with certain conditions or even phobias. Those with vertigo or fear of heights, for instance, should not climb ladders.

Does the Job Require a Permit?

One way to gauge the difficulty of a job is simply to ask this question. Many local governments require permits, particularly if the tasks involved may be too complex or dangerous. 

Shoddy work done by inexperienced individuals with no supervision can lead to disaster or even tragedy. If your job requires a permit, it is fair to assume that it will require special skills to complete.

Remember that officials can halt work on a permitted job at any time. If you lack the skills, you could exert tremendous time and money only to get shut down.

How Long Will It Take You to Complete?

Even if you do have the skills, consider the other costs, including non-financial costs. If the job takes a great deal of time, imagine what you could be doing in that time, whether it be earning money, leisure time alone, or spending time with family. 

Ask yourself if the time spent on the project is worth more than the money spent to hire a contractor for the same work.

Do You Have a Number of Uncompleted Projects Already?

We all know that one person. He or she loves to plan a project, buy materials, and get started. Unfortunately, they inevitably get distracted, lose focus, and, eventually, lose motivation to finish. 

If your home has a number of unfinished improvement or renovation projects, consider focusing on what you can do quickly, then hire a contractor to tackle the tougher jobs. 

Your personal history and track record, even for those with ample skills and other resources, says more about your ability to finish a project than anything else.