When Should I Hire a Contractor?
Determine whether you have a DIY project you can tackle on your own or if you need to find a contractor for help with your home repairs.
There are countless projects homeowners can (or sometimes have to) do inside and outside the house, around the yard and pretty much anywhere on their property. Some projects are small, easily manageable and can be completed quickly. These types of tasks can usually be done by the homeowner with the help of tools such as online tutorials and “do-it-yourself” videos. However, larger more complicated undertakings—especially major home repairs—should be done by professionals. A skilled general contractor has expertise in areas that the average homeowner does not, and it’s best to hire someone who is knowledgeable about not only the work that you want or need done, but also how to handle any issues that may come up during the completion of the job.
Do-It-Yourself Home Repair Projects
For the most part, the types of projects that homeowners can do without the help of a contractor or a professional are ones similar to those a handyman does. While someone considered a “handyman” is skilled doing many home improvement projects, they aren’t required to be licensed and registered with the state like a general contractor, and therefore, don’t have to pass any necessary exams or stay up-to-date with state regulations.
If you’re looking to save money and don’t mind doing some home improvement work yourself, there are certain DIY projects and home repairs that can be done without hiring a contractor. A good rule of thumb is to choose jobs that require regular maintenance and are relatively easy so that you can do them often (and get better at doing them). These types of jobs include:
- Painting/Sealing – Interior walls, decks/fences, wood furniture
- Other Home Repair/Maintenance – Seasonal maintenance (including the yard/roof, preparing your home for colder and hotter weather), cleaning out gutters, installing drains/sprinklers, washing exterior windows, general carpentry
Jobs for Professional General Contractors
The size, scope and how complicated a project is should be a good indicator of whether or not you need to find a contractor for help. For instance, large-scale projects that will require working with major systems in your home—plumbing, electrical, structural—mean you should call in the pros. If something goes wrong, you could get hurt or cause damage to your home if you don’t know what you’re doing. Plus, if you cause any damage to your home, you’re looking at paying for home repairs on top of the expenses for the original project. It’s highly recommended to hire a professional general contractor for the following jobs:
- Structural repairs - For example, foundations/basements, roofing projects, major architectural work, drywall, insulation, tearing down and rebuilding walls.
- Restoration work - Repairs needed to restore a home to it's original condition after experiencing fire, flood or storm damage. These types of repairs could range from drying out the home to completely rebuilding.
- Renovation work - Renovations that require demolition usually require permits, too, so it's best to leave these types of home repair projects to the pros (tearing down and rebuilding rooms, remodeling rooms, installing new windows/doors).
- Electrical and plumbing - Fixing a small leak or replacing faceplates on light switches is one thing but installing a new bathtub or rewiring an entire house is quite another. When dealing with major systems in your home , it’s best to have a professional electrician, plumber or contractor do the work.
You may also need to call a contractor to help fix a DIY project that turned into more than you bargained for. Whether you attempted to take care of a home repair on your own or the previous homeowner tried (and failed) at a renovation, a skilled contractor can help repair the damage and finish the job.
How to Find a Contractor
If your home repair or renovation project requires the help of a professional, make sure you find a contractor who is licensed, insured and credentialed. When you’re looking for a trustworthy general contractor, ask people you know for referrals – that way you know you’re going to work with someone who is dependable and has delivered results to previous clients.
When you choose to work with Resolve, you’ll be connected to a nationwide network of highly qualified, trustworthy home professionals. Resolve will help you find a contractor for interior and exterior home repair and restoration projects. You can even read reviews from other homeowners about each of the contractors before deciding on the best one for you.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.