Task Hiring

Some specialized tasks may be better left to professionals. While we encourage you to attempt as much of your project as you want, if you feel like you're in over your head, it may make sense to hire. Specific experience and proper equipment often allow professionals to do a job faster, more efficiently, and with fewer errors than you can, and you may find the cost is less than you expect. Let your own interests, skills, time allotment, and budget determine if you want to hire or not.

Building professionals cover the spectrum from highly skilled, enthusiastic practitioners to scam artists. Your hiring decisions will be based on a combination of factors, including the personality of the person you are considering. Do you get along with this person? Does he or she seem easy to talk with, open, honest, and forthright? If you are bringing particular values to the project — ecological awareness, attention to detail, or esthetics — does this person share or respect your values? Is he or she easy to reach, organized, and punctual? If a gut feeling attracts you to a particular professional or warns you away, listen to your instincts.

Experience is another important factor you will need to consider before you hire anyone. Someone with experience usually makes fewer errors, works faster, and uses materials effectively. But not always. On specialty projects like straw bale homes, someone who has performed the same set of standardized tasks hundreds of times may not be who you need. You need someone who can think, plan, and act to achieve particular goals. Ask to see pictures of the professional's work, or go and visit projects he or she has completed. Make sure you understand what kind of experience he or she has had and that it meets your needs.

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