Do it yourself or Hire a Contractor / Remodeling Company?

We are aware that there are a lot of talented “Do-It-Yourselfers”, and may be you are one of them.  However, a lot of work goes into a basic home remodeling project, and managing it often loses its appeal when you begin to experience all the moving parts.

If you decide to go it alone, here are the questions you will be answering:

  1. Who will design my project?
  2. What materials will I use and are they the right ones?
  3. When should I order the materials to get them in one time and who will accept delivery at my building?
  4. Who will keep all my paperwork in order?
  5. Who is going to do the construction? How much supervision is required on my part?
  6. Who will do the touch-up work? What about warranties and repairs?

If these questions seem to be daunting or overwhelming, for that we are here. You don’t have to go it alone.  At A to Z renovation,  design and remodeling is what we do every day. We are aware of all the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.  Our goal is to take what can be a stressful process and make it as hassle-free as possible.  Please do not take our words for it, instead listen to what our customers say.

  1. Who will design my project                                                                                                                             Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

In order to accurately specify the materials needed and properly construct it, your project will require precise measurements and drawings to scale it. Typically, design/build firms have trained designers as staff that will determine whether plans for your project can be crafted by an in-house designer or require architectural drawings. For this many companies have architects as staff or close affiliations with these professionals, hence finding one for the project with proper credentials should not be a problem.

Do it Yourself:

Unless you have formal design training, it is unlikely that you will be able to craft design plans yourself. It is possible that you may have ideas of what you would like to go, where and how you would like things to look, but translating those concepts onto paper is another matter. You can invest in various different software packages for your PC or Mac, but you will have to learn it well enough to prepare working drawings. It is obvious that you will have to hire a designer or architect to create the design plans. This process will require interviewing and due diligence on your part.

  1. What materials will I use and are they the right ones?

Remodeling Company / Professional Contract

After your project is properly drawn, you will need to choose the many products for it. And this can range from dozens to hundreds – yes hundreds – depending on the scope of the project.  Always remember that with each product also come choices of color, type of material, style, size, etc. Working with a design/build firm generally provides you one of two opportunities. Either you will have a designer who will take you to many stores and showrooms to help you make selections, providing guidance along the way, or if you hire a firm that has a show-room, most if not all of the selections can be made in one place.

Do it Yourself:

First, create a list of everything you need; next, decide what basic styles you like e.g., traditional vs. contemporary; then start shopping to see all those choices. There are different stores and specialty showrooms where materials can be purchased according to your need for the remodeling project. You can also visit the major chain home stores, appliance stores, tile show-rooms, etc. And more of that, there is always the Internet.  Even if you go to a large stores, you will have to contend with numerous different salespeople, of varying skills, training and motives. These salespersons will always try to sell you on what they think is best for you. Keeping track of each item you select is important to make sure that it coordinates from a design perspective and will also fit with your design.

  1. When should I order the materials to get them in on time and who will accept delivery at my building?

Remodeling Company / Professional Contract


When your materials list gets prepared, the design/build firm will order your various products and often find out lead times so that you can be advised for something out of stock or has an inordinately long delivery time. If they have a purchasing department, they will track these orders which are supposed to be received.

You must be least assured that you work with a design/build firm that has a showroom, warehouse or storage facilities, so that your materials can be delivered to the company and brought to the project site when needed. At the very least, the design/build firm will be held responsible for accepting deliveries and processing any returns due to damages, missing parts or improper shipments.

Do it Yourself:

Some of your selections will be point of sale purchases; meaning you will walk out of the store with them the day you purchase them. Undoubtedly, many products will have to ordered. The stores will place some of the orders for you. Others, especially online purchases will have to made of your  own. Thus purchasing can be cumbersome. Hence, keeping track of what’s in or our of stock  and following lead times, requires a lot of attention to detail and dedication on your part.

Some of your selections will be point of sale purchases; meaning you will walk out of the store with them the day you purchase them. Undoubtedly, many products will have to ordered. Some of the orders will be placed by stores on behalf of you. Others, especially online purchases, you will make on your own. Thus purchasing can be cumbersome.  Moreover, keeping track of what’s in, or out of stock and following lead times, requires a lot of attention to detail and dedication on your part.


  1. Who will keep all my paperwork in order?

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

Whether you live in a privately owned house, a co-operative apartment or a condo, some level of paperwork is likely to be required for your home improvement project. You may also be required to obtain various permits and/or submit plans to a board of directors. A good design/build firm will have personnel trained in this area to know what you need and how to take care of it. They will also be able to assist in getting documents needed for project building.

Do it Yourself:

Research is the first step here. You will need to contact your city or town buildings department and decipher the legalese in their codes. If you own a co-operative or condo, you will also need to get information from your building manager to determine your building’s requirements. After that you need to fill out forms, draft responses to questions, coordinate all of the requisite licenses, insurance documents, etc. and accordingly submit plans to get approval for your project.

  1. Who is going to do the construction? How much supervision is required on my part?

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

The whole premises behind the design/ build approach is that the same company that designs the project builds it as well. The main benefit of this is that everyone works in concert right from the beginning of the process. When the teams have the opportunity to collaborate (and it should be before ground is broken), it reduces confusion. Also, the design/build firm is responsible for making sure all the necessary people connected in the trade such carpenters, electricians, plumbers etc. performs job properly. Additionally, the firm is responsible for keeping track of costs and paying the people working on the job.

Do it Yourself:

It is unlikely that you will do any major remodeling with your own two hands. So, presuming that you are not the ultimate “do-it-yourselfer,” you have a major choice to make regarding construction. You can hire a general contractor that will do the construction and hire all the other people related to trade, probably from subcontractors’ list. The benefit of this is that the general contractor will typically supervise the construction. On the other hand, you can hire various different trade persons, manage them all, direct and keep track of their payments. Either way, except to do a lot of due diligence when hiring the people that will be working in your home.  It is obvious that you have heard the horror stories and have seen the exposes on TV, so be careful.  Check all the licenses of the people you hire and see how long they have been in the business under the company name they have given. Contractors tend to go out of business and reopen under a new name and license number if too many complaints get lodged against them under a given license.

  1. How many projects are you currently are working on?

Remodeling Company / Professional Contractor:

It is seen that after every modeling project there are some touch-ups need to be made, whether it is a scratch to be repaired, painting to be cleaned up, a broken handle, or what have you. It is not unusual to have a punch list several items long. Also, despite the best intentions and hardest work of quality trades people, mistakes occur and things do break. If you work with a reputable design/build firm, having the touch-ups done in a timely manner should not be a problem. Furthermore, a good firm will warranty their work – the better ones up to five years  – and make repairs if problems occur within the warranty period. The reason is that most design/build firms are longer lasting and not fly-by-night operations and tend to take more pride in the final outcome of their projects.

Do it Yourself:

Failing to complete a job is by far the biggest complaint generally homeowners have against contractors. Getting them to come back to “touch-up” or repair the job after it is paid for in full is nearly impossible.  Depending upon whether you hired a General Contractor or all of the trades people yourself, you will have an even bigger challenge getting your punch list done if you have to locate several people.  And, rest assured, one will definitely blame another and deny responsibility for a repair that needs to be made. It is seen that most contractors do not guarantee their work. If they do, make sure that they are in business long enough to convince you that they will be there for you in the future.



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