When Not to DIY

Everyone likes to save money – it’s no wonder we have large home improvement centers that cater to the thousands of DIY (Do It Yourself) home and business owners. But, beware, not all projects are DIY friendly.

Here are two examples of how a DIY project can go bad and how it can actually cost you more in the long run.

The Two Genes and the Ditch Witch

Many years ago I lived on the island of Tierra Verde, FL. We lived in a townhouse that overlooked a seawall with shared boat docks. Unfortunately, the townhouses were quite a distance from the dock and there was no electrical power at the dock. This made cleaning a boat at the end of the day a little difficult and all of the residents started to talk about bringing power down to the docks.

Along the seawall, two boats shared a water source and walk out plank – so it only made sense to share electrical power. Each set of neighbors went about trying to decide how they would bring their shared power to the dock.

Walter and David decided to hire someone to dig the ditch and then they laid the lines to the dock. The cost was about $400.

Gene and Gene (two neighbors with the same name) decided they were going to go the DIY route. They decided to rent a Ditch Witch for $79 and save $321 over what Walter and David spent.

Then came the fateful day the Ditch Witch arrived on the property. Gene and Gene fired up the mighty beast and started to guide it to the desired path. However, this machine had a mind of its own. Within minutes, the Ditch Witch hit a sprinkler line which went off like Old Faithful. With water spewing up into the air, Gene and Gene danced frantically around trying to get to the Ditch Witch.

Before they got it all under control, they hit two water lines and cut into a three-inch telephone trunk and knocked out phone service to the entire complex. Needless to say, they didn’t save the $321. As a matter of fact, they never did tell us what it ended up costing them. To me it was a priceless comedy routine the morning I watched them from my back porch.

The USS Nova Was Not Meant for Flower Power

When I was first married, I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on an automobile. I bought a second-hand four-door Chevy Nova – which we lovingly referred to as the “USS Nova.”

She was a sturdy car – but, a little lacking in the looks department. In addition to the normal wear and tear of an eight-year-old vehicle, there was a deep ten-inch scratch on the back quarter panel which I was bound and determined to fix.

So off I went to my local auto parts store. I dutifully studied all the repair paints. After locating my paint color, I decided on the tiny little bottle of paint with the paintbrush built in the cap. My intension was to only fill in the thin white space of the groove in the scratch.

With a steady hand, I applied the line of paint and waited for it to dry. Now although I got the correct color for my car, I did not factor in eight years of sun fading to the paint. The result was now a long, dark ten-inch line on the back quarter panel.

As I stood back to survey the situation, I decided it just needed a little blending in. So back I went to the auto parts store and returned with a matching can of automobile spray paint. I carefully sprayed along the line. It still looked awkward, so I tried to feather it out by starting in the middle and spraying outward. The result was a big maroon-colored flower-shaped object that stood out like a sore thumb.

Deciding the USS Nova was never meant to sport the flower power look, I then taped off a large 12″ block section and began to spray paint within the tape lines.

When finished, I went from a thin, slightly noticeable ten-inch scratch to a huge off-color 12″ box on the quarter panel of my car. Clearly, my future was not in the auto painting industry.

When to Hire a Professional

So, when does a project cease to be a DIY special and cross the boundary to requiring a paid professional? The first hint should be if you’ve never had any experience with the materials or tools required. Although, you can always check out the impact driver sale at ImpactDriverGuide so that you can reduce the overall cost of your project. The second hint is if you can’t learn it in a 30-minute class at your local home improvement center, it’s probably out of reach.

To all those eager DIY home and business owners, however, I wish you good luck on your next endeavor. I only hope it won’t cost you more than paying a professional in the first place.

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Richard Johnson was the first one to blab on BlabShow. His amazing and informative blabs have boosted our site’s audience and continues to do so.

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