Not long ago, people were pretty likely to have money but no time. Now, chances are that the reverse is true. And if you have time but not money, taking on some DIY projects makes total sense. Why pay a professional for work that you can do yourself?
SmartMoney reports on the growth of DIY culture:
Until recently, do-it-yourself appeared to be going the way of the dodo. With technology stretching the old 9-to-5 into a never-ending workday, many people found it easier to spend a little extra for the convenience of professional help with things like, say, home repair. But in the wake of a recession, those expenses are often the first to go.
Not to mention, it only takes a few keystrokes to find step-by-step instructions—and probably a YouTube video—on how to pluck a chicken, solder a pipe or, as one desperate father-to-be famously discovered last year, even deliver a baby. Plus, the onset of amateur hour has given rise to its own cottage industry of consultants trying to cash in with how-to materials and services like TeachStreet, an online marketplace listing classes in various subjects like welding and veterinary care.
Going the DIY route is not without risks. Some are no big deal: If you screw up brewing your own beer, the worst that could happen is that you lose a few bucks, along with, perhaps, the lunch you digested earlier in the day. The stakes are much higher when it comes to things like medical care for your pets or yourself. Screw that up and you could lose something even more precious than beer.
Home improvement projects run the gamut. Some are potentially dangerous (electrical or structural work, plumbing), while with others, all you risk is the money spent on tools and materials—and the possibility that your handiwork will make your home look worse than before your “improvement.” Choose your projects carefully.
With time on your hands, you could at least consider saving the money you’d spend on hiring a general contractor and directly hire the sheetrock workers, electrician, or whoever yourself, but there’s some risk with that strategy too:
DIY contractors may also run into problems getting the best bids from subcontractors, or even getting them to show up … since these outfits are likely to prioritize jobs handled by professionals, who provide a good chunk of their business.
Bear in mind that every DIYer screws up, and as long as you can live with the consequences, that’s OK—good even. No one is born knowing how to put in replacement windows, change the oil in their car, or treat their dog’s allergies. The best way to learn is by doing.