If you’re a DIYer, good for you! DIY lets you be creative. It challenges you to endure a little pain to experience the pride of making your home beautiful on your own. The only thing better than admiring your new handmade pergola is also knowing all the cashola you saved in the process. However, unless you’re a professional, you should have enough humility to realize your limitations. Knowing when to “throw in the trowel” can be tricky, so in this blog I’ll share key factors to consider to help you determine when to go with a pro.


1. Tools: Do you have the proper tools to do the job well with as much ease as possible? Sure, you can purchase tools, but you should consider how expensive they are, how often you’ll use them and whether you have the space and want to store them. These are great questions to answer to help you make a smart investment. Especially if the tool list is long, it might make more sense to hire a pro.


2. Time: Do you have the required time to get the needed job done? Will it bother you greatly to have your house in upheaval (let’s say it, practically unlivable) for weeks, while you work frantically every free moment to get the project done? Sometimes hiring a pro in this situation is the best solution. What may take you weeks or months in the margin of your life, a pro may be able to accomplish in a day or two. This factor alone can make spending that extra money worth every penny.


3. Problem Solving: Do you possess the skill set and patience necessary to solve problems that arise (and they will)? Like death and taxes, things always go wrong with a DIY project. Some unforeseen hitch will make your little project anything but. Trust me, I know of what I speak! Luckily for me, my hubby and I have conquered our share of project woes and have—almost every time—been able to get the job done. However, you may run across a situation that requires a pro. Especially if you risk causing damage to your home or hurting the people in it, hire a pro.


4. Ability: Do you have the skills to do the job correctly? Or the patience to watch enough You Tube videos to learn exactly what you need to do? (Thank goodness for YouTube!) If the job you’re tackling involves safety, such as electric or plumbing, and the results of a job done incorrectly could be dangerous or devastating, by all means hire a pro. In our home, we have the confidence to do “easy electric” work, but if we’re facing anything more involved, we call our electrician. No hesitation, no question. Don’t mess around with electricity! Electricians, and firefighters, will tell you the risks are too great.


5. Budget: Ahh, this one’s tricky. The prospect of saving money prompts us to run to our local home improvement store, project list in hand, ready to try and tackle projects ourselves. DIY is frugal in most cases, but there are times when it doesn’t pay. If you try to tackle something too hard or too big, and you run into issues, you could end up spending more hiring someone to fix the “boo-boo” than if you had hired a pro from the start.

Remember, even if you decide to hire a pro for part or all of your project, you can usually find other ways to save money and invest some “sweat equity” in the project. Doing your own demo, buying and delivering your own materials, or painting and doing the finishing touches are all great examples. Now, what will you do next to love where you live?