When You Should Hire a Professional Instead of Doing It Yourself

by Gina Blitstein · 1 comment

Many times, you can save a considerable amount of money by tackling tasks and projects yourself rather than hiring someone to do them for you. This has been discussed in a couple previous posts: Should You Do It Yourself? and DIY or Hire Help? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself.

The fact is, however, all do-it-yourself questions aren’t simply a matter of hiring someone because you don’t want to do it or because you don’t know how. Sometimes, no matter how willing you are to give a project your “do-it-yourselfer” best, it’s not prudent to take it on. Certain important projects require the professional expertise, even though it seems like you could potentially do it – and save yourself some money to boot. Hiring a professional will help you prevent getting in over your head or making a serious or expensive mistake by taking on a project that entails more than you’re equipped to handle.

Here are some areas in which the stakes are particularly high and where a lack of expertise may lead to serious and unfortunate consequences. You may well be better off hiring a pro when considering anything that:

  • Concerns health, legal or financial matters – The consequences of being under-informed in treating an ailment, making a will or investment decisions could be devastating on a life-changing scale.
  • Requires specialized knowledge and/or skill – Major construction, renovations, electrical, plumbing or landscaping is not to be approached lightly. Costs can quickly spiral out of control and dangerous situations can be unwittingly created by the uninitiated.
  • Is potentially dangerous – Working at heights, heavy lifting, working with dangerous materials or chemicals… these are best done by those who are trained and/or highly experienced.
  • Involves braun and/or stamina – Even if you are fit and healthy, some jobs like moving furniture or shoveling snow are simply performed better, faster and with less risk of injury by those who do it professionally.
  • Requires specialized equipment – Buying – or even renting – equipment you need once in a blue moon makes little sense. Hiring someone who already has the equipment (and knows how to use it) is a better solution.
  • Is overly time-consuming – Don’t discount the value of your own time – or the ability of a professional to get their job done much faster and more efficiently than you as a weekend warrior. Sure, you could re-side your entire house but it may take you the entire summer, preventing you from doing a plethora of other projects that are less time-consuming and just as frugal.

Any project that includes these considerations is no ordinary do-it-yourself job. A misstep on your part could lead to unforeseen problems that could lead to higher expenses – which is decidedly un-frugal. It’s smart to seek out a competent, affordable professional to perform the work.

It’s up to you to draw the line at what you can reasonably do yourself and hire the professionals to do that which doesn’t fall under your purview. Don’t feel that by hiring a professional that you’re copping out on being frugal. Most jobs can be broken down into parts, some of which you can still do in order to defray the total cost of a task or project for which you hire a pro. The important thing to realize is that, while it’s a great idea to do what you can yourself in order to keep your expenses under control, it’s only smart to do so when its appropriate.

In the long run, making wise decisions will give you a better and outcome at a more affordable cost.

Where’s the line where you hire a professional?

Bonus Tip:

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Allison September 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm

So true, Gina. I’ve done most of our electric work in the past (taught by Dad), but when we needed a whole house done, I called in the big guns. Could I have done it myself? Probably, but it would have taken me ages and left only myself liable if anything was wrong. I decided it wasn’t worth the trade off. Dad was disappointed in me until he came out for a visit and saw the before and after pictures.

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