If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that we’re big fans of do-it-yourself projects. Even when I was in my third trimester of pregnancy, I was happily transforming a backyard shed into a cute little office, and we managed to get all 27 of our garden beds planted this spring, even though we had a new baby in April. My husband made a concrete path to get to the backyard office, and he’ll be spending tomorrow building a sandbox for our son while I work on painting the porch we just finished putting on the office. Sometimes it feels like our project list is never-ending.
But I am also learning to step back and consider other options besides the DIY route, and sometimes it just makes more sense to hire someone. We have a 3/4 acre lot, and more than half an acre of it is fenced with six foot wooden fencing. The previous owners put in the fence, but never stained it or treated the wood with anything. It’s very weathered, and ever since we moved in we’ve talked about staining it. To do it ourselves would involve renting a pressure washer and a sprayer for the stain, and buying lots and lots of stain (probably $500 – $700 worth, depending on what we got). Then we would have to find time to get out there and do the project, using rented equipment – which means we’d be on the clock the whole time. With two little boys, we almost never have large chunks of uninterrupted time to devote to a project. Nursing, diaper changes, and snuggles with our baby have to take priority, as do all the things that a three-year-old needs.
So after talking it over, we decided to look into hiring out the fence project. We got a few estimates, and ended up choosing a company that uses a product that will supposedly seal our fence permanently (it comes with a 30 year warranty), as opposed to just coating it with stain. It’s going to cost us about two thousand dollars (gulp). Obviously that’s more expensive than doing it ourselves would have been, but there’s a big convenience factor involved, and it’s hard to put a price tag on that. We don’t have to go rent the equipment, buy the stain, figure out how to use the equipment, and then try to find the hours and hours of time that it would have taken us to wash and stain the huge amount of fencing we have.
We’re still big DIY-ers. We love projects, and we have a lot more planned. Most of them we’re happy to do ourselves, from regular maintenance to appliance repair. Our son is able to “help” with some of them, and we love involving him (he has his own little garden bed this year, with lots of radishes in it). But while I used to have a DIY-at-all-costs mentality, I’m starting to be more flexible on the subject. Part of that is because we’re not broke anymore. As long as we’re frugal most of the time and stretch our dollars as much as we can, we’re able to afford to hire someone occasionally. And another part of it is that I value my time more than I used to. I would rather be with my boys than spend several days sprucing up our fence.
What do you think? I know a lot of my readers are frugal DIY-ers too. What projects do you think are worth hiring out rather than doing yourself… if any?