Archive for Sunday, April 25, 2004

Be your own boss, but answer some questions first

April 25, 2004


Before you grab a hammer and start swinging, consider these questions from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry:

1. Do you enjoy physical work?

2. Are you persistent and patient?

3. Do you have reliable habits _ meaning that once the project's started, will it get finished?

4. Do you have all of the necessary tools and, more importantly, the skills required to do the job?

5. What quality level do you need for this project? Are your skills at that level?

6. Do you have the time that will be required to complete the project? (Always double or triple the time estimated for a DIY project, unless you are highly skilled and familiar with that particular project.)

7. Will it matter if the project remains unfinished for a period of time?

8. Are you prepared to handle the kind of stress this project will create in your family relationships?

9. Do you know all of the steps involved in the project?

10. Have you gotten the installation instructions from the manufacturer to determine whether this is a project you still want to undertake? (Most manufacturers will send you installation instructions before purchase to determine whether the product will meet your needs.)

11. Is this a job you can do completely by yourself or will you need assistance? If you do need assistance, what skill level is involved for your assistant? If you need a professional subcontractor, do you have access to a skilled labor pool?

12. Are you familiar with your local building codes and permit requirements? (Some jurisdictions require that the work be completed by a licensed and bonded professional in order to meet code.) It's best to check these requirements before beginning work on the project.

13. What will you do if the project goes awry? (Most contractors are wary about taking on a botched DIY job, and many simply won't take them.)

14. Is it safe for you to do this project? (Some jobs can be fatal if not performed correctly. Your health and safety should be the primary concern. Never enter into a DIY project that would jeopardize either.)

15. Will you be able to obtain the materials you need? Who will be your source of supply? Will they deliver?

16. Are you attempting to do-it-yourself for financial reasons? If so, have you looked at all of your costs, including the cost of materials, your time and the tools you need to purchase? If you are new to the DIY game, you may also want to look at the cost to correct any mistakes you may make. Will it still be a cost-saving venue?

17. If you are trying DIY for the satisfaction of a job well done, can you ensure that the job will be "well done"? If it doesn't come out right, how will you feel? Will you be able to afford to redo any unsatisfactory work?

If you answered yes to eight or more of these questions, you might attempt a DIY project. Revisit those questions you marked "no" and consider potential problems. DIY projects can be rewarding and fun if you're prepared and have the proper skills. However, home improvement can be hazardous to your wallet and, more importantly, to your health.

For more information, visit or call the NARI hotline, 800-611-NARI.

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