When We’ve Opted to Pay the Pros

posted by Andrea | 09/3/2014
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pay the pros

Although Dave and I really love saving a bunch of money on DIY projects, there have been many times over the past 8 years when we’ve eagerly opted to shell out our hard-earned cash to pay a pro to do the dirty work for us.

Our decisions to pay someone else are usually based on safety (either for ourselves or our home) but sometimes on convenience or the fact that we simply don’t have the skills to do a particular task well.

I will say that EVERY SINGLE TIME we’ve paid someone to do something for us, we are thrilled with the results and always feel like it’s worth our money to save boatloads of time, energy, stress… and potential injuries.

So when have we opted to pay the pros?

Below, I’ve listed several situations when we regularly hire professionals. I’ve also tried to estimate the rough out-of-pocket costs for most of the services; and for those in the area, I linked to the company websites as we would feel very confident recommending any of these companies.

NOTE: none of these services were discounted in anyway due to my blog. Most of these people don’t even know what a blog is 🙂

Tree Removal:

We’ve lived in our home for almost 4 years now, and we’ve already cut down 11 very large, dying, over-grown trees and 10 smaller, gross-looking trees (my opinion!)

We still have almost 20 pine trees to cut down yet (they are all getting very old, starting to die from the inside, and shedding needles like crazy) and we’re hoping to tackle this over the next 2 springs.

Why we hired the pros:

Tree trimming is extremely expensive — but also extremely dangerous since many of the trees we removed were well over 100 years old and VERY close to our house. We never even considered doing this task ourselves, but instead, opted to hire professionals from day one.

The company we went with is insured and very skilled, so although we’ve never had any issues, we know their insurance would take care of any problems if necessary.

Cost:

To date, we’ve spent over $4000 on tree removal and stump grinding (doing a little more each year) and we have about $2000 more to go. Ouch!

The company we use is All You Need Tree and Emergency Services.

tree removal

Roof Cleaning:

When we purchased our home, the back of the roof (north side) was very dirty and quite covered with a moldy looking substance. We asked about it in the home inspection and the inspector said it wasn’t a big deal… yet.

The inspector said we’d definitely want to get it cleaned off within the next couple of years though, otherwise it could start to eat away at the shingles, resulting in a much pricier roof repair.

Why we hired the pros:

About a year after we moved in, we started looking into options to clean our roof and we realized it would cost us well over $100 in supplies — plus hours and hours of our time.

Our roof is quite steep, Dave is not fond of heights, and I was pregnant — not a great DIY combo! Also, everything we read about “DIY roof cleaning” made it sound like there was way more potential for damage than either one of us was comfortable with. And apparently, if you don’t do it the right way, you could damage the shingles and cause a potential leak.

We got a one-year warranty on the cleanliness of our roof (in case some of the staining persisted — which it did not) and I could rest assured knowing my unborn child would still have a father around after she was born!

Cost and Company:

The total cost to clean the roof or our home, garage, and outbuilding was right around $500 — not bad considering it was done in about 3 hours and still looks AMAZING!

The company we use is Roof Shampoo.

roof before

roof after

Pest Control:

Since living in our current home, we’ve had bats, mice, and bees — I know, gross! We took care of the mice ourselves. However, when it came to the bats and the bees, we called in the pros.

Why we hired the pros:

Everything we’ve read about bat removal says that it’s crucial to close up the entry points (and then exit points) at the right time of year to avoid trapping baby bats inside your attic (YIKES!) and since we had no idea where they were coming in, we knew we had to seek out a professional for help.

Also, we don’t deal with bees… ever!

Both companies we hired had warranties in case the problems persisted, and both had insurance in case something crazy happened.

Cost and Companies:

The bat removal was $425 (including the initial inspection) and that was considerably less than many other companies we looked into.

The bee removal was $150. We were too frantic to worry about getting any other estimates since the bees were coming into Nora’s room and the guy could come out that day!

We went with Advantage Animal Control for the bats, and Schultz Pest and Radon Services for the bees.

bee exterminator

Carpet Cleaning:

Our old house was almost ALL carpeted, so this was more of a need back then. However, we’ve had the carpet in our current house cleaned once a year just to help it last longer. Even after installing all our reclaimed barn wood floors, we still have carpet in the living room, both bedrooms upstairs, and the play room.

The upstairs carpeting is new as of this year, so we haven’t had it cleaned yet. However the living room carpeting is still here from when we moved in. We will eventually replace it (once we finish renovating the living room) but for now, it’s a nice neutral color so I’m OK with it (as long as it’s clean!)

Why we hired the pros:

I know how dirty carpet can get — and I am totally grossed out by dirty ‘fabrics’ (which is why we mainly have hardwood flooring). I have no desire to try and clean my carpeting with a small rentable unit as I’ve seen first hand how incredibly clean the pros can get my carpet — especially the ground in “stains” that they magically remove.

It’s important to me to know that my floors are regularly cleaned (especially with all our house projects) so this has always been budgeted into our finances every year.

Cost and Company:

The yearly cost to clean our carpeting has been around $150 and it’s totally finished within an hour.

The company we use is TLC Carpet Cleaning.

All Plumbing Needs:

We will try a lot of things ourselves — plumbing is not one of them, for the obvious reason that we have NO idea what we’re doing 🙂

Why we hired the pros:

Water is a BIG deal — especially when it’s leaking inside your walls or in your basement. We don’t ever want to deal with faulty plumbing so we have ALWAYS hired out all plumbing projects.

Cost and Company:

It’s hard to estimate the cost as we’ve had our plumber out so often these past 4 years… but it’s expensive!

The company we use is DeVree & Sons Plumbing and Electric.

All Auto Services:

Dave is quite handy with our lawn tractors, but when it comes to our vehicles, the only thing we do is wash them and put gas in them. All other maintenance and repairs are handled by a pro.

Why we hired the pros:

Plain and simple… we have NO idea what we’re doing with cars!

Cost and Company:

We pay about $35-$45 per vehicle for a few oil changes each year, and then any other repairs necessary throughout the year.

The company we use is Rozema Car Care.

Obviously, all of these expenses add up over time — but I’m sure many homeowners (and car owners) will attest to the fact that there is ALWAYS something you can be doing to fix, improve, or maintain!

Sometimes it’s hard to write the check… but we know that by spending a little upfront on maintenance, we should eventually save A LOT down the road.

For example, $4000 for tree removal is somewhat hard to swallow — but if one of the dead trees fell on our house, it would cost SO much more than $4000, not to mention the inconvenience and the spike in our insurance rates.

And $500 for roof cleaning might sound ridiculous, but it sounds a lot better than a $20,000 new roof!

Also, we’d much rather shell out $45 for an oil change or other smaller car repairs to prolong the life of our vehicles and (hopefully) be able to use them for many more years (Dave is going on 12 years with his car from college!)

I’m sure there are more examples I could give — but this will do for now.

Oh, and one more thing I want to mention… many of you probably have never heard of any of the companies we’ve used, and that’s what we like. We try REALLY hard to seek out small business owners (often one-man companies or family-owned business) because we’d much rather give them our money than a huge national chain. Plus, I know from personal experience that small businesses with everything riding on their success will often do a much better job for a much more reasonable price.

When have you decided to pay the pros? Were you happy with that decision or not?

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25 comments

  1. Nicole

    09/04/2014

    Unfortunately, I did NOT marry a handy husband, so we almost always call the pros. Luckily, because we live in a condo, we are only responsible for the interior projects. It’s actually easier to list the things we don’t call the pros for: painting projects, built-in closet installation (the Container Store Elfa system is totally worth the extra expense–it installs SO easily, I did it while pregnant!), faucet installation, ceiling fan installation, carpet cleaning (we own a steamer so I use it on our nasty carpets that we left in the bedtooms. I SO wish we’d put the new hardwoods throughout the house when we first moved in, but we only did the living areas. I HATE the carpets!!!)

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well I don’t particularly love carpeting either — however, I am glad we have it in our living room (especially now that Simon is crawling). Maybe once we’re done with crawling kids we’ll switch to all hardwood 🙂

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  2. Linda

    09/04/2014

    Thank you for posting your sources. I have already called the bee source you listed as we have bees in the frame work of one of our windows. Yes, we tried spraying ourselves but now a professional is needed. He is coming tomorrow!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yay — so glad you contacted him. We were very happy with his services and how fast he could come. I guess you get used to “rush orders” when bees are involved!

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  3. Amanda

    09/03/2014

    1. We have a cedar sided house. We get carpenter bees that drill which then adds to other birds and bigger things trying to get at them – we pay an exterminator every spring – they do a contract that if there are any issues from Spring until late fall, they’ll come out and spray again as necessary. ~$200/yr

    2. Also on the wood house front – it needs stained every 5ish years… we *could* do it ourselves, but the time and energy it would take… no thanks. It took a full crew of guys 2 days to do it, so I can’t imagine what it would’ve taken my husband who works full time, and I had a 1yr old at the time, so I couldn’t really be climbing ladders to stain the house (my husband did however strip and stain the deck himself, which took a few weekends, but it saved us a bunch off the cost of the staining) ~$2800, but we won’t have to do it for awhile, and honestly, worth every penny

    3. Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC – I mean, the reality is, this is just not an area that we have the skills. Thankfully, my husband is in the worship band at church, and 2 of the members are electricians – so what little work we’ve needed done, they’ve helped us with – and my husband is an electrical engineer, so he has helped which made the cost next to nothing beyond supplies. For HVAC, we have our guy come out once a year, less than $100 and worth it (he also has saved us a few times when we’ve had “emergencies” – same guy my parents have been using for years, so he will usually just tack me on to the end of his day when we have an urgent matter (he lives only a few miles away), and plumbing, thankfully we haven’t really had anything (except a garbage disposal, which my husband did himself), but we’re about to do a bathroom remodel, and we’ll be calling in someone who knows what they’re doing.

    I’m thankful that my brother is a mechanic although he no longer works as one – he’s saved me a bunch of money on little jobs (he doesn’t have a lift, so he can only do things like oil, brakes, etc.). Also, my dad has worked in construction for many years and is a DIY pro. When we’ve needed help on drywall and such, he’s more than willing to come over and lend a hand – I feel better because I know my dad knows what he’s doing, and my husband is also able to learn from him. So while we don’t really do these tasks ourselves, usually a meal and a beer are good enough for payment to them, as long as we take care of getting the supplies.

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    Amanda Reply:

    Oh, and windows were originally on our list for this year, but as we get closer to fall, and I just started my 3rd trimester, I’m guessing those will be pushed to next year… but that will be done by a professional. We have a full 2 story house, and while not many windows, the ones we have are big. It’s just better to let the guys who know what they’re doing handle it.

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    Andrea Reply:

    ah yes — we’ve been pushing many projects back to spring now that Dave is in school again. I guess we just had to much on our list this summer. Oh well, there’s always next year 🙂

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  4. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    09/03/2014

    We, too, try to do as much work as we can ourselves to save money. However, like you said, there comes a time when you need a professional. One such professional we have hired is an electrician. Safety first, right? It was well worth the fee to have the confidence of knowing that our home is safe. Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t always the wisest.

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  5. Stephanie

    09/03/2014

    We finished our basement a few years ago, did it all ourselves (except plumbing – had a family member who is a plumber do it). The one part we DID pay the pros for is the drywall/mudding/taping. Didn’t want to carry all the drywall down the steps, and mudding and taping is a job that if not done right, is totally obvious.

    As far as car maintenance goes— part of the deal of getting our license as a teenager was learning how to change the oil. I can say it has been SEVERAL years since I have changed my own oil, thanks to hubby taking that job over when we got married. Such an easy thing to learn, and has saved us oodles of money.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yeah, that’s one more to add to my list — we don’t do our own drywall either 🙂

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    Tane Reply:

    the top edging around the bathroom and laundry cupboards took my hubby and I all day and I still couldn’t get the angles right. We gave up and 2 hrs the following Saturday is all it took the tradies apprentices (Saturday work was practice time and a little spending money for them.) All for helping people learn and earn some play money.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — isn’t this how it always goes!

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  6. Laura

    09/03/2014

    Would you mind sharing when you purchased the mat for your farmhouse sink?? I have an oversize sink and cannot find a large enough mat!

    Also, how much longer for the wardrobe reveal?? Can’t wait!!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Laura,
    here’s the post where I talk all about our sink (and the mat — which is actually just a bathtub mat that I cut to fit!)

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  7. Renee Spindle

    09/03/2014

    My husband and I have a standing agreement that we always call a plumber. He travels frequently for work, and this is one area where we have usually needed professional help when he cannot be at home. We save money in other areas around the house.

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    Andrea Reply:

    sounds like a good agreement to me 🙂

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  8. Debbie

    09/03/2014

    We considered installing our rain gutters ourselves after moving into our house. We’re thankful we didn’t because it’s very obvious the difference in quality of gutters used by professionals vs those sold in home improvement stores. I also remember reading about your closet organizer and asked you who installed it. Too bad for me it’s a local business in your area. I researched all about closet organizers. There was no way I was was willing to shell out the kind of money some of those companies asked for. Instead I used a company where I designed our closet myself on-line, they ship the product to our home free of shipping, and my husband installed it in a matter of hours. I couldn’t be happier for going this route instead of paying someone else to do it. Love our walk-in closet! It does help to weigh the pros and cons according to your own abilities, finances, and time before deciding whether to hire a pro or DIY.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Would love it if you could share the company you used. Our walk in closet needs a complete overhaul!

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    Debbie Reply:

    Cheryl, we used Easy Closets at easyclosets.com. The key is making sure your measurements are good. You can also talk to a representative if you run into questions, and they’re super helpful. I loved the different color options available, and all the accessories you can choose to add. We added soft close for all our drawers and a valet pole, like Andrea’s. You can also choose to add crown molding, but my husb said he’ll buy it himself. It’s been 3 months and we still don’t have crown molding, but I guess I don’t mind :-)/

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    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, exactly! We always do our own closets — so that was a fun opportunity to have it done for us with more bells and whistles too 🙂

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  9. Sara

    09/03/2014

    Curious what renovation plans you have for your living room? 🙂 Totally agree with paying the pros for the big stuff!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Sara — we’re getting a new front door later this fall (hopefully) as well as a new window on the living room. Then we’ll get new carpeting, paint, and probably get a new couch. I’m guessing we’ll do all of this within the next 2 years… but who knows. Our living room looks fine right now… and we have 2 other bathrooms that I’d REALLY like to get my hands on ASAP, so the living room might have to wait 🙂

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  10. Erin @ Magenta & Lime

    09/03/2014

    Love this! We’re starting to learn that there are some things that should just be done by the pros. For instance, we’re hoping to get a new front door and thinking it would be wise to have someone install it for us!

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  11. Shambray

    09/03/2014

    We are getting ready to hire for tree removal. Also, front door installation. We did the back door but the front has a lot more complications.

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