Outsourcing Home Maintenance: Costs and Benefits

With a rise in services such as Angie’s List, Thumbtack and Zaarly, today you can outsource just about any home maintenance task. But should you? Before picking up the phone and shelling out the cash for maintenance help, consider the pros and cons of outsourcing home maintenance versus doing it yourself. You may find the cost is completely worth it. Or, you may decide to save instead.

If you currently pay for a home maintenance service you’re not alone. A recent Bankrate survey found more than three in five homeowners use at least one recurring home maintenance provider.

These services don’t come cheap. Homeowners pay an average of $2,000 a year for maintenance services, according to the Bankrate survey. Zillow estimates the average is closer to $3,000. This is based on its review of the six most common projects hired for on Thumbtack. These services include “carpet cleaning, yard work, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning and pressure washing.”

Pros to Outsourcing Home Maintenance

Cost aside, hiring help to complete home maintenance tasks comes with several advantages. One of the greatest is more free time. When you hire a housekeeper, lawn service or tree trimmer, it’s one more task taken off your to-do list. You don’t have to remember to complete the chore or make time to get it done. You write a check and move to the next item on your list.

By hiring experts, you may avoid some of the lesser-known pitfalls of a project. You can also avoid dangerous work. Gutter cleaning, for example, involves climbing high ladders. Heavy equipment and an expert eye are often needed for tree-trimming. Outsourcing these tasks can make great sense for many people.

Outsourcing a project also puts the responsibility of mistakes on the contractor’s shoulders. If you take on a maintenance project and something goes wrong, fixing the problem falls on you. So do the extra costs and headaches. If errors are made by your contractor, they typically fix the issue.

Cons to Outsourcing Home Maintenance

Maybe the greatest negative to outsourcing your home maintenance services remains cost. For example, on average, homeowners spend around $285 a month on housekeeping and $144 a month on lawn care. Those month-over-month costs add up.

If you pay for home maintenance at the expense of building an emergency fund, experts advise you reconsider the monthly spend. The funds you put toward outsourcing maintenance tasks could go toward savings.

Inviting a contractor into you home also has its inconveniences. You may need to rearrange your schedule to meet the person at your home. Or, make yourself available to answer questions. Perhaps you have to find a new location pets while housekeeping works. These things can pull you away from other tasks.

Also, consider the project may not be done exactly as you would do it yourself. And, while the vast majority of contractors are good, there is also a chance an unscrupulous team will leave you in the lurch. Do your research before hiring maintenance help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their process and for references.

Your home mortgage, insurance, taxes and maintenance costs all add up, making homeownership an often pricey venture. When making the decision to outsource home maintenance projects or do them yourself, consider the costs and benefits. Then, make the decision that’s best for you.

 

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