Convincing clients to go p-r-o over d-i-y

As a home remodeling professional, you’ve likely found that your “competition” sometimes includes the option to DIY. While this can present a challenge to earning new business, it can also provide you with an opportunity to educate potential customers on the value a trade professional (namely you) can bring to a home renovation project.

To DIY… Or Not To DIY?

If that is the question, it might fall to you to help homeowners come to the right answer. Henry Parker, home remodeling professional and editor-in-chief at, has found that potential clients are chiefly concerned with workmanship, price and speed. If homeowners fail to honestly assess their ability to meet their own standards for any of these by going DIY, they could be setting themselves up for failure.

Failed DIY efforts are fairly common, though most have been abandoned rather than catastrophically attempted,” Parker asserts. For example, he says, “A client will realize something is going to take them far longer than planned and can’t find the time for it.

This is just one reason your ProSource Wholesale Showroom does more than connect you with quality products and design services you and your clients want. With a network of more than 320,000 trade professional members since 1991 and 145 showrooms, we also help connect homeowners with qualified local trade professionals like you – an essential first step for success. Learn more about how to get listed on our referral network.

Getting Homeowners To Take An Honest Look

According to a consumer poll from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), cost is the biggest reason for homeowners to try DIY. And of course, the proliferation of DIY remodeling TV shows has certainly inspired many of them to try saving a few bucks by tackling projects themselves. After all, if the highlights can be neatly delivered in a 30-minute segment, how difficult can it be for a non-pro to accomplish it?

You know that answer – especially if a homeowner lacks the proper skills, tools or time. If showing stellar examples of your projects and capabilities fails to seal the deal with potential clients, asking a few relevant questions might help them develop a clearer understanding of the benefits of hiring a professional. NARI has devised a list of questions for homeowners considering DIY, which can serve to guide your conversation. For example, you might want to ask:

Do you enjoy physical work? As you know, remodeling is certainly not a “desk job.”
Do you have all the tools needed and, more importantly, the skills required to do the job? Renting tools can quickly diminish the savings a homeowner might realize on a DIY project. Plus, Marc Devisse of Tri-Town Construction in Fort Myers, Florida says, “A big reason to hire a professional is that it removes the chance of possible code violations by performing work individuals are not licensed to do. DIYing work that requires a license could result in fines, legal action, having to tear work out, and voiding of insurance coverage in the space.”
What quality level do you need for this project? Are your skills at that level? As you know, the best way to get a professional result on a home renovation project is to have it done by a professional. If DIY doesn’t yield the desired result, the cost to redo can more than double the original budget.
Do you have the time that will be required to complete the project? NARI recommends that a homeowner considering DIY double or triple the time estimated, unless they are highly skilled and familiar with the specific project.
Are you familiar with your local building codes and permit requirements? Hiring a professional is the best way to ensure that the proper protocol is followed, and that the project will pass final inspection.
Is it safe for you to do this project? Accidents can happen – especially when more high-risk tasks such as electrical work and roofing are involved. Working with a trusted professional gives homeowners the assurance that those tasks will be handled by trained experts, and that both their home, and those experts, are covered by insurance protection.

If a potential client answers “no” to any of these questions and still opts to try DIY, they might find themselves trying to hire a remodeling professional after their project goes awry – a job many trade pros are hesitant to take. Hopefully, however, they will realize that the best way to do their project is to do it right the first time – with a trade pro like you.

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