Which projects have you decided to DIY but should have hired out?

12 Replies

Which projects have you decided to DIY but should have hired out?

Was it more difficult than you imagined? More time consuming or more costly?

I tend to bite off more than I can chew but if I don't try I don't know.

@Adrienne Donner

1. Trash hauls. I can find people to do trash hauls cheaply now. It takes time and work to build a list of those contacts that are reliable and inexpensive.

2. Demo. Nothing that requires finesse or working around electricity.

3. Wallpaper removal, most wall prep for painting, general cleaning.

Ideally it would be nice to hire all of the work out. All of it is more expensive, more work, more time consuming than I initially plan.

The things I always hire out is electric, larger plumbing jobs, and HVAC. I tried doing all those things at first, and I spent way too much time and in the end it costed me more. Would have saved if I just hired it out from the start.

@Adrienne Donner I am trying to hire everything done, but I must be addicted to working at my rental properties, because I just replaced a sump pump two days ago. I could have called a plumber and $400 later it would have been done. Instead, I pulled a spare sump pump from my shop and picked up $25 worth of parts, two hours later the pump was installed.

It is pretty easy to hire things like cleaning, mowing, junk hauling and even to get any skilled laborer into the property. The hard part is the tiny things. I had a bathroom cabinet that wouldn't close all the way. I picked up a two dollar hing and four screws later, problem fixed. It is hard to hire a handyman for a job like that because of trip charge and minimum time, etc.

Starting out, I did everything minus HVAC. It was a great way to build sweat equity. I learned as I have scaled that I can't do everything due to time, nor do I want to.

@Adrienne Donner Hi Adrienne, I too like the challenge of learning a new skill. I think it’s good to be hands on with the first reno or two because you learn so much about the process & costs. That said, the one project I will hire out in a heartbeat is drywall. Pros can hang it & finish it in a few days. Doing it ourselves after work took over a month to cut, hang, mud, sand and paint.

@Adrienne Donner

Everybody that I’ve known that did their own mudding and taping of drywall regretted it. Based on this, I hired out just the mudding, taping, and texturing after I hung my own drywall.

And now, installing LVP flooring. I don’t “regret” doing my own, but my back and knees sure did.

And luckily I was smart enough to hire out major electrical and major plumbing. Screwing that up can cost you twice as much as hiring professionals. Not to mention not pulling the proper permits with licensed professionals can cost you your business if a tenant gets injured.

@Adrienne Donner I've found 2 things to be true when it comes to DIY.

1.  Pros almost always work in pairs.  Meaning one guy is measuring and cutting. One is installing. One is cutting and back rolling, the other is rolling.  FIND A KNOWLEDGEABLE FRIEND with the same quality standards you have to help.  Everything goes faster and pay your friend a couple bucks instead of a contractor. 

2.  Splicing in/patching etc usually causes more problems.  Essentially it comes down to prep work.  I did my first major drywall job and looking back my BIGGEST mistake was not taking down ALL the original drywall in the kitchen.  Instead I tried to blend and shim 1/2" drywall to the previous 1/2" drywall plus 1/2" (give or take) plaster.  I'm willing to bet any pro that would have quoted would not have touched that job without starting with new drywall throughout.  In the end I caused myself more problems and sloppy mud because I was trying to blend uneven surfaces.

I would like to graduate from a lot of DIY jobs but I think having confidence in knowing that you are capable is a good thing.  Know when to quit and what your time is worth though.  A good contractor is worth their weight especially if sophisticated or expensive tools are involved.


Plastering and drywall. You can either do it or you can't. I can't. That's the main one. Brush clearing-if it is a vine and I rip it out - it will be poison ivy but that is probably not an issue by you. I don't even try to do electrical and most plumbing, let a professional do it to code.

Originally posted by @Patrick M. :

@Adrienne Donner I've found 2 things to be true when it comes to DIY.

1.  Pros almost always work in pairs.   


True! And it applies to other things as well. For instance, 2 people can change the sheets and make a bed in 1/3 the time it takes 1 person to do it. (I had a friend in the motel business share that one with me.)

 

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :

Plastering and drywall. You can either do it or you can't. I can't. That's the main one. Brush clearing-if it is a vine and I rip it out - it will be poison ivy but that is probably not an issue by you. I don't even try to do electrical and most plumbing, let a professional do it to code.

 I have to trim/clear some over grown trees bushes  at a rental. The easy part is cutting it down. The hard part is getting rid of it and trying it up so the garbage men will take it. Im so close to asking the landscapers to do it

At this point in our investment career my wife and I do everything but HVAC. When we're refurbing a property, it's not insured (until we get a tenant) so I'm reluctant to have others working on it. I have a broad background so can undertake any type of house related construction (except I've never laid brick). We consider our "passive" investment activities to be our full time job and we work full time at it. (unless we're doing tree work). 

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