Contractor vs. DIY: 4 Questions to Help You Decide When to Hire Help

My husband and I have remodeled nine homes over 30 years and experienced many frustrating moments. Our first major remodeling project was opening a wall between our kitchen and dining room, finding knob and tube wiring and hiring a contractor. We did not have the knowledge to do electrical work so our first contractor was hired. This situation taught us it’s sometimes best to hire a contractor.

Deciding to hire a contractor

The infrastructure of a home includes the wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling, structural framework, and concrete work. A great deal of personal knowledge or a licensed contractor is necessary to remodel these portions of a home.

Questions to ask

Ask the following questions to help you decide whether a contractor is right for a remodeling project.

1. Do you have the knowledge base to do complete the remodeling project?

Evaluate your knowledge base to determine whether you feel comfortable with attempting the project. Are you willing to take the time to learn the process through reading and/or attending classes to understand the process. If not, hire a contractor.

2. Do you have time to complete the project?

Time constraints will contribute to hiring a contractor. Contractors work by the hour or by the job. Their main priority is finishing the project in a timely manner. Hire a contractor if the project must be done within a specific time constraint if you are unable to allot the appropriate time.

3. What is the quote for the project?

Ask a contractor(s) for a quote to complete the project. Evaluate the quote(s) for time and cost. Do both areas fit into your time constraints and budget? Remember, quotes are an educated guess. When hired, always check with the contractor periodically to see how the quote is holding up. It is better to know upfront if the project is going to take longer or cost more/

4. Do you have references of satisfied clients?

Obtain a list of satisfied clients from any contractor. Call the satisfied clients and ask to see some of the contractor’s finished work. A visual inspection of a completed remodeling project will help you determine whether the contractor is right for you.

Based on my years of experience, any essential element of a remodeling project that includes the removal, addition, or moving of a home’s infrastructure should be completed by a contractor. Contractors specializing in each area provide a homeowner with the reassurance that the project is completed. Weigh your knowledge base to determine whether hiring a contractor is right for your remodeling project.

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