US News lists several instances when you should forego a DIY home repair and hire a professional instead. Their basic thinking is that sometimes it can/will end up costing you more to try and do it yourself (because you make it worse or simply waste money to find out you can't fix it after all) than if you hired a professional. And in some cases (like messing with electricity) hiring a professional can be a safety precaution.
I'm not particularly handy when it comes to home repairs. Sure, I can do the simple, basic stuff, but much more than that, and I'm over my head. In addition, I always look at the time and frustration factor to help determine whether or not we should hire someone to do the job.
Here's an example:
- Task: power washing our deck
- My boss has a power-washer we could use if we wanted to
- But I'd have to haul it over to our place, set it up, do the job, then take it back
- We have a friend that does power-washes decks for $50
- It's worth $50 for me not to have to do the project (time and frustration factor), so I hire it out.
Here's another one:
- Task: Painting our bathroom
- I could buy the paint, then spend a whole weekend (or more) taking the wallpaper off the wall, patching any problems, and painting the room
- Or I could hire a friend who's a painter (and does a great job) to do it for $500
- He gets the (needed) business and I save 20, 30 or more hours of my life (not to mention the frustration of doing it myself)
- So for me, it's a good deal to pay someone else to do it.
And another one:
- Task: Landscaping
- Over the past two years we've done a lot in our yard (new plantings, several trees taken down, drainage put in our backyard woods, rock hauled in various places, etc.)
- Could I have done this myself? Some of it. But not all of it (especially the tree stuff.)
- Would I have gotten it done in two summers? No, it would probably have been a four-summer effort if I did it myself (just to find the time and motivation to do it.)
- Would it have been as good as what was done? No way. Not even close.
- Now it was pricey -- we spent $3k over two summers. But to me, this was well worth the cost in simply getting it done quickly and done well.
- In addition, I hired a friend with a landscaping company whose business is down a bit in this economy to do it, so it helped him out too.
And we've recently found a guy who does all sorts of home repairs at VERY reasonable prices (he just did a $500 repair job for us that another guy wanted $1,000 for), so it looks like it will be an even better trade-off on time versus money in the future. Trouble is, the new guy is very busy and hard to book. So we'll plan to contact him well in advance for any work we need done.
How about you? Do any of you consider the cost of time and the "frustration factor" when you decide whether or not to do home repairs yourself?