DIY — it has become a sort of trend to get into your overalls (or whatever you wear when you’re getting your hands dirty) and take on a fixer upper project yourself. Whether it’s a home improvement project, buying clothing or furniture at the consignment store and taking it from underwhelming to amazing, or even writing your own memoirs, it feels like an accomplishment when you see the finished product and say to yourself “hey, I did that.”
Doing it yourself is a genius idea in many situations. Painting a small room, putting together a desk, self-installing a cable box or modem, for instance, are all projects where doing it on your own is the wise choice in most cases. Most people don’t want to pay someone $100 (or more) for something they can do themselves, with minimal equipment costs, in a matter of a few hours.
On the other hand, there’s also those tasks and projects that may seem like a good idea to take on yourself, but when you add in all of the costs for materials and supplies, your time, and also, the potential for you to hurt yourself or damage other items in the process, it’s better to just pay someone else to complete the task. Here are a few of these projects (which are in no particular order).
1. Plumbing and Electrical Work
Buzz is usually not a sound you want to hear coming out of your electrical outlets. But hey, it happens and if you’re in that boat, it’s best to call an electrician. Electrical injuries cause 1,000 deaths annually and on top of that, another 3,000 admissions to burn centers are related to electrical injuries. Unless you’re a trained electrician, it’s probably wise to channel Ben Franklin some other way.
Broken toilets and leaky faucets are not only a nuisance, they can increase a water bill dramatically. While examining the anatomy of your shower, it may look like it’s a simple system you can fix on your own, but unless you’re a trained plumber, fixing it yourself is probably not worth the potential resulting waterfalls in your bathroom.
2. Legal Matters
Lawyers are expensive. Depending on your location, the type of legal representation you are seeking, and the caliber of the lawyer, you can shell out anywhere between four and six figures for legal representation. For instance, the cost of an attorney for a contract, like a basic prenup, is generally between $1,200 and $2,400 and a bankruptcy lawyer generally cost at least $1,000. In a civil automobile case, Court Statistics report the cost of a lawyer will run you between $150 and $375 per hour (for a total cost of anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000.)
Although lawyers can cost a fortune, hiring a lawyer is often a necessary (unless, of course, you’re Matt Damon or Julia Roberts.) Taking legal matters into your own hands can be catastrophic if you end up with an unenforceable contract, or worse.
3. Dangerous Home Improvements
Certain home improvements involve a level of skill that is not characteristic of just any DIYer. Roofing, for instance, is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., with fatality and injury rates that are substantially higher than the average worker (more than 10 times higher.) Considering the level of danger, it’s probably not a good idea for you to get up on top of your home and install or repair your roof.
The same applies for large tree removal. Not only is it dangerous to remove a giant tree from your yard, with an average cost of $182 per tree according to the Home Depot affiliate, Red Beacon, it may even be cheaper to pay someone else to do it in some cases. Unless you have a chainsaw lying around, you’ll have to rent one for around $30. Then, add in additional fees for rope, an ax, and a ladder. The combined cost of all of these materials, your time, and the element danger is often higher than the $182.
4. Hair Cuts and Styling
Some people can absolutely cut their own hair really well. For those looking for a shaved-head, a single-length, blunt cut, or a trim, cutting your own hair may work out okay (maybe not.)
However, for more advances cuts like fades, layers, or advanced styles like hair extensions, texturing, perms, or relaxers, it’s probably best to leave these styles to the professionals. Professional hair care can cost anywhere between $40 (usually less for men) for a basic haircut all the way to $10,000 for hair extensions in a high-end salon. It’s expensive, but whether we like it or not, our appearance is part of our first impression and most of us don’t want to meet people with an uneven haircut.
5. Medical or Dental Work
The internet is a haven of information. You can find out virtually anything you want to know. Medical websites publish information on basically every disease and condition known to man, and you can check your symptoms against listed symptoms to see if you possibly have illness A or sickness B.
Some websites even have symptom checkers, where you can enter your symptoms into a database and see a list of possible diagnoses. You can attempt to treat yourself for the most part, although this is usually a bad idea.
Some people even try to treat their own dental conditions. The Internet is flooded with information on dental problems and ailments, and even people explaining how to extract teeth at home.
For the most part, it’s best to just shell out the money and pay a medical professional for any medical, dental, and chiropractic care. The Internet is a big place, and there’s a huge margin for error with self-diagnosing. Your safest and best option is to leave it to the pros.