When I reflect on the many painful learning experiences that I have absorbed during my thirty five year career in the trades, I am always amazed by the number of people who think tackling a home remodeling project would be a way to have fun and save loads of money.  Can you really take a Saturday morning class at Home Depot and then install a glass tile kitchen backsplash that's impeccable?  Like many things in the grown-up world, the answer is a qualified yes.  Are you good with your hands?  Patient?  Humble?  Willing to tear out work that was unsuccessful?  One must understand the difference between the journey and the finished product.

One of the joys of construction is its overt, tangible nature.  Its usually quite obvious what got done on a given day by five o'clock, unless you're a plumber or electrician running lines which will be quickly concealed inside the walls.  White collar clients  enjoy coming home and seeing progress, since working in a large corporate structure often makes it impossible to see the fruits of one's labor, or the failures.

As to saving money with the DIY philosophy, here's an anecdote:  I spent a few days doing a kitchen tune-up for a client who spends much of her time doing research in the medical field out of her home office.  One afternoon she walks into the kitchen to get a snack, and expresses concern that the neighborhood teenager tasked with mowing the lawn hasn't shown up.  Maybe she should go out and mow the lawn herself in this beautiful weather, and spend a few hours with the walk-behind mower trimming the half acre lot. And save some money.  "Sure," I said. "It would be nice to be outside today.  But let me ask you, what do you bill your time at?"  $100/ hour.  "And what do you pay the kid to mow?"  $10/ hour. " So at the Wharton School they teach that if you mowed your lawn, it would cost you around $180 QED.