Growing Concerns by Joel Pysher

Electrical Contractor and Owner/Operator @ JDP Electrical

This has become a growing concern of mine for some time now.

Although the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) trend in home improvements is all the rage these days, there are areas of home improvement that are best left to a professional. One of them is electrical work. In these cases, it is always safest to call an (EC) Electrical Contractor.

Remember, fishing is a hobby, electrical work is not. Electricity is a force. When harnessed is very useful applied in a safe manner. When used in an unsafe manner, it is dangerous and deadly. When it comes to electrical work…I mean think about it, if you don’t do everything precisely right, the least negative thing that could happen is an electrical fire. The worst would be that you or someone else is hurt.

It seems all too often I’m in the Electrical Department at Home Depot, and see homeowners, handyman, and other non-electrical professionals ready to take on an electrical project. I’m sure it’s the same in the plumbing section. Let me give you some good advice; if you know a good Electrical Contractor and Plumber hang on to them and if you don’t, find them. It probably will come in handy. Electrical and plumbing are two of the specialty trades that can do the most damage to your property if not done properly.

I come from a long line of contractors in my family, in multiple specifications: General Contractors, Plumbers, Carpentry, Low Voltage, etc… As an Electrical Contractor myself, I have a large amount of knowledge about the construction industry, and a wide variety of tools. As a homeowner I have done a lot of DIY projects. Naturally most being electrical. However, I have taken on other projects as well.

I think most people these days try DIY thinking of saving some money. Who doesn’t want to save money, right? So I wanted to offer a different perspective from a homeowner whom is also a Contractor.

I recently thought about this topic a lot as I wanted to install new windows on my house. I could easily do this myself and save money I thought. I wanted to get a few estimates from Licensed Window Contractors to see if doing the install myself would truly benefit me. I really thought about this a lot and what I think most DIY’s don’t take into consideration is paying themselves for their time.  The cost of your time should also be considered when contemplating a project. Too often, people forget to put a price on their time when they’re deciding whether to DIY or hire. They add up the cost of the supplies and think they’re going to be saving themselves a bundle. They forget that they are likely going to spend more time on the work than a professional would, even if it goes well.

Home improvement shows and magazines make repairs look easy, but sometimes taking the do-it-yourself approach can end up costing more money than hiring a professional.

Unless you are handy or have experience in the home improvement business, experts recommend doing extensive research before going at a project alone.

 

I found these articles online:

“DIY projects are rarely as easy as they seem, and all too often it ends up costing you,” says Angie Hicks, founder of online referral service Angie’s List www.angieslist.com. “Thousands of people, for example, end up in the emergency room every year because of ladder falls, power tools that got away from them, situations like that. Even if you’re not injured, you could end up paying twice for the project – once for your attempt and then again when you’re in over your head and have to call a pro to fix the mess.”

Home improvement experts recommend evaluating your strengths and ability to get a job done before launching a project After all, you don’t want to start something only to let it languish for months or even years, which according to Hicks, is often the case. She suggests evaluating whether you have the time and tools to properly complete a project.

Other potential expense homeowners don’t think about: getting hurt. Professionals are licensed and insured, so if they get injured on a job the homeowner doesn’t have to worry about paying the medical bills. But if you get hurt during a project, you not only face medical bills you will also have to pay for a professional to come in and make the fixes.

A rule of thumb, according to Zillow.com’s real estate expert Brendon DeSimone, if it’s a cosmetic fix or project, DIY might be the way to go. But if it’s something that requires a permit or a specialist–leave it to the pros. “You should paint, resand your floors, grout your tiles and stain your deck on your own,” says DeSimone. “Anything that requires specific knowledge or permits, you need to hire a professional.” He adds bringing in an expert to deal with any structural, plumbing or electrical work as well.

“Don’t decide one day on a lark that you’re going to build yourself a stone patio with a full outside kitchen and you’re going to get it done in a weekend or on a summer vacation. Never plan your project in the aisle of a big box store,” says Hicks. “Take the time to research; evaluate your space, budget and true needs/wants.”

It’s satisfying to put in a hard day’s work improving the look or functionality of your home. And while do-it-yourself projects are as popular as ever, there are some the average homeowner or handyman should never try without professional assistance.

Although some people are capable of changing out a light switch or installing a new light fixture where an old one existed, most people aren’t trained electricians and should not attempt to do home electrical work, such as replacing or extending circuits, both of which are particularly dangerous tasks. However, even the easier projects like replacing a ceiling fan, if not done properly can have devastating results and cost you more money in the long run to fix properly. We have a saying in the business, “Do it right the first time”.

Now back to my decision on the windows. Even though I’m not an average Joe when it comes to home renovations. Factoring in the value of my time, I figured that this time I was going to hire a Contractor to do my windows. The time I would spend: Measuring, Ordering, and Picking up, Extra Home Depot Trip(s), removing the old windows, installing the new windows. After my extensive research I found I would actually be better off using my time  doing what I know best…Electrical, and leaving the windows to who knew them best. They did a great job and it worked out for both of us!

Being a tradesman I know firsthand what it took to get where I’m at, a lot of dedication and extensive training over many years. I love DIY and I’m an advocate for DIY. However, the mistakes I get called to fix all too often are shoddy DIY’s and homeowner/handyman work. Work that you need a permit for and/or over your head is better left for the pros!

Turn on HGTV and chances are you’ll hear about a job gone wrong, whether it’s due to cost overruns or a contractor horror story. To avoid becoming one of those tales of woe, you might consider picking up a hammer yourself and DIYing some of your own home renovations. (This is where YouTube, magazines and forums are a great help.) While it’s tempting to go ahead and handle all the renovations yourself, there are still some jobs that you should leave to the experts. Often Contractors get a bad rap, but I assure you, like anything else there are many great ones out there as well as some bad. I would recommend your efforts better to finding a good contractor and research/know your project and what you want, instead of taking on a home renovation DIY project that’s out of your league. You are what you have been exposed to. I don’t know what business you are in, but if someone told you they did a little research and could take over your job tomorrow, what would you tell them?

I take great pride in my work, and spend a lot of time and effort continually learning about my trade/industry. I truly love what I do and focus on giving my customers the very best!