Lupberger: Ouch! 300,000 Home Improvement DIYers Went to the ER in 2020

by Emily Blackburn
David Lupberger, CR

Three-hundred thousand do-it-yourselfers went to the emergency room in 2020. We can only guess how many more might have gone to the ER in 2021!

Homeowners do this because they think they can save money. They think they can watch a YouTube video and then declare themselves capable of doing the job themselves.

Look, I have a motorcycle, and I can watch YouTube videos that explain how I can do “wheelies” so that I can ride the back wheel. Regardless of those videos, I am not going to start doing wheelies! Why? Because it’s unsafe, and I don’t want to hurt myself!

It’s my sincere conviction that we should be teaching our clients that they should be hiring a remodeling professional to get most of these tasks done. In most cases, they don’t do their own legal work; they go to an attorney. Similarly, most people don’t do their own vehicle mechanical work; they go to a qualified mechanic. They hire professionals because mistakes in these areas can end up costing thousands of dollars.

Is it any different with home projects? With these injuries, how much pain or days of lost work will help them see that getting qualified professionals to do these home projects will be faster and cheaper with a qualified pro!

Honestly, most homeowner injuries are minor but, in most cases, your clients are doing these projects because they do not know who else to call. Simply, they do not know who to trust to get these projects done!

I know that most remodelers don’t want to mess with some of these small projects, but there is an innate benefit. Assisting clients with these small projects will accomplish the following:

· Allow you to re-engage with past clients—relationship is everything!

· Without reservation, I can state that small projects done well will lead to bigger projects in the future.

This type of engagement does not take place via a company e-newsletter or email. It is a one-on-one interaction with past clients in real time. It’s taking the time to let your clients know that you can help them when needed.

There is a marketing survey that stated past clients lose 10 percent of their value for each month that we are not in communication. Using this as a metric, after 10 months without engagement, your past clients are not thinking about you.

You may have lost the benefit of your past working relationship. When a future remodeling need arises, they may or may not contact you.

Can you make a point to let past clients know that you can assist them? They have a family doctor, dentist, attorney and mechanic. Can you become their home project adviser?

You already have a network of qualified trade contractors. People whom you trust. If you just don’t have the bandwidth to help them with some of these small projects, can you arrange a trade contractor partnership with a good handyman company?

I did this with a company in Boulder, Colorado. The contractor in Boulder wanted to stay in contact with past clients but could not manage the small projects. As a result, we interviewed and found a good handyman company that was well-qualified to do this work. Prior to any referral, we did agree on some project ground rules:

· They would let us know if they couldn’t do the job.

· They would respond to any client referrals we sent them within 48 hours.

· They would reciprocate and direct leads back to the remodeling contractor for their clients who needed bigger jobs done that required plans and permitting.

I discovered in this small-job review that most homeowners really do not want to do this work themselves. As they have limited free time, they would rather spend that time with family or friends. For many homeowners, having a construction company that was “on call” helped maintain a good client/contractor working relationship.

It also became a source of good company marketing because happy clients are the best marketing that you can do. The irony of this was with that trusted adviser role in place, money is not the primary driver.

Once that adviser trust has been established, cost will not be the primary concern. Past clients who have benefited from this referral relationship will keep coming back knowing that they can trust the results. Don’t we all do the same thing with our key service providers?

I like my car mechanic and trust him. I know that he isn’t the least expensive for the work that he does. But I do know that the work will be completed correctly, and that is more important to me than shopping price.

Guess what—your good clients feel the same way. They will pay more if they understand what they are paying for. Trust generates a nice payoff. It is really what your clients want!

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