There’s a lot to be said for DIY home maintenance. You can learn new skills, save yourself money, and still get the house you have dreamed of at the end of a lot of hard work. There’s a satisfaction in DIY, in that you then get to live in what you have created.
Nevertheless, you are doing something that many people do as their profession. Is it ever possible to attain the heights of the pros as a DIY enthusiast? If it’s all so easy – why do professionals still exist? And finally – what do the pros not want you to know about DIY?
The Pros Don’t Want You To Know…
DIY Is Good For Their Business
How is that possible, you might be wondering. Surely DIY and professional trades are mortal enemies in this: Dumbledore vs. Voldemort, but with less magic? How can people taking their home renovation tasks into their own hands be good for professionals?
Because we laypeople have a habit of getting it wrong!
Yes, tradespeople get a lot of their work when they’re called in to rectify a mistake that a DIY enthusiast has made. There’s plenty to be made for a living when you’re responding to emergency callouts because someone has drilled through a pipe, or knocked a wall down that’s made the other walls in the room crack.
The most amusing thing about this process is when the person who did the damage tries to explain what happened. Most of the time, they will try and shift some of the blame off of themselves. It was the pipe that was dodgy! Or maybe the foundations are bad! Or… the excuses go on and on. Either way, it’s more work for the people who actually know what they’re doing.
Some People Are Good At DIY
It’s possible to have a natural flair for your own home projects, and people in the trade can only admire this. When they see positive work being done by someone who is unqualified, they might mildly resent the feel of lost work, but overall it’s a positive experience. The more people know the better equipped they are.
They Wish We Were Better At Making Decisions
There are some things that people in trade don’t want DIY fans to try and do. Not because of the potential lost customer, but because they’re outright dangerous.
Electricians, for example, will cringe at the idea of someone playing around with their mains electricity. They know – sometimes from harsh learning experiences – that that’s the kind of thing you shouldn’t play around with. Roofers will close their eyes and sigh at the sight of an amateur homeowner stumbling around atop their house in an attempt at doing their own roofing work – often without any safety precautions in place.
Sometimes, if a professional tells you that you shouldn’t attempt any work, it’s not through greed or a desire to make money: it’s through concern for you. The people who face these hazards on a daily basis are perfectly placed to know the threat they pose. They know how they can fix the problems and make the procedure as safe as it can possibly be, but safety is a step that most of us skip over when it comes to DIY.
It’s always worth keeping in mind that, when dealing with structural or electrical issues, you’re probably not the best person for the job. Bring in someone who knows exactly how to handle it – it’s a decision that might just save your life.
There Is Such A Thing As A Job That’s “Too Small”
Many adverts for handymen and other trades will say that there is no job too small. This is largely done to try and ensure customers don’t skip them, thinking that their job is not going to be enough for a tradesperson to be worth their while.
However, it’s largely a marketing tactic. It helps that we in the general populace tend to underestimate how long a job would take. We might think it’s a 10 minute job when in reality, to do it properly, it’s three hours. However, if you’re calling someone out for the most basic of DIY tasks, then there might be a point where they have a limit on how much they can take.
Before you call someone out for a basic, simple task – such as putting up pictures – try and think what they have to do to provide that service to you. They have to pay for their travel, they have to give their time, they have to enter you into their record keeping and process your payment.
It’s often best to save up lots of small, menial tasks and ask someone to do them all in one go – you’ll often get the best prices this way as well.
Not Every Tradesperson Is A “Cowboy”
There can be a perception amongst the populace that everyone involved in trades are a bad sort. This is furthered by consumer advice programs, all of which seem to take a delight in catching “rogue traders”.
There are bad apples in every bunch, but that doesn’t mean the rest are rotten. Most people who work in trade dearly care about their customer and want to get them the best result possible. They’re not out to rip people off. For a start, that would cost them their reputation, their business, and ultimately their livelihood. They’re not going to add on extra work because, if they get found out doing it, the cost for them is far more than adding a few hundred dollars onto a project. Remember that you’re worth far more to them as a good, loyal, regular customer than a one-stop rogue rip off.
If you are concerned before hiring someone, don’t just be suspicious – do something about it. Traders should be comfortable with providing you with references of people they have done a good job for, so don’t be afraid to ask. If the reference checks out, then trust them. After all: they do know better than you.