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Transcript: DIY or hire a pro?

Anchor Intro: When it comes to home improvement, some people are so handy, they'd never think of hiring of a pro. Others are all thumbs, so they always call for help. The rest of us fall somewhere in between. But how do you decide when a contractor is the way to go? Bankrate.com has some tips.

Voice over 1: You might think that a contractor like Scott Hatfield hates do-it-yourselfers. After all, they rob him of work. Or do they?

SOT: "I had a customer who decided he was going to tile his bathroom. So instead of tiling from the center out to the walls, he tiled out to the walls to the center and they didn't line up in the middle. So I had to rip all the tiles off the wall and re-sheetrock and retile the bathroom."

Voice over 2: So before you attempt to tackle a project, ask yourself some questions. First, do you really have the skill? Go online and read about the project, consider what can go wrong. Talk to more experienced friends, even hardware store staff.

Voice over 3: Next, compare the costs. Labor is 25 percent to 50 percent of most projects, so you can save serious money. But that's not all there is to it:

SOT: "You need to evaluate if you have the right equipment: Are you going to have to rent tools? If so, you're going to have to add that cost in. Also keep in mind that contractors might get better deals on supplies than you might be able to."

Voice over 4: And then there's something that most do-it-yourselfers don't consider: potential health-care costs. According to the CDC, 35,000 people ended up in the ER last year from nail-gun accidents alone.

Voice over 5: So if in doubt, at least consider hiring help. There are Web sites these days that make it much easier than in years past to find the right pro at the right price.

Standup: Bottom line? Doing it yourself is definitely the way to save the most when it's time to repair or improve -- unless you get in over your head. So do some research and avoid starting a project that you can't finish. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: Dec. 31, 2008
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