Hey there!

So, you’re thinking about remodeling your home? Good for you! Now comes the big question: should you hire a general contractor or tackle the job yourself? Well, the answer is neither straightforward nor that simple.

Many of my design clients are DIYers. Often, they want to know if I think they can accomplish the project on their own, or if should they consider bringing in the experts.

The fact is, they have worked very hard to save their money, and want to make sure it is spent in the best way possible to achieve their vision.

Here are five questions I always ask to help them decide whether to hire a general contractor, subcontractor or tackle the job themselves:

  1. How complex is the project? Is this a minor renovation such as painting a room, or flooring replacement or is it a more extensive project like a full kitchen or bath remodel?
  2. Do you have the necessary skills and experience to complete the project? Do you love having a paintbrush in your hand? Have you laid hardwood floors before and been happy with the results? Are you comfortable using the tools or equipment required to complete the project?
  3. Do you have the time to devote to the project? Do you know how much time this project will require and have set aside the weekends or days to complete the project? The reality is time=money. Whether it is your time or your money. Sometimes I would much rather hire a professional in order to spend my time with family or pursue other things I enjoy.
  4. Do you have the necessary tools and equipment to complete the project? I love tools, and I am always looking for an excuse to purchase more. And here is the thing, I buy tools that I will use over and over again because tools are an investment. Sometimes it cost more for the tools, than for the materials/labor for certain projects. If you do not have the tools and equipment, you need to figure out what they will cost to rent or purchase in order to tackle your project.
  5. Are you willing to take on the risks and responsibilities associated with managing a construction project? Here are the DIY facts and statistics:

DIYers attempt at least 8 diy projects over time and 63% regret doing at least one.  33 percent had to call in a professional to redo the work

Most projects took more time than expected and were harder than expected, more costly, damaged the home, and caused injury to diyer

Some were twice as expensive, considering 56 percent were trying to save money.

55 percent of DIYers said the finished project didn’t look good, 24 percent say did not function well, and 21 percent said did not hold up over time.

Know your limitations and whether or not you are willing to risk disappointment or added financial costs.

Trust me, you don’t want to be like those homeowners on those home improvement shows who discover they need a $10K beam after they’ve already demolished the entire room! Although those shows may not be entirely real, they do have a point: you don’t know what you don’t know. So, take my advice and hire a general contractor for any complex project with many moving parts and pieces.

Bonus: When you do hire a general contractor, make sure they’re licensed and insured. That way, you know they’ll be professional and up to code. Plus, they may be able to offer you suggestions you may not have thought of, like using specific materials or designs that could enhance your project.

Answering these questions honestly can help you make an informed decision about whether to hire a general contractor or tackle the project yourself.

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