My home is constantly “under construction.” Like most people, there is always something to update, change, paint, fix or repair. After reviewing some of my past projects I have come to the realization there are some things better left to the professionals.
My new checklist includes the following basic questions;
1. Can I do it?
Can I realistically pull this project off? Get honest with yourself. Is this safe? After taking everything apart, can you honestly put it back together with some semblance of order? Can I learn the new skills necessary? Electrical projects are beyond my capabilities. I also cannot fix a car, but I can drywall and am willing to learn how to lay tile.
2. How long will it take me?
What kind of commitment is really involved in this project? When we tore the walls out of the laundry room, it did not occure to me that I would have to look at the torn up room for the next 2 months, oh who am I kidding, it was a full 6 months until completion. Aesthetics isn’t the worst. In my last home while redoing the kitchen, I had to wash dishes in the basement…through Thanksgiving and Christmas.
A good rule of thumb is to inquire how much time a contractor will take to complete the project, and triple it.
3. Can I afford it?
Calculate the expense. This includes your time as well. Especially if you are a freelancer like me, the time I take away from work equals money. If this is the first time you have attempted to do a particular project take into account the learning curve. Meaning, you will probably need to purchase extra supplies along the way.
4. Will it be fun?
Fun may be a stretch, but ask yourself if the project will at the very least be enjoyable. I love painting, so hiring someone to come in and paint would seriously make me cranky. On the other hand, projects that involve wiring, plumbing or other activity that requires following technical schematics make me crazy. Decide ahead of time if you will be something you can follow through until the end without pulling your hair out or kicking the dog.
If after asking yourself all those questions and you come to the conclusion it is not worth the headache, you have to find someone.
Who to Call?
Hiring out doesn’t have to mean flipping through the yellow pages. Consider trading services with a friend or acquaintance. Ask for help. My husband is a pro at this. He’ll fix cars, hang lights, do light woodworking projects in exchange for help with wiring and cutting tile. It helps that he is good at several things and has a great big ol giving heart, but look around. When I need a something sewn quickly, I ask my mom. Sure, I could do it myself, but it take me three times as long. She is a fast and precise seamstress. (I am creative and slow crafter who sometimes uses a sewing machine)
Now, if after asking yourself all those questions, you come to the conclusion that you are going to tackle the project…..you might want to ask one more question,
Can my family handle it right now? Is the timing right?
There have been countless projects started without looking at the calendar. I wouldn’t want you to have to wash dishes in the basement over the holidays. I don’t wish that on anyone!