With the proliferation of TV shows and online videos espousing the virtues and savings of DIY contracting, how do you make yourself stand out as a small-job contractor? Market your professional services with an eye toward the DIY contractor. The homeowner can take care of and take pride in the smaller jobs they accomplish and save money. The most important tasks belong in your hands, and as a professional, you stand behind all of your work.
It’s one thing if a homeowner wants to save some money by painting or wallpapering. Those are jobs within the realm of most DIYers. When it comes to Contractors vs DIY, the latter should not take on work requiring expertise, such as hardwood floor installation or tiling. Why spend money for expensive flooring and allow amateur installation?
Have the Right Tools
Many projects require specific tools. The DIYer must not only know how to use them but have access to them. While it’s possible to rent these items, that’s another cost consideration the DIYer may not have calculated. There is also the time needed to practice using the tools correctly. You have these tools; you have the ability,
Time Is Money
Most DIYers tackle their home improvement projects when they are free from their regular jobs. That’s pretty much just weekends and after work. A minor project involving a few hours' work is one thing, but a larger endeavor requiring a great deal of time is another matter. You can certainly make the case as a contractor that time is money, and the DIYer isn’t really saving money if all their free time is eaten up for weeks or months on end. As a contractor, you’ve almost certainly been hired to complete a DIY project—like a bathroom remodeling—that just got away from the homeowner. In fact, you might advertise, in a subtle way, that you’re the person to call when a DIY project gets out of control. You’re offering “home improvement done right” and faster completion.
Mistakes Cost Money
Some DIYers enjoy the challenge of remodeling, but most primarily want to save money. Mistakes cost money, which is why it’s often less expensive to have a contractor do the job right the first time. Just as you’ve probably been hired to complete a project the DIYer didn’t have time to finish, you’ve likely also been asked to salvage a job the DIYer messed up completely. That might involve purchasing new materials to replace those damaged by the DIYer.
DIY Can Be Dangerous
There are certain tasks amateurs should never try to perform. Anything involving HVAC systems, plumbing, or electrical wiring requires a professional. A basic rule of thumb is: Anything requiring a permit requires a pro. Many projects involve moving interior walls. If a DIYer attempts that, it’s not only an accident waiting to happen, but the entire structure may be compromised.
There are other DIY dangers that could put the homeowner in the hospital or worse. Painting the ceiling is a good DIY project for standard ceilings. Ceilings with great height need special ladders. They also require a painter experienced in working with heights. No DIYer should put themselves in that position.
About The Author
Jane M.’s work has appeared in dozens of publications, including USA Today, Legal Zoom, Zack's and The Motley Fool. In addition to writing for cultural, business and financial journals, she worked for a dozen years as a staff reporter for a major New Jersey newspaper chain, and still contributes regularly to nj.com. She has written thousands of articles on various subjects. Her expertise includes personal finance, real estate, business and pets.
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