Home Improvement Professional: Times When You Need to Go Pro

Even the most DIY of people need to get help from the professionals from time to time. If you’re wondering if you need to hire a contractor or if you can safely tackle a job yourself, here are a few questions to ask.

Even if you’re the most handy of people, there are times when it just makes more sense to hire a home improvement professional rather than to do the work yourself. You might grumble about the added cost and time required to find a licensed contractor or other home professional. But in the long run, knowing when to outsource a project and hire a pro can save you time, money, and a lot of headache. If you’re wondering if you need to turn to a pro or not, ask yourself the following questions.

Do You Need a Permit?

Philadelphia has some pretty strict rules when it comes to which projects need a permit and which ones don’t. Generally, cosmetic fixes don’t need a permit, but major changes and repairs do. If you need to get a permit for your project, it can be worth also hiring a home improvement professional to complete the project for you. He or she will know what permits the city requires for specific jobs and will have the responsibility of getting those permits before work begins.

Is There a Risk for Injury?

While most home improvement projects have some risk for injury, a few have a very high risk for potentially fatal or severe injury. There’s a big difference between hitting your thumb with a hammer while putting together a bookcase and zapping yourself with electrical current when you try to install a new outlet.

Be honest with yourself about the risk for bodily harm before you start a project or before you decide to hire someone or not. Unless you’ve had training and experience, it’s best to leave any jobs that involve scaling the roof of your home, manipulating the gas line, or fiddling with the electrical work to the pros.

What Will Happen If You Mess Up?

When you DIY smaller jobs, such as painting the walls of your home, the consequences of messing up aren’t that big. If you don’t like the paint job, you can always do it over again or hire a professional painter to fix it. But if you mess up some home improvement projects, it can have a negative effect on the quality of your home and its overall value.

For example, if you install a sink improperly, it can leak, causing damage to the walls and floors around it. Over time, that damage can be pretty severe, causing the floor to sink or mold to grow. If you are in any way not confident about your ability to fix something in your Philadelphia home, it’s best to bring in someone with experience in that field. It’s also worth noting that some contractors are hesitant to repair or work on projects that have been botched. It’s better to start with a pro rather than to bring in someone to try to fix a mess.

Tips for Finding a Contractor

If you decide to hire a professional for a home improvement job, start your search for a contractor at Licenses and Inspections. The city’s online search tool makes it easy to find a professional whose license is current.

Once you have a list of licensed professionals, start asking around and checking out reviews of those contractors. When you have a short list of three contractors, interview each to learn more about their experience with your particular type of project and to get an estimate.

You want your home in Philadelphia to be as comfortable to live in and as great to look at as possible. In some cases, that means enlisting the help of a professional to get the job done.

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