There is something to be said for the brave women and men who do it themselves when angels fear to tread. They are heroes of the hardware store. They boldly go places inside the home that even carpenters dread to enter, armed only with a screwdriver and a YouTube video. If these brave souls do not inspire you, check your pulse.
Unfortunately, too many of these brave souls bit off projects that were more than they could chew. That’s going to require a spittoon that they are likely unqualified to install. It is hard to know when courage should give way to common sense. For some things, you are going to need an expert. Here’s how to know when that time has come:
When You Wouldn’t Trust Anyone Who Wasn’t Licensed and Bonded
Some tasks require a licensed and bonded specialist. You know what those tasks are because if you called said specialist, you would make sure they were licensed and bonded. Seriously, your life could be at risk, and your house could be destroyed. You want someone working on it who not only has the expertise but the money in the bank to pay for potential damage.
HVAC is one of those places where a lot of that potential damage can happen. There is a lot that goes into the installation and repair of air conditioning. While you may not have the expertise for that particular job, you can still bone up on industry-specific terms that can help you make good purchasing decisions.
One such term is SEER. It stands for ‘seasonal energy efficiency ratio.’ It is the ratio of cooling output to energy usage over a season. This is the kind of term you don’t want a specialist to gloss over or toss out without explanation. Familiarizing yourself with the jargon of the specialist can help a lot.
When It Is Not Your Property
It is one thing to be willing to risk an expensive repair on your home. It is quite another to risk the same to someone else’s. Remember, you’re not licensed and bonded either. If you were, you would be doing it for a living.
There are all kinds of things you could do over a home improvement weekend at your house that might not be smart elsewhere. Such projects include:
- Adding garage storage
- Improving home security
- Light landscaping tasks
The next to last thing you want to do is rip up a large piece of sheetrock while attempting to install an epic shelving system that is too big for your wall. You don’t want to make that mistake at your neighbor’s house.
When It Is Less Expensive to Call a Professional
Once in a blue moon, you will get a good estimate that represents a fair price for the job you need done. Not being a professional, you may not realize how good the estimate is. Before going to Home Depot, shop around and get a second opinion on that estimate.
Do a little research. You might discover that the specialized tools to do the job are far more expensive than you thought. You may not be able to rent everything you need. There is also the matter of supplies. As an individual, you don’t have the economies of scale in your favor. Professionals have the ability to get necessary supplies for a lot less money than you. Consider this before your next trip to the lumber yard.
When at First You Don’t Succeed
Everybody loves the can-do spirit. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. But life does not give us infinite tries. There are some projects that we can try once. After which, we should count ourselves lucky if things aren’t a complete disaster.
It is one of those truths that is hard to define but is obvious when the situation is upon you. Try, try again has to give way to know when to quit. Failure is always an option. Call someone before that option is thrust upon you.
By all means, do it yourself every chance you get. But let licensed and bonded people do the work that requires it. Don’t let your neighbor be your ginny pig. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. And know when to quit.