DIY’ing certain home improvement projects can save you a ton of money compared to hiring a contractor. However, unless you’re a true craftsperson, there are lots of instances when tackling a task yourself just won’t cut it.
Sometimes, you need someone with the tools, knowledge, and expertise to get the job done better than you ever could. In this article, we’ll take a look at the types of projects that require a professional touch and discuss ways to find the best contractors in your area.
How can you tell which job you can handle yourself and which requires the skills of a true professional? It largely comes down to the level of intricacy that the project entails and the equipment required to do it right. If you have the skillset, tools, and time, you can complete many home projects yourself. This isn’t often the case though; many times, you’re much better off hiring a pro.
Of course, there are many projects you could complete yourself but simply don’t have the time or energy to devote. That’s a perfect situation to hire someone for your project. Sometimes, you pay for expertise; others, you pay for convenience. Both are great reasons to find a trusted home service professional to help you get things done.
Finding the right home service professional takes work, too. You have to make sure they’re qualified, trustworthy, and experienced. Using home improvement services like Angi is a great way to find these pros, and can be much simpler than wading through general reviews online. Let’s discuss which projects need a helping hand and which qualifications you should look for in a professional.
- Exterior Painting: The scale and intensity of painting the outside of your home, plus the equipment required to do the job right, mean that you’re better off hiring a local painting company for this job.
- Appliance Repair: Fixing broken dryers, dishwashers, and HVAC units can be tougher than it looks. Often, the problems with your appliances require training on how to handle electricity safely and navigate tricky moving pieces. Find a skilled appliance repair worker and let them handle it.
- Bathroom and Kitchen Renovation: Even Chip and Joanna Gaines work with skilled contractors when the cameras are turned off. If you’re redoing your bathroom, for example, look for a professional to help you with tile work and shower/tub installation.
- Serious Plumbing: If you can’t see where the problem with your sink, shower, or toilet begins, you likely can’t fix it without a lot of know-how.
- Electrical Work: One wrong move, and you can send yourself to the hospital. Furthermore, going DIY on electrical work means you may accidentally break building codes and have to hire a pro to fix your mistakes when it comes time to sell your house.
- Carpentry: There’s a lot you can do with wood on your own, but unless you’ve got a sizable workshop full of tools, there are lots of projects involving wood that are better left to professionals. Cabinets, trim, and other detailed work requires the steady hand of a full-time carpenter.
- Roof Repair: This one should be a given. Just because they sell shingles at the hardware store doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to patch your roof all by yourself. Roofing companies have all the tools — and the safety gear — to meet your needs.
Now that you know what types of projects need a professional touch, you need to learn what qualities make a professional stand apart from the crowd. There are, in any city, hundreds of different independent contractors and companies who could take on a job. And, they’re separated by more than just price.
How can you find out which contractors are best for your project? Here’s what to look out for:
“Social Proof” is a term that’s used mostly on the marketing side, referring to a company’s track record and reputation in the community. Reviews, testimonials, and social media examples of finished projects are examples of social proof. Look for a business that has plenty of legitimate reviews, reliable testimonials, and references and, if applicable, an updated social media page showing finished projects.
If a business has a few bad reviews (say, fewer than 10 out of 100), that’s likely okay — you have to account for the occasional unreasonable customer. However, most of the client reviews and examples should be positive. If they aren’t, keep looking!
The better a home service professional is at their job, the busier they are likely to be. That means that the top-rated contractors in your area might not be free to complete projects on your schedule. If the heater is broken in the middle of winter, time is not on your side and you may have to choose whoever can get the job done the soonest. But if you’re planning a bathroom remodel, ask yourself if it’s worth waiting a bit for that 5-star professional at the top of your list.
The more complex your project, the more you’ll want to be absolutely certain the contractor knows what they’re doing. Specifically for plumbing and electrical jobs, search for professionals with the licenses and credentials to back up their claims. Trained, certified, and licensed electricians, plumbers, and construction professionals should always be chosen over unproven “self-taught” workers.
Finding someone to work on your home can be intimidating, no matter how big or small the project. But taking advantage of online research platforms like Angi and even old-fashioned word-of-mouth referrals can make this process simpler and smoother. Bottom line: Look for contractors who take their work seriously, have relevant training and credentials and come with reliable recommendations and references. You’ll be rewarded with a smoother repair or renovation and a final result you’re happy with.
Photo by Roselyn Tirado