When considering a home repair or construction project, homeowners must decide between hiring a professional to do the work or doing it themselves. Most of the time, errors are made when making cost comparisons between the two options because homeowners fail to calculate the hidden costs in a construction project. It is easy to take an estimate from a construction professional and assume you will have significant savings if you do it yourself. However, your DIY price probably only includes material and permitting charges and does not take into account additional costs. Pressure to save money and inexperience in the complexity of construction projects are the main reasons that homeowners decide not to hire a construction a professional and attempt to do the project themselves.
When considering taking on a construction project, be aware of the following hidden costs:
A long, drawn-out DIY construction project can cost you income and personal time. Your personal time is valuable to you and your family. Every hour you spend on a job must be valued at some rate because no one, including you, works for free.
In the current building supply environment, finding the materials and having them delivered to a jobsite is not easy and is very expensive. Construction professionals usually have delivery trucks, and they normally make complete lists of supplies to prevent excessive trips back and forth to the supply yard. Inexperienced homeowners will beat worn paths going to supply stores because they are unaware of all the small pieces and parts required for a project. At $3 dollars a gallon for gas, along with automobile wear and tear, how much are you really saving on delivery by doing it yourself? Additionally, for larger loads of supplies, consumers typically pay a lot more than a contractor for a jobsite delivery.
These darn DYI television shows make every project look so easy. However, they fail to let the viewer in on one important fact - these professionals have the best and latest tools to complete the job. If you start a DIY construction project and must buy or rent tools to complete it, then you are adding a significant cost to the project. Many times, the price of tools and tool rentals make the project unaffordable for homeowners.
Another hidden cost that many homeowners are unaware of is the price of trash disposal. Dumpster fees are very costly and every trip to the dump can cost additional time and money. In fact, most builders have a strict policy that their subcontractors must remove all their own trash and debris when working on their jobsites. You just cannot place construction waste by the side of the road in most areas and have it picked up for free. Before you start a project, be sure you know what the cost will be to dispose of trash and debris.
Believe it or not, medical and liability costs must be considered when budgeting for a construction project. A novice DIY homeowner may get an injury that could require a trip to a chiropractor or emergency room. Furthermore, the DIY homeowner is responsible for getting construction insurance for their projects as well as ensuring every person on that job has appropriate worker’s compensation and liability insurance. Failure to have proper insurance can result in huge liabilities for the homeowner.
Finally, mistakes on a project lead to the most common hidden costs that homeowners do not consider. If the homeowner has little experience in construction projects, chances are they will make costly mistakes in material choices, hiring subcontractors, and scheduling. Plus, because the project is a one-time undertaking, a homeowner will have little leverage to get help when a mistake is made, such as ordering windows or doors incorrectly. Experience and knowledge are huge advantages for most construction professionals which a DIY homeowner may be lacking.
Before tackling any construction project, consider the hidden costs in order to make a well-informed decision on who should do your project.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.