DIY or Contractor?

Get in the Contractors, or do the DIY?

by: Sarah Miller

When remodeling your home, whether you are installing new circuits, redoing your living room, or just fixing that stubborn sink, homeowners are always caught in a quandary as to whether or not to call in a hired hand or do DIY.

Calling in an expert is, for most people, the most prudent choice. A good many number of people have learned the hard way that fixing that leaky faucet isn't as easy as it looks. However, these experts can come with quite a price tag and in most cases, enough to make the homeowner think twice about doing the installation or repairs themselves.

If you are one of the millions of homeowners that are considering doing the job yourself, or one of the other million seriously considering hiring a contractor, here are some tips to help you make that decision: a decision that could either cause that busted circuit to blow up, or your wallet to hemorrhage.

Does The Repair or Installation Need a Permit?

This is the first question you must ask yourself, whether or not the work to be done needs a local building permit. Simple repairs will not need such permits, but major installations may require that you apply for one. Installations that may require a permit include electrical wiring, plumbing, and other major physical additions to your home.

Most permits will require that you hire a contractor to do the job stated. So in that case, you should have one on hand.

Can I Actually Do the DIY?

You will need to honestly ask yourself whether or not you can do the installation or repair yourself. This is probably the trickiest question to ask yourself, and is probably where most homeowners fall in over their heads. If you have had experience doing jobs similar to this, or if you have been able to observe others at work with such a project, or if you aren't confident enough to do the repair or installation yourself, then it is probably worth hiring a contractor.

Will This DIY work Fall Within My Budget?

You have to be financially realistic with an installation or repair project. Some people don't realize that they actually can save more when they hire a contractor then doing it themselves. This happens when the time spent working on an installation costs you more than it would if you hired a contractor. This is especially true in the case of very busy people who actually spend money just to have annoyances fixed so that they can focus on their work.

Large projects may cost you more than it would a contractor - who will probably have better access to higher quality materials. However, if you are intimately familiar with the job to be done, you might have an advantage over these contractors and will be able to customize the materials and the jobs to your liking. Then again, practically speaking, larger projects are better off in the hands of contractors.

But if your project is small, like broken faucets and doorknobs, you will probably save a ton if you do it yourself. But if you worry in the very least that you could break the broken part further, then call your contractor.

Risks of DIY

Doing it yourself is risky; if you do get the hang of it, it's usually at the cost of a few more irreparable jams, faucets, and etc. due to having practiced on them - you will save a lot more in the long run. You will also be the envy of your neighbors' wives and husbands, "Look at them, they do their own faucets!"

Time is gold, so you should also consider how much time such DIY repairs or installations will cost you. If you have time to burn, and would like to improve your skills at building and repairing, then by all means take a shot at it.

In the end, you may want to do some of the repairs yourself, but you will also want to keep the number of a trusted contractor in hand for jobs you don't want to touch. The truth be told, if you have a good-relationship with a contractor you are comfortable dealing with, you probably won't need to consider the DIY alternative : unless you just want to try to be Builder Bob for a day.

About The Author

The above article was written by Sarah Miller on behalf of, a buzzing online homeowner and contractor community which allows homeowners to find the right contractor for their home improvement projects! Also check out the QuoteCity Blog for more related home improvement articles and resources at