If you’re planning a major home improvement project, you may be tempted to do it yourself, thinking you can save time and money. That might be true for small jobs, but if you’re remodeling an entire room or doing something major like installing a roof, you’ll be better off hiring a contractor for a number of reasons.
A contractor can get the job finished faster than you can, leading to less disruption and inconvenience for your family. DIYers usually work on the project after they get home from work or on weekends, meaning a simple floor installation, for example, can last for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, everyone has to put up with tools, dust, noise, and altered traffic patterns as the project drags on. For a contractor, your project is his job; he can accomplish that same floor installation in less than a day, without having to deal with distractions or delays. For a larger project, such as a kitchen remodel, that time savings becomes even more valuable.
Hiring a contract can be less expensive than you might think. With a DIY project, you might find yourself making extra trips to the store to buy extra wood, more nails, or other materials, simply because weren’t sure how much to get in the first place. An experienced contractor will purchase the right amount of material needed and will often have access to discounts or wholesale prices. There will also be less waste because the contractor is not likely to make serious mistakes in measuring or cutting or buying the wrong things.
On a large, complex project, such as finishing a basement, you will likely need to hire companies with a variety of expertise, such as plumbers, electricians, drywallers, and so on. If you do it yourself, you will spend hours scrolling through descriptions of local businesses and reading recommendations, trying to find the best ones. A contractor already has an established network of subcontractors they regularly work with and trust to do a good job. They can also often negotiate cheaper rates than you would be able to do by yourself. Moreover, since the companies work together frequently, they can coordinate their schedules, saving additional time on project completion.
Contractors bring expertise to a job that the average homeowner doesn’t have. While you may be able to replace a faucet, if there’s major plumbing to do, you don’t want to attempt the job without knowing exactly what you’re doing. An unexpected problem could lead to a disastrous mess. And, some jobs can be dangerous and even deadly if you aren’t trained properly in technique and safety.
An experienced contractor has the knowledge to do the job correctly and anticipate any problems that might occur in the process. Furthermore, they can accurately assess the best way to do something, which can save you money in the long run. For example, a contractor can determine if you should replace your paving or if you can patch the cracks.
Most homeowners have a well-stocked toolbox for everyday repairs, but many home improvement projects will need more than a hammer and a drill. While you could go out and buy or rent special tools, that will increase the total cost of your project, and who knows if you will ever use them again. Besides, using power tools you are unfamiliar with can pose risks to your personal safety. Contractors, on the other hand, will have access to every tool they need, plus the correct sizes and gauges. Many newer tools are now computerized and are more precise and energy-efficient. For example, there are high-tech drivers and hammer drills with precision torque control.
You probably know that most municipalities will require a building permit for most construction jobs, but you might be surprised to learn about the wide range of ordinances, rules, building codes, and stipulations that cover what you want to do. In fact, in some places, only licensed and qualified contractors can obtain the kinds of permits you will need.
What’s more, specialty contractors such as plumbers and electricians know the required building codes that might apply to the work they’re doing. Not only will this make your home safer, but it will ensure your home will pass any inspections once the construction is finished.
You’ve seen the videos: the homeowner installs a new faucet, and it looks great. Then they turn on the water, and a virtual geyser of water spews from the sink. Unfortunately, this scenario happens all too often. Even if there’s not a disaster, many DIYers end up unhappy because their project didn’t turn out exactly as they envisioned. Contractors, on the other hand, will deliver quality work, and if they don’t, you can hold them accountable. Before you hire someone, check their recommendations and reviews, and ask to see a portfolio of the work they’ve done. Get the job specifications in writing, and discuss what the contractor will do if something goes wrong, doesn’t work, or falls short of your expectations. Reputable contractors will be happy to discuss these issues with you.
You may think your homeowners insurance will cover mishaps that will occur, whether it’s accidentally bashing a hole in the ceiling or injuring yourself by falling from a ladder. Maybe, but why risk it? A responsible contractor will carry general liability and workers compensation insurance for any accidents that happen to your home or any injuries they may sustain on the job. At the time you hire someone, ask for proof of insurance and discuss what it covers. This will give you peace of mind in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.
As you consider remodeling your home or doing a major improvement project, ask yourself whether the risks are worth it. Hiring a contractor will assure you of quality work done on time, and you might even save money.
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