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Old 07-26-2009, 11:37 PM   #1
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How much can a diyer save


Assuming that a diyer enjoys doing the work and doing it well, how much can he expect to save on most projects?

I am thinking of hiring out to do some of the work, but am now thinking that I will just take my time and attempt it all myself.

Is it a big savings, or are there some projects that are better left to pros? I imagine there is a point of diminishing returns where a master drywaller could do the job better and quicker than I ever could, so it might be worth it to hire something like that out?

Any thoughts or general rules of thumb on doing it ALL yourself?

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Old 07-26-2009, 11:41 PM   #2
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How much can a diyer save


There really isn't any general rule of thumb
If you are capable you can save $$
Drywall/mudding is something of an art form & I prefer to hire that out
Many people have pointed out that doing something DIY wrong can cost more in the long run if it needs to then be fixed by a Pro

Time is also a factor
Right now I have time to DIY, normally my "spare time" is more valuable
If you have a specific project in mind let us know

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Old 07-27-2009, 06:51 AM   #3
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How much can a diyer save


Anything you do yourself saves labor, but if you do it wrong or poorly and need a pro to fix it, it will cost more. Don't do more than you are capable of doing. I often follow DIY'ers that said, "oh, I can do that", and couldn't.
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:28 AM   #4
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The advice so far supports the evidence I find myself mired in. My kitchen floor remains partially refinished since Easter weekend. The slow winter (where I had time to do things) morphed into a busy spring (and I know the dollar value of my "earning time"), and everyone knows the feeling of "oh I can do that, I should have time this Saturday." That spare time never materialized. I'm hiring out the completion to a floor guy this month. Plus I think a floor guy can do a much better job than I could.

I also have an old cabinet section I want to turn into a small island, but I know my limits. I'm giving that to a cabinet guy.
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:54 PM   #5
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How much can a diyer save


Thanks. So, I guess there is a fine balance about hiring out and doing it yourself then.

I think I might take that drywall advice and hire that out to a good drywall contractor.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:02 PM   #6
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How much can a diyer save


If you have the time and the ability the savings are substantial. You have to earn pre tax dollars at your day job to pay in after tax dollars for the work done, and you have to calculate it at your marginal tax rate, not your average tax rate. If you have a quote from a contractor for $10,000 for a job, and if you decide to do it yourself the materials might cost $5000. To pay for the contractors labor and profit of $5000, you might need to earn $7000 or $8000, and if you are in a low tax bracket, it becomes even more meaningful to do it yourself.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:51 PM   #7
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How much can a diyer save


Freight Dog: Scuba is right on about the drywall/mud, it is more an art form then one would imagine.
Sorta like a zero/zero partial panel approach in 60 kt cross winds :}:}:}:}:}
What do you drive? Friend of mine used to fly out of you area. FE on 47
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggie67 View Post
The advice so far supports the evidence I find myself mired in. My kitchen floor remains partially refinished since Easter weekend. The slow winter (where I had time to do things) morphed into a busy spring (and I know the dollar value of my "earning time"), and everyone knows the feeling of "oh I can do that, I should have time this Saturday." That spare time never materialized. I'm hiring out the completion to a floor guy this month. Plus I think a floor guy can do a much better job than I could.

I also have an old cabinet section I want to turn into a small island, but I know my limits. I'm giving that to a cabinet guy.
FYI, I got off my butt and made the deal. They're upstairs working on the floor as I write this.
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Old 07-29-2009, 07:59 PM   #9
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How much can a diyer save


In my opinion a DIY'er can save up to 60% of what it would cost to hire a general contractor to do the same job. There is a markup on both materials and labor, 20% is a good round number.

You will save this 60% if you can design it well, buy materials at a discount and do the work well.

Often the DIY'er can do a better job than the pros because he does not have a time constraint. When a subcontractor shows up he is going to do what he is paid to do even if the site is not properly prepared. Often one subcontractor will damage or diminish the work of another sub. They ain't a team-they're all in it for themselves.
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xorion View Post
They ain't a team-they're all in it for themselves.
Look who's talking.....

There is no way a DIYer can do a specified job better than a pro, IF you are paying accordingly.

If everything was really that easy, everyone would be a contractor.
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:51 PM   #11
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I beg to differ
I build better & more carefully then a lot of the Pro'sI've seen
I put the $$ I save into better materials, more insulation larger beams then needed
The houses that are built by Pro's around here are put together to make a profit
They use house wrap & house wrap only around the windows
I do a much better job then they do
It's my house, I want it better

The electrician that I hired did a pathetic job & the Inspector was not happy
I had to fix the problems & the Pro didn't receive final payment (he went on vacation without finishing the work)
In addition the Inspector - who covers several Towns - will be giving his work a very thorough Inspection
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:09 PM   #12
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When I put in a 15 amp electrical recepticle I use a Hubbell 5262. They cost me $7.50 each from a mail order electrical supply house. You don't get these from an electrical contractor unless you pay a steep premium.

When I had a house built several years ago I was astonished at the low (contractor grade) quality of much of the materials.

DIY'ers can can also make up for their lower skill level by a much greater time investment than a pro can afford.

I apologize to skilled craftsmen if I seemed to disrespect them and their work. I do not. You deserve to be paid for your expertise. When I said "they ain't a team they're in it for themselves", my emphasis was on the "not a team" part. More often then not the general contractor fails to pull things together properly. If the GC is good at scheduling and finding high quality craftsman, the result is a well constructed job.

My grandfather was a plumber and my dad was a lithographer. Both good union jobs that built the American middle class in the mid-twentieth century. I wish union jobs paid more and CEOs and bankers were paid a lot less.
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:41 PM   #13
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Dave you may be correct, but that isn't the cisumstance with everyone. Notice how you mentioned $$$'s.

Figure a $50,000 income. Then figure only working 3 days a week (weather related down time takes days away). Then figure workman's comp (40% here for a roofer), then figure insurance costs (4,000 a year roughly).
To make an honest, good income, a construction worker has to make pretty good money per day. The Contractor has to make more than that to cover his overhead and profit.

With that being said......if you pay accordingly, you can definitely get a better job done by a pro that knows the ins and outs of his trade very well.

Everything I figured above...a DIYer figures as free. Yes, thats good. I agree with the 60% savings, but you aren't getting the quality you would get from a decent wage, qualified pro.

Talk about unions.......Hire some of them. Your house will cost about 50x's what it costs now.

The whole industry really got slimmed down and people are finally seeing it. Everyone wants a Ferrari for the price of a Ford Tempo. What do you expect from a Contractor?

I totally agree that some DIYers can do a much better job at many things than a cheapo wannabe pro, but the point I'm making is that if you hire a real pro....there is no comparison except the $$$$$$.

We all have to make a living and some will never understand that.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:40 AM   #14
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How much can a diyer save


In my opinion, a skilled DIY'er will get more satisfaction and be prouder of the product if the DIY'er does it him or herself. I beginner DIY'er might make some mistakes, but they'll learn as they go and in time they'll be pretty good.

But, in sticking with the spirit of this thread, there is a point where a pro could do it quicker calendar wise and of higher quality. I speak of pros. Professionals. They are out there, and they do fantastic work. Unfortunately there are some unsavory contractors out there that seem to be doing a great job of making it difficult for the pros to maintain the reputation of their trade. These unsavory types are called hacks. Amateurs, freshly-minted, newbies, wannabe's. And although most of them may mean well and have the best of intentions, the craftsmanship, business sense, and efficiency just aren't there. And they give us all a bad name.

In a nut shell, I wholeheartedly support the DIY movement. But there is a point where a pro should probably be called, either for safety, or lack of equipment, or if you need to get it done quickly, or you're unsure if DIY'ing it produce the level of quality you want. And if you care about quality and efficiency, you have to stick to your convictions and make the distinction between a pro and a hack, vet out a pro from a pool of 3 or 4, and understand that a pro costs more than a hack.

As an example, I got prices from 4 contractors to refinish my kitchen and dining room floors. All of them had to have insurance and a NJHIC# before I let them in the door. The contractor I chose was the second highest in price out of 4. There was one guy 50% less than the guy I chose, and I threw his number away. The next cheapest had zero references that I could call. So it came down to the two highest. Both had solid references and great recommendations. I chose the lower of those two numbers. And the floor came out better than I imagined.

Last edited by Aggie67; 07-30-2009 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:47 AM   #15
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How much can a diyer save


I agree, many (most) people do not know all the ins & outs that Pro's know
But the problem is finding the true Pro's
I went thru over 6 electricians over a few weeks
Promised estimates on the job - bury main feed - trench already dug
Just lay the pipe & put a new panel in
I never received a single estimate, despite repeated calls
And most of these came recommended by other people
The electrician I got stuck with was a Pro, worked for a large company
I had an open trench & needed the work done, afraid a kid was going to fall in

Same thing with plumbers - 6+, but we did end up with a very good plumber
One guy quoted the job at $10k I wanted copper pipes, not gold
The plumber did the quoted work for $1500 & more work - another $1500
He actually talked me out of work & said it was not needed (repipe all radiators)

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