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Alright, you’re planning to renovate something in your home. If you’re reading this blog, you likely enjoy house projects and would rather spend extra time DIYing than to pay for home renovation projects. After all, if some weird couple on the internet can do it, why can’t you?
I understand your approach. In my (Noreen’s) family, we have a long history of the DIY mentality – so much so that I penned The Ultimate Home Renovation Survival Guide. I don’t believe my grandfather ever hired out anything in his life – not even digging out and installing his in-ground swimming pool. (Picture it: April 1, 1993, backhoe rented and roaring to go, white lines painted on the grass… and it snows. The O.G. face palm.). It runs in our immigrant blood to save money, “I can do it,” and “How hard could it be?”
…Does this sound familiar?
But what happens when you can’t, actually, do it yourself? Or, you just don’t have the time? Arising from these
screaming matches hearty debates in our house is the ol’ query, “What is your time worth?” And I’m here to tell you, sometimes your time is worth more than the money you’ll save for hiring out a job.
Today, I offer you the top five reasons to point-n-pay.
What is point-n-pay, you say? A phrase coined by my big brother, it’s when you, “I’m-not-sure-er-maybe-it’s-broken-can-you-maybe-akdljnanrjknfa;jt-idunno-fix-it? How much?” …point at the thing you want fixed, and you pay someone to do it for you. It might feel like a white flag of surrender to the determined DIYer, but sometimes, folks, it’s Just. Plain. Worth it.
Things I believe it’s worth it to point and pay on: roofs, siding, masonry, electric, and plumbing.
Here are my best five reasons why.
Table of Contents
- 1 You have never done this before (and it might be a disaster)
- 2 If you try and fail, the clean-up/correction will cost you more than if you’d just paid in the first place.
- 3 It would be dangerous to try and do this yourself.
- 4 You’ve got other things to do, on which your time is better spent.
- 5 It will get done faster.
You have never done this before (and it might be a disaster)
Friends. I fully support teaching oneself and learning from others about home maintenance and repairs, and even construction. It’s how we grow in knowledge and skill.
But certain house projects have a steeper learning curve than others. Sure, sheetrock is daunting at first, and dirty, and heavy, but it’s accessible, teachable, and learnable. Same thing with painting, taping, caulk, wallpaper, etc. However, when we start talking re-wiring an entire electrical panel or destroying + re-laying an entire front stair’s worth of bricks, it’s time for a conversation.
For example, “My first masonry project” is probably a bad idea if it involves the front stair to your home. Have you ever used a jackhammer for 8 hours? Do you know how to calculate cubic footage of concrete? If the knee-jerk answer to these questions is no, then you likely want no business in destroying the entrance to your home or ordering a truck with concrete to pour. So, just point and pay for this home renovation project.
If you try and fail, the clean-up/correction will cost you more than if you’d just paid in the first place.
Yep. Let’s stick with the example of masonry. If you decide to try, and your concrete order turns out to be a disaster, how will you fix it? Or say you make it all the way to the top of the stair, having laid out all the bricks, only to realize you miscalculated the height of step #2 out of 7? You will probably have to call a mason (unless you, delusional soul, decide to try again). The mason will end up charging you the same as what he would have in the first place, since he’ll have to jackhammer potentially everything you spent so much time and money doing on your first attempt.
So, you’ll end up paying twice – once for your attempt, and again for the mason to do it right anyway.
It would be dangerous to try and do this yourself.
Ok, say you actually built your front stair. You think you did a good job. It’s standing, for now. But it’s not perfectly leveled for water to run off. Or it cracks in the wintertime. And then cracks some more, and then it’s unsafe to walk up or down. Now you’ve got a bad masonry job. See #2.
This also applies to things like electricity. Yes, wiring a house can involve some simple-looking work. But if you don’t do things correctly, you could be setting yourself up for an electrical fire, like the previous owners of our house. (Our neighbors told us, thankfully after we’d fixed it. How scary!!).
Or take a roof. Sure, scrape off the old roof, attach the new roof. Easy. What could go wrong? I’ll tell you. You don’t know how to stand on a roof, that’s what. And depending on the height of your house, falling off it could have serious consequences. If today isn’t the day you’d like to meet your maker… maybe chill out and watch the action instead?
Final example – siding. Yes, vinyl siding itself is inexpensive to purchase, and seemingly simple to install. But if you have no experience building a scaffold, please, for your own safety, re-think doing this yourself if your house is taller than 8 feet.
These are just a few examples of worthwhile instances to point and pay for home renovation projects.
You’ve got other things to do, on which your time is better spent.
This point is very similar to a common conversation surrounding coupon clipping. If you make $30/hour at your job (a fine wage), but spend an hour clipping coupons or driving around for the best sales to save yourself $5…. You’re actually in the hole by $25. Same as waiting in line for a free product. It’s silly! People willingly spend 2 hours on free burrito day waiting in line for a $7 item while they could have been earning $15/hour (x 2 hours in line = $30) and buying their own damn burrito. (Side note – if you do decide to obtain free burritos despite this advice, please pick up one for me, chicken, no onions, extra guac).
Same concepts apply here for big house projects. Let’s do the math, with the example of re-plumbing your bathroom. If you usually make $30/hour and spend 20 hours each weekend for three weekends attempting this noble feat, you’ve spent $1800 of your own time on this project (that may or may not, in the end, be plumbed correctly). You probably also bought materials and spent even more time going back and forth to the home improvement store for all the pieces you forgot (ask me how I know.). Let’s say you’ve spent $300 on materials. We’re now at over $2k. Could you hire a plumber for that? Most likely in that ballpark, even here in Jersey. AND, in the meantime, you’ll gain yourself 60 hours of your own time back. Which leads me to….
It will get done faster.
I promise. Nine times out of ten, this is true.
If you hire a professional who does this every day, they will work faster than you + the internet together. Professionals have all the tools, doo-dads, gadgets, random screwdrivers, odd drill bits, saws, and ladders that they need. They also have 1 – 45 more years of experience looking at houses and the odd projects that accompany them. They work faster, their hands instinctively know the path of least resistance, and more often than not, they can spot the problem faster than you can google it.
An example: if hubby and I tried to install a simple outlet, we’d spend at least half a day. Don’t laugh. Here’s how. We’d start at 8am, go to the store for the materials (1 hour), need a snack after (20 minutes), argue a little bit about how to start (15 minutes), execute a plan (1 hour), realize we forgot something and go back to the store (30 minutes), stop for lunch (1 hour), drag ourselves back to the project and hopefully finish (1 hour). In this time (and that’s two salaries to calculate for point #2 above), we could have just hired one of our favorite contractors, enjoyed a peaceful Saturday morning cup o’ joe, and paid ‘em.
So, there you have it. Five reasons to “point-n-pay” for home renovation projects. I realize an army of DIYers may come at me with power tools and instruction manuals crying “BUT I SAVED MONEY!!!” and yes, maybe you did. But I stand by my reasoning here.
What about you? Have you ever raised the DIY white flag and simply hired out a project? Was it worth it?