DIY vs. Professional Contractors – Finding Affordable Help

Need to cosmetically upgrade faded paint, chipped walls, scratched floors or heavily worn carpets or even remodel a rental?

There’s the do-it-yourself method and then there’s professional help; not surprisingly, the latter is getting more affordable.

I was having a conversation the other day with a designer/contractor who is also a skilled electrician. Business has been slow for him, especially with the lull in the building boom. He finds that customers are calling more often for a service estimate than for a service appointment.

Competition for work is fierce. As a licensed and bonded professional, he can only reduce his fee so much before he ends up losing money. He counted a variety of insurance bills he must pay to run his business smoothly. Lately, he has just been breaking even and willing to take on more smaller, side jobs.

These professionals are everywhere and the best place to find them is actually while they are working. I found a team of licensed handymen working on a residential house in my neighborhood. I saw their truck and took down their phone number. I approached them one day and asked for their business card. Their quoted rate was unbeatable. I followed up with a visit to the homeowner and asked about their work quality. He gave them a thumbs up. Now, I’ve hired them on a project-by-project basis for many of the properties I manage.

Overall, the company is happy for the extra work.

Other great places to peruse help include: Craigslist, Angie’s List  and the Better Business Bureau.

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