Home maintenance: Choose the right person for the right job

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

While there are a simple DIY jobs around the house that you can tackle yourself, more complex jobs should be left to the experts

There’s no better feeling than owning your own home. Unfettered by the restrictions of a landlord, you can paint your home any colour you like, you can renovate inside and out and, perhaps most importantly, you don't have to wait for things to be repaired.

The downside is that every home needs to be maintained and that maintenance needs to be carried out at fairly regular intervals. This of course costs money and, if you're planning on doing the repairs yourself, time.

We don't want to sound sexist, but most men like to think they are handymen. However there are those ‘wannabes’ who shouldn't legally be allowed to hold a screwdriver, never mind actually attempting any form of maintenance work around the home. These men, who invariably walk around surveying their homes for damage, are prone to whipping out their handy cordless drills at any given moment (we refer to this action as the ‘gunslinger move’) and trying to repair anything and everything in sight without the faintest idea of what they are doing.

We apologise in advance to anyone who is offended by this nugget of information, but the sad truth is you either can or you can't do some things and in this instance, those who can't (despite years of practice) should leave well alone and call in a professional to handle the job, regardless of how easy it appears to fix the problem. The trick is finding the right person for the right job.

Beware of those who maintain they can fix everything – scam artists are everywhere and the handyman field is no exception. And, judging by posts on social media pages, many DIY-challenged people around the country are falling prey to these conmen every day. In other words, if you have an electrical problem, call in an electrician; if plumbing is your problem, contact a plumber. Don't assume that the bloke who does woodwork as a hobby in his back yard workshop will be able to manufacture and install your dream kitchen and certainly never allow anyone who doesn't have the requisite skill set to lay your laminate flooring or tiles.

As the adage correctly states, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately this doesn't necessarily mean that you won't end up forking out thousands for a substandard job. Anyone who has been caught out will tell you - shop around; only deal with specialists and don't hand over the full sum charged by the workman before the job is completed to your satisfaction. Remember there's a good chance you’ll actually end up saving money by using the more expensive option because repairing a botched job is going to see your costs escalate.

The best way to ensure that a job is completed to standard is by employing someone who has a solid track record. Ask friends and family for recommendations and if that isn't an option, ask the contractors you approach for references and photographs of completed work.

Think about it this way, you wouldn't allow an unqualified backstreet mechanic to work on your Lamborghini, so why would you allow an inexperienced contractor to work on your home?

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