Building a garage is a costly endeavor. Many homeowners assume that they’ll recover the costs in added value when they sell the house. Others, who don’t see a sale on the horizon, are happy to pay for the added convenience it brings to their lives. In either case, most are looking to nip a little out of the budget where they can. There’s one part of building a garage that costs a lot more than the rest: labor. Construction and labor are the bulk (50-75%!) of your garage budget. Is it realistic to cut labor costs and DIY?

What it takes to DIY

Do it yourself projects are growing in popularity. People are rediscovering the pride of learning something new, and building with their own two hands. DIY projects are great–but a garage is not the project to start on. If all you’re seeing is dollar signs dancing before your eyes, take a deep breath and think again. Garages have to pass very specific codes. You have to be a carpenter, skilled building, and lay the groundwork for any plumbing or electrical wiring that needs to be done. If your DIY experience is limited to knowing when end of the hammer you’re supposed to pick up, building your own garage may not be the best solution for you. If you’ve built your share of shacks in your time and you’re ready for another challenge, keep reading. It might be for you after all.

Where you’ll need a professional’s help

No matter how great you are at following directions, you’re going to need a professional plumber for the pipes and a licensed electrician for the wires. These labor costs cannot be denied. The work has legal requirements that you have to meet. Additionally, even if it wasn’t against code, these are highly skilled jobs. You’re not going to be able to pick up what you need watching YouTube. At the very least, you’ll have to pay these labor costs.

Dangers of a half-done job

If you’re sure that you have what it takes to do it yourself, more power to you. Just be sure that you have enough time as well as talent. Getting a garage finished ASAP should be the priority. As materials sit out for days, weeks, or months, they become weathered. There’s a great chance that something will go wrong with them. If you’re going to start, get ready to finish!

Building your own garage is possible, but not recommended for amateurs. Cutting out half your garage budget is tempting, but you won’t save money in the long run if you rely on shoddy work or let your materials weather in the sun. Remember, you want to build it right!