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I’m sure you know the Do It Yourself, or DIY term, and what it entails. And you probably do a lot of projects yourself if you’re reading this post. Have you ever heard the WTC term? I didn’t until recently when I heard it mentioned on a podcast. I thought it was an interesting way to describe people who would prefer to just "Write the Check" (WTC) and have a professional contractor do the work for them. It really got me to thinking – what kinds of projects should you even consider doing yourself versus hiring a contractor? Even if you’re the handiest, most willing person on the planet, what constitutes a project beyond your skills?
With that said, most of us aren’t the handiest person in the world. This article is for you.
This is the first question. If you’re like me, you regularly underestimate the amount of time anything takes to complete. I’m chronically late because I always think I can get ready to go more quickly than I actually can. With that said, it’s important to know whether you can truly make the time to complete the project without having it drag on forever. For a DIY home improvement project, can you handle the mess if it’s inside your house and it takes weeks (or longer) to complete the project? Typically, professionals can complete projects more quickly as they are focusing on completing your job. You, on the other hand, may have work or family commitments that eat into your available time.
Do you love to watch a how-to video on YouTube and pin every how-to post on Pinterest? If so, then you have the DIY aptitude. Please don’t be the person that reads the instructions after the piece of furniture has been incorrectly assembled. Or worse, don’t be the person that uses the chemical, then reads the directions after it didn’t work correctly! If you don’t like to be coached ahead of time, then please write the check!
YouTube and many manufacturer’s websites have excellent how to videos for so many remodeling projects and other home improvement work. If you can take the time to learn how to complete your project, you can potentially save a lot of money on the project. Be thoughtful about what you can truly learn and accomplish. Some projects are best suited for a general contractor, licensed electrician, or plumber. For example, you may be able to change a simple light fixture, but rewiring a cathedral ceiling chandelier may be too difficult (or dangerous).
You know that the upfront savings of doing a project yourself can quickly be zapped by the tools that you had to buy to complete the project. How many times have you justified the need for that fancy tool thinking you’ll use it again in the future, while it just takes up precious space in your garage or shed? So, really think about the tool – the cost and whether you can use it again. If it’s really expensive, then the chances are high that renting it is an option. However, if you want to buy the tool, then really think about the quality of the tool and how much use it will get. Most of the time, you get what you pay for, so don’t buy the cheapest tool unless it’s intended to be used for a job or two.
For large and small equipment rentals, companies like The Home Depot, can offer the use of a pressure washer, stump grinder, saws, paint sprayers, air compressors and so much more.
Some projects require lots of heavy lifting, which can lead to back injuries. Wear a back brace if you want to take on that patio paver installation and plan to visit your chiropractor potentially. Some projects can be dangerous. Don’t be a statistic. Prepare yourself with the proper equipment or hire someone that specializes in that type of work.
Do you have enough family or friends to help you with projects that are more than one-person jobs? If you’re climbing a high ladder, you need to have a spotter. If you’re installing a wood beam, you need at least one other person to help hold the heavy wood. If not, consider hiring a handyman to help you. Sometimes two brains are better than one on projects, along with that extra set of hands.
If you have always been a DIYer, but your body can’t take the pressure any longer, you may have to accept that you need to be a WTC person now on some projects.
Do you like the personal satisfaction of completing the job yourself? If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people in a home improvement Facebook group that loves to share your “fixer-upper” projects, then I know you love DIY projects! The joy of completing the projects is worth the sweat equity (and back pain).
YouTube, HGTV, the DIY Network, and so many amazing websites have given us all so much more knowledge than in generations past. You can feel more confident changing your flooring after watching a how-to video. The key is whether you enjoy completing these types of home improvement projects! If you remember Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor from the Home Improvement sitcom in the ‘90s, enjoying the projects are half the battle!
If you want a little fun in your day, enjoy this compilation video of some hilarious Tim Taylor silliness.
The key is being honest with yourself – your interest, skills, and abilities – when thinking about whether you should tackle a DIY project, or if that home improvement project is best left to a professional contractor. Pin all the project ideas you love, then take a hard look at whether you really want to do it yourself or write the check!
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