Do-it-yourself projects have grown tremendously in popularity with the increased coverage cable television and the internet provide. Reality shows about building cars and motorcycles from the ground up, how-to tech programming, and home design shows all highlight ways to build or repair a variety of items on your own are all over the place. DIY projects are great on several fronts, and not just in terms of building or repairing things either. They allow you to put your skills to good use. They (possibly) cut down on the costs of projects by eliminating the labor component. They allow for the learning of new skills. In general DIY projects can be very beneficial. There are times, however, when doing thing yourself can be detrimental and possibly have terrible consequences.
If do-it-yourself projects have so many benefits, why would I recommend staying away from them? There are various reasons, and each individual would have to decide for themselves, but the main situations include…
When time is of the essence
When it is imperative that a project be completed in a swift and efficient manner, it is sometimes best to hire someone to take care of it. Things like computer or car repairs, or projects around the house like replacing plumbing are often issues that require immediate attention. They don’t usually allow for the time necessary to research and teach yourself how to do the tasks necessary to complete the projects. In such cases, in order to avoid having interruption to your daily life it is usually best to call in a professional. Even for projects that don’t require immediate completion, such as building out a deck or putting together a garden, it can be more beneficial to hire someone experienced so you can spend your time concentrating on other things that will require your time and attention rather than work on them in small intervals when you can find the time.
Some things that can be done on your own simply shouldn’t if you don’t have the hands-on experience that a professional would bring to the task. Working with electrical components such as rewiring lights or installing items dealing with exposed wires, using unfamiliar power tools, and working at heights or on unsure footing such as pressure cleaning a roof are but a few examples. Without working or practical knowledge and experience on tasks like these leaves much room for harm. Professionals in these areas know the steps, and have the tools to protect themselves from the many dangers these jobs present. Additionally, the most qualified people are well versed in ways of getting the job done in ways that significantly reduce and even eliminate the inherent dangers.
Dealing with important or valuable items
Some items are extremely expensive or even irreplaceable. Doing something like trying to hang a television that cost thousands of dollars or trying to adjust a piece of jewelry that has been passed down through several generations may seem like a simple job, but the slightest slip-up or oversight can cause irreparable damage. Even something as common as changing brakes on a car make the smallest miscalculation or error can lead to not only the destruction of the vehicle, but loss of life which can never be replaced.
Humiliation may occur
Many people think going to the salon or barber is a waste of money. They would rather keep the cash and do the job themselves, or have a friend or relative do it for them. This is especially true of mothers who put a bowl on their sons’ heads and cut around it leaving their boy s looking like mushroom-heads. Sure, the Flowbee was a crazy popular for really cheap people to give themselves haircuts back in the day, but seriously, what do you do when it goes wrong? What happens when a lady tries to dye her own hair but screws up leaving it green, or worse yet having the chemicals cause patches of hair to fall out?
Legal and/or monetary consequences
Online websites and programs are produced to convince you that they can do many tasks such as prepare your own tax returns or develop your own legal documents. What these sites (and their operators) do not explicitly disclose to you is that these products are not foolproof, and in more complicated scenarios can leave the individual very much exposed. But, what if your situation is more complicated than you realize, or if you simply don’t know that you are omitting something? Even though the site/program owners profess to save you time and money with their “accurate and simple” solutions, you may end up screwing up big time. Forgetting to report something or not knowing the rules for reporting certain claims on a tax return can lead to penalties, interest, and/or backup withholding. Not knowing to include a particular clause in a legal document can leave you open to a lawsuit or worse yet, without recourse for a perceived negative action against you.
I won’t even dignify the stupidity of self-diagnoses and self-medication/operation just to avoid paying for it by saying any more on this.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with all of these points. Some people will be stubborn and claim that there is never a reason to pay someone to do what you can learn to do for yourself. Some people will refuse to acknowledge these situations out of pure stinginess and refusal to part with any money unless there is no possible alternative. I’m cool with that, you are entitled to you own views, but you have to at least consider the possibility that there are times when it makes more sense to pay someone else to do the work. You just need to ask yourself if it’s really worth the time, effort, embarrassment, and/or risk that comes with any given project you attempt on your own.
Are you one of those people that would never consider having something done if you couldn’t do it on your own? Have you ever foregone hiring a professional only to end up needing to bring one in to fix something you screwed up doing yourself? Have you ever done something only to realize that the more efficient and economical choice would have been to pay someone rather than do it on your own?