Should I DIY My Smart Home or Hire a Professional?

Sometimes DIY home improvement projects go perfectly, creating something you can brag about. And other times, you end up in a pile of mess, wishing you’d called a professional.


Smart home automation installation isn’t any different. Doing some research and figuring out a way to make your home smart might be the best solution for you. But other times, a professional should help you pull off the project as you imagined it.


But when is DIY the right choice, and when are things best left to the pros?


Hive has installed hundreds of home automation systems throughout Tampa Bay. While we love what we do, we also recognize that doing it yourself or having another company do it for you, may be the best fit for your home automation project. But we’re happy to help you sort out whether you should take this on yourself or get some professional aid.


In this article, we’ll go through five questions to ask yourself when determining whether you should DIY your smart home or not:


  1. How complex are my home automation needs?
  2. Do I know how to protect my smart devices from hackers?
  3. Are the smart devices I want compatible with each other?
  4. Will I be able to maintain my smart home system on my own?
  5. Can I install the smart home devices on my own?


What questions should you ask when choosing to DIY or hire a pro for your smart home?


1. How complex are my home automation needs?


Fully equipped smart homes can include wireless access points, automated shades, audio, security systems, lights, entertainment areas, and more. But they can also be as simple as a few speakers and a TV.


How complex of a system do you want? Do you want a few lights connected to your Amazon Echo, or would you like a fully automated home where you can control everything with a few clicks?


Consider how many devices you want to add. The more you have, the more difficult integrating them all might be. And having a smart home where you have five different remotes or apps feels like it’s only making your life more complicated, not more simple.


Also, think about your smart hub. If you’re thinking about voice control, are you looking to connect to an established Alexa or Google Home? Or you could step up your system with the high-tech Josh AI. Most systems, like Control4, connect to a central tablet or smartphone app so you can control your system remotely.


Your home’s size is another important factor to think about. Automating a single room and a whole two-story house have vastly different price points and layers of complexity.


You should go the DIY route if:


  • You don’t want or need an extensive system


  • Your space isn’t big


  • You know what smart hub you’re interested in and how to install it


You should hire a professional if:


  • You’d like an extensive system with multiple elements to it


  • Your space is large


  • You aren’t sure what smart hub or products would be the best fit for you


  • You don’t want to program your devices


2. Do I know how to protect my smart devices from hackers?


Like any device connected to the internet, smart home devices have security vulnerabilities.


If you DIY your system and aren’t experienced with network security, you might inadvertently leave holes that a hacker could take advantage of. And given how powerful and helpful smart home technology can be, that could be a huge safety issue. Plus, the more complex the system, the more possibilities there are for security breaches.


Hardwiring your system can improve your smart home’s security significantly, as wireless systems are more vulnerable to hackers. But hardwiring is something that’s best left to professionals, as it requires understanding the best places to place wiring and the ability to cut into and fix drywall.


You should go the DIY route if:


  • Your system isn’t as complex


  • You’re familiar with network security and can protect your devices


You should hire a professional if:


  • Your system is complex, with numerous devices


  • You’d like to hardwire your system for added security


  • You’re willing to have someone do some construction in your home


3. Are the smart devices I want compatible with each other?


One of the biggest issues when creating a smart home system is system compatibility. Different manufacturers often have unique programming that isn't compatible with other software, so you may end up with several devices you can't sync.


You don’t want five different remotes or apps for everything, which defeats the purpose of a smart home. Making sure that you can use one remote or app to control all of your devices is key. Sometimes that’s as easy as buying everything from one brand, but other times it’s not as simple. Especially if you’re trying to connect devices you already have.


A professional works with reputable brands and knows how to sync your devices.


DIY if:


  • Your system is simple or doesn’t have many devices


  • You’re buying everything from one brand, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility


Call a pro if:


  • You’ve already purchased several devices from different brands and need to see if you can integrate them


  • Your system has a lot of moving parts that might not fit together


4. Will I be able to maintain my smart home system on my own?


Like with other kinds of technology, companies release new smart home innovations as they fix bugs and make improvements. Sometimes that could make one device in your network go down, possibly affecting everything else. Will you be able to troubleshoot the issue?


Some programming issues can be solved on your own. The company’s website might have a robust help center or solid customer service. Or maybe you’re just good at figuring out problems. But some problems require the assistance of a professional technician, as they might be problems with the wiring or devices themselves.


A seasoned technician is more likely to fix your situation much faster and can help with routine maintenance. They’ll also be able to teach you the intricacies of your system and how to repair some hiccups should they arise.


DIY if:


  • You’re confident in your troubleshooting abilities


  • You have a single-brand system where you can easily contact one customer service hub if necessary


Call a pro if:


  • You don’t want to deal with the frustration of troubleshooting issues by yourself


  • You’d like someone to teach you the ins and outs of your system so you can handle the smaller problems on your own


  • You’re open to paying for someone to come out if something does happen


5. Can I install the smart home devices on my own?


Automating your home makes your life simpler, but sometimes, the same can’t be said about installing the technology behind it.


Many wireless devices are easy to install – you just have to put them down on a surface and continue setting them up through whatever app controls them.


But hardwired devices might require handling wiring, cutting into your drywall, or even crawling through your dusty attic. Mounting certain tech may involve climbing up on ladders or drilling into your walls. If you’re up for that challenge and are confident in your handiness, go for it. It’s much less expensive than hiring someone.


But if you’re unable or not interested in getting your hands dirty, a pro can handle it all and ensure that it’s done right the first time. You’ll just have to pay for that convenience, and every company differs based on your specific project.


DIY if:


  • Your devices are easy to install without much or any construction


  • You’re physically capable of the labor involved in installing certain devices


  • You’d like to save on hiring someone


Call a professional if:


  • You’d like to hardwire your devices


  • You don’t have the time or energy to install your devices


  • Your system is expansive or has a lot of devices


DIY vs. Hiring a Pro for Your Smart Home


Successfully setting up a home automation system can be a great addition to your home. Deciding whether you’ll do it yourself or hire a professional can make or break your project, and ultimately, it’s all up to you.


To summarize, figuring out which direction to go is mostly dependent on:


  • The complexity and scope of what you’d like your smart home to do


  • Your current level of knowledge and technical ability


  • Your desire to troubleshoot


  • Your budget


If you live in Tampa Bay and you’d like professional aid in your smart home project, check out our article on the best home automation companies in Tampa to weigh your options.


Or, if you’d like to talk with Hive about your smart home needs, reach out to us through our contact form for a free consultation.


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