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Do It Yourself Or Hire A Pro

Right At Home Daily: Contractors
By Lisa Skolnik for Right at Home Daily

Sometimes you can save money by tackling home improvement projects yourself. But any job will take time and energy, tools and materials, and require a variety of skills. So before undertaking a project, ask yourself: How much time and money will you save by doing it yourself? How much time do you really have to dedicate? And, are you skilled enough to handle the job?

Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro Start by assessing the true labor costs (time and money) of the project. Talk to a few pros to get estimates of the job.

Next, factor in the price of the tools you'll need to buy. And consider the material costs. If you're working with expensive materials, doing the job yourself is a greater financial risk because there's no guarantee that you won't make a mistake. And typically, a professional can purchase materials for less.

To estimate a project's timeframe is not an exact science, especially if you're not an experienced do-it-yourselfer. Write down every single step the project will require, from purchase to clean up. Convert the process into hours, double it if you have some experience and triple it if you don't. The more projects you tackle, the more accurate you'll be able to estimate the time needed to complete a project. If it takes a pro 20 hours to paint your first floor, figure it will take you 1.5 to 3 times as long.

If you're gifted mechanically or artistically, you may be able to wield a floor sander or hang wallpaper like pro without much practice. If you're not dexterous, you'll have to proceed carefully and be patient to master such skills.

1. Consider your personal time when you calculate how long it'll take to complete a home project. The hours you spend on the project will prevent you from pursuing errands or other projects you may enjoy more.

2. Taking on a home project can be fun, but know that it may cost you more to do it yourself than if you hire a pro.

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