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Do It Yourself Or Get Professional Help?

by Mike

You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away, and know when to run.

-Kenny Rogers, The Gambler

Those famous lines were from the hit song about a game of poker.  But they can apply to more than just card games.  Knowing what you can handle and what you can’t is a valuable trait that can keep you from biting off more than you can chew and save you a hell of a lot of money in the process.

Take home improvement for example.  In the 6 years we’ve owned our home, I’ve learned to do a lot of jobs myself and that has saved me a lot of money.  Most of my projects have come out great, and a few of them…well let’s not talk about those.

But I also know my limits.  Just the other day, I added some insulation to a corner in our basement where cold air was rushing in (I’ll post more about it after I download the pictures I took).  But when our roof was leaking and needed to be replaced I hired a professional.  There’s no way in hell you’d find me scaling the roof and nailing down shingles.

I would never hire anyone to paint for me because I can easily handle painting myself.  But when we wanted to add a half bath to the basement last summer I knew it was time to call in a pro.

Plumbing is a bit scary and a lot can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.  I’m fine snaking a line or swapping out a new trap under the sink, but I steer clear from bigger jobs like boiler repair or anything that involves cutting or welding pipes.

The same goes with electrical work.  I’ve run new phone lines and swapped out switches, receptacles, and light fixtures but that’s about as far as I’ll go.  The thought of electricity coursing through my body just isn’t that appealing.

So the moral of the story is this…if you’re handy and willing to tackle some DIY projects you can save yourself a lot of money.  But you also need to know your limits.  Because if you try something yourself and then have to hire a pro to fix whatever you screwed up, it could end up costing you a lot more in the end.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Everyday Tips

Nine times out of ten, we call a professional. We know our limits very well. If it is plumbing or electrical, it is a no brainer. We can paint and do yard work though!
Everyday Tips´s last blog post ..Can A Health Journal Help Me Can A Health Journal Help You

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Mike

Yard work can give you a good workout too. Though I have no green-thumb at all and my lawn proves it.

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krantcents

I am very unhandy! I always call a professional. Over the years I have collected some of the best inexpensive repair people, so it does not cost a lot.
krantcents´s last blog post ..Budgeting Is a Waste of Time

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Mike

No worries, handy skills can be learned. I picked up a lot of tips from my buddy who is handy. I try to be a sponge and pick up as much knowledge as i can.

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MyMoneyMess

Good post. For me though, the decision about whether or not to call someone to handle a job for me is not based off of “can I do this” but more “do I want to do this.” Though I’ve painted many a room, I may not want to paint the next one myself. Then again, I might.

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Mike

Good point, you might have other things to do with your time. Or just not be in the mood to breaking your shoulder painting!

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Evan

Since buying our home 3 years ago I have learned that I am a bit (JUST a bit) more handy than I originally believed. However, I think staying away electrical and plumbing is a good call!

For whatever reason shelving gets me trough too lol
Evan´s last blog post ..Cable and Satellite Companies You Can Do Better

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Mike

Haven’t tried shelving yet, though I can see that being tricky. My worst project turnout was trying to repair a cement step in the backyard. The quick-dry stuff I used dried a lot faster than realized and though it is solid, it’s not very pretty.

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Financial Samurai

If it takes more than 30 minutes, I hire someone to help for sure!
Financial Samurai´s last blog post ..Are Women Naturally More Trustworthy Than Men

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Mike

That’s a good rule of thumb. You also have to consider the value of your time.

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Amanda L Grossman

Hi Mike!

We are 1.5 year first-time homebuyers, and are definitely learning to do some things ourselves, such as tiling a sink vanity for our laundry room, replacing the garbage disposal, painting, and replacing a few bricks where a hole used to be.

But we have definitely hired out for others, like putting a chimney cap on our chimney that sits on top of a really steep roof. We will also be hiring out to rebuild the subfloor in our upstairs bathroom (it sunk about an inch for some reason).
Amanda L Grossman´s last blog post ..Frugal Confessions – Frugal Living

Reply

Mike

I actually need a chimney cap too! I don’t know why it’s missing to begin with. And the upper roof is way too steep and high for me to climb.

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