Contractor vs. Do-It-Yourself

DIY vs Contractor

 You are getting ready to build a home or complete a home project and you are trying to figure out if you should hire a licensed contractor or do the work as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project.

  • In Uintah County a homeowner may obtain a building permit for his/her own home. There are some restrictions and limitations to this.
  • You must be listed on the property deed as an owner of the property. In order to verify ownership, you can bring in a copy of your deed or a copy of the Land Information Report for your property.
  • You must fill out an  Owner/Builder Certification    and sign it in front of a Notary.

Getting Permits
  • Permits vary from one project to another.
  • A  building permit application  must be filled out and signed and then submitted along with all the appropriate documentation.
  • In order to get a permit, you may need to submit plans to the Building Division for review.
  • A contractor, that is familiar with our process may be able to submit all the necessary documentation and obtain a permit faster than a homeowner, who is less familiar with our processes. A homeowner may spend more time and effort getting the application and documentation together in order to obtain a permit.

Cost vs Liability
  • It may appear that doing the work yourself is cheaper than hiring a contractor. There are, however, certain risks involved.
  • If your property or your neighbor’s property is damaged over the course of the do it yourself project and you have to replace property, the responsibility for repair and replacement is yours.  If you use a licensed and insured contractor, the contractor’s insurance should cover any liability.
  •  Most projects requiring permits will also require inspections to insure that the construction meets the building code.  A licensed contractor is responsible for completing the project according to code. As a homeowner completing the project yourself, you could incur additional costs if portions of your project had to be redone in order to meet the building code.
  • Typically, contractors provide a one year warranty on materials and labor.

 What to Consider
If you decide to hire a contractor, here are some things to consider:
  • Get three bids in writing from different contractors.
  • Get references and talk to them.
  • Use the  Better Business Bureau    to look up a contractor.
  • Get proof that the contractor is insured and bonded. Make sure the insurance policy is current.
  • Verify that your contractor is properly  licensed.
  • Insist that the contractor obtain all necessary building permits.
  • Insist that the contractor give you a receipt for your payment.
  • Check that addresses and phone numbers are legitimate on business cards.

What to Avoid
  • Never pay cash.
  • Avoid contractors that demand full payment before doing any work.
  • Avoid contractors that don't want to obtain the proper permits.

What to Include in the Contract
After selecting your contractor, get a written contract detailing the work to be performed, the costs associated with each task, a timeframe with estimated start and end finish dates and protection against liens from subcontractors.  In addition the contract should include:
  • Contractor's letterhead.
  • The Company's  name, address, phone numbers and license numbers.
  • The  consumer’s name, phone number, and address where work is to be performed.
  • Date the contract is signed.
  • Payment schedule
  • Termination clause.
  • Whether  permits will be obtained and who will be responsible for “pulling” the permits.
  • Clear   statement of work that is included and excluded as it pertains to your project.