Here is a scenario:

 

You are a home performance contractor. Sales are down (slightly or significantly). Homeowners in your area just don't seem to be spending much money to make their homes more healthy and efficient. But, some appear to be pretty handy and they would much rather save some money and do the work themselves.

 

Great. Right? You wish them luck, and you move on to the next prospect. Maybe not. What if you can offer these handy homeowners DIY services? Would you? Do you?

 

I'm really interested in what you all have to say about this.

 

Patrick

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"What if you can offer these handy homeowners DIY services?"

Hi Patrick.  The question is a little unclear to me, but you seem close to something I've envisioned:  DIWY (Do It With You) services.  It is complementary (note: that's an e, not an i) team work, involving strengths and equipment of two or more.

I think it makes a lot more sense than satisfying no one while waiting for the kinds of projects that one went into business expecting to complete.  Plus, by charging $XX.00 per client-invited friend/neighbor to lurk and learn, you can combine marketing with work. Intuition and experience will help you set the limit on lurkers.

I haven't begun, but it's probably how I would begin in this era.

David, your thoughts on the subject are very similar to my own. Definitely complementary with an "e."

 

My company is strongly considering offering a concept closer to your DIWY services. I do not expect the average handy homeowner to be able to achieve the level of quality and effectiveness of the pros, but I don't expect the pros to be un-able (but maybe un-willing) to help handy homeowners achieve these ends.

 

If you don't mind saying, what do you do David, and what is your background?

 

Patrick

On my profile page find the link to my Web site, which answers those and more.

"I don't expect the pros to be un-able (but maybe un-willing) to help handy homeowners achieve these ends."

Un-able is a strong possibility among people who like to use tools and equipment to get things done for a payment, with the least possible interpersonal effort.  Even the Trainers and Mentors group members have nothing to say about their views of the learner/human being.

Yeah, I really do hear you.

 

I will most likely be going this route and will continue to try to get industry folks to weigh in.

 

Nevertheless, I like where your head is at. It appears that you are a practicioner of behaviorial sciences. We need a lot more of this in the industry.

Congratulations for this great idea!  With the recession full-on, and people with time but no money, this is a good answer!  In my state, I work with many people who may qualify for a free BPI audit, but actually paying for professional building performance mitigation is not within their budget.  This might be an answer. 

I would also suggest that perhaps you could do a "home party" to show folks in a neighborhood what an audit is all about: perhaps this is too difficult in practice, with the crowded conditions in many basements for CAZ (not to mention the complicated nature of CAZ work).  But I think it would be very effective to show a number of people the benefits of using a blower door and IR.  Maybe other skills could be taught in a group setting.

I am looking forward to following this discussion.  

Mary Beth,

 

My initial thought is this: DIY project house. The neighborhoods in which I operate are full of industrious and interested homeowners. Many have asked me about performing rather simple energy projects as DIY. In all honesty, if it came down to it, I'd hire a lot of these guys and gals myself. There is no reason to not set them up for a successful project.

 

The big hurdle, IMO, is getting contractors and homeowners to work together on this one. If this is the beginning of a bigger thing (and I'm referring to this DIY movement that has been steadily growing) then both parties would be well-served by acting with rather than separate from each other.

 

I have tried to bring contractors to work together, not a successful history of that. It doesn't mean I will stop trying. There was one case where I had a major insulation distributor to the point where they were willing to work with a group of contractors to ultimately lower the cost of energy projects to homeowners. I just couldn't get enough of the guys and gals in the room to move on this. It simply meant too much "partnership" for most.

 

So, having said all this, can you think of a proper setting (besides a dedicated DIY project house) to make this idea work in practice?

Hi Patrick,

It's great to hear that others are interested in helping to reduce energy consumption on the many, many homes that fall in the gap between low income assistance programs and high dollar retrofits. I do a few high dollar retrofits a year, but the bulk of my work is in the middle. These people, as you point out, are often quite industrious and somewhat talented. I usually end up training them and this costs me time, but they get a deeper appreciation for the work and what is involved. They also tell their friends, which is the cheapest form of advertising.

Our local community center is 125 years old and is in dire need of weatherization. Unfortunately, funding is not even on the horizon, so we are holding a series of workshops to restore the windows and doors. This is still in the planning stage, so I don't have any clients coming in from this yet, but I feel that this is the best form of advertising possible.

This is the new paradigm; do what's best for your community and the planet and make a good living at the same time.

I couldn't agree more with what you have said Bill.

 

I have found this DIY coaching route to be a good form of advertising as well. I have actually been able to make some money on such services by sourcing the products to homeowners. They understand that I can get them what they need, and at a very competitive price. I offer them a quality product, assistance\guidance, and some of the tools & equipment necessary for the work, and they offer me a whole world of tangible and intangible things.

 

I will continue to post to this thread as things progress for me on this matter.

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