Since spring, I’ve been putting off having my house painted, wavering between, “I can do this myself,” and “Maybe I should hire a professional crew.”
I see the same mental tug-of-war when I’m talking with hospital marketers. They know their Web site needs a lot of work. “At the very least,” they say, “it needs a ‘new coat of paint’ to freshen it up. But there are some areas where it could use a lot more focus from a professional.”
So when do you decide to take the DIY approach and when do you hire an expert? In my case, I decided to hire professional painters and, by chance, attended a kick-off for a project with a new client the same week. I found some strikingly common themes for making that difficult DIY vs. hire decision, namely that the professionals:
Accurately estimate the scope of the project.
Sure, I knew I needed to power wash, scrape, prime, put on two coats of paint, trim, and clean up. But it wasn’t until I saw a crew of four men take nearly two weeks of focused effort that I understood how much work it would have been as a DIY job. I saw the same realization – that feeling of “thank goodness I hired you” – wash over the client’s Web team as our expert project team laid out all the steps in the project plan.
Have an established process.
Those painters knew exactly who was going to do what the minute they stepped out of their trucks. It was amazing to watch the precision. The same was true at the client kick-off. I watched with pride – and the client watched in wonder – as Geonetric’s project team explained the tried-and-true implementation process that has clients raving about our amazing service.
Know where to focus to get the best results.
Experts know that the planning and prep is the most important part of any job. DIYers tend to want to jump in and get to the part where the results are most visible. The paint colors are important, just as the home page design is. But the preparation and planning are what will make the results valuable over the long run.
Have more experts at their disposal.
I like to think of myself as having the skills to figure out a lot of things. But more than once, I’ve figured out the most efficient way to accomplish a task just as I’ve finished it. I’m sure I would have figured out the most effective and efficient approach to painting by the time I got to the last side of my house. Similarly, if you don’t have a lot of experience creating Web sites, you’re going to spend a lot of time and effort to figure out important things like search engine optimization, usability, and content shaping – or maybe miss them entirely.
For those of you who are wondering, my house is painted and looks great. And the new client’s site launches next week – and they’re thrilled. Some things truly are best left to the experts.