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Old 01-13-2007, 09:03 PM   #1
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I use to be a home improvement contractor for years with my own business. Now, I work for a large corporation in commercial construction. I'm looking to pick up some extra money on the weekends and would ask each of you for your opinion. Would you be willing to hire someone to help you with DIY projects? I am thinking of offering my services, as a helper, providing tools, skills, and knowledge to home owners in my area. I wish to help people achieve professional results with their DIY projects and pick up extra money for myself. Is this idea of interest to the average homeowners?

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Old 01-13-2007, 09:41 PM   #2
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As a contrator, I would hesitate simply due to the liability, but then again, it may be a very workable situation...I have considered the idea of a "rent a contractor" concept, just so a DIY can get an hour or two of instruction on anything from laying cermaic tile to framing....

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Old 01-14-2007, 12:47 AM   #3
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Honestly, as a "pretty good DIY person" ( my opinion) I don't think so. Anything I consider "over my head" I would hire out to a pro to do the whole job.

You might find a niche, but you can rent out tools from Home depot.

You never know though. You would be looking for people looking to save money, and not knowledgeable to do it themselves. The liability would scare me. There are a lot of times I would have liked to have had a plumber or electrician to help me, but would they risk their reputation to help me ? I wouldn't,
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:20 AM   #4
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I would hire someone for more more difficult projects that I only understand in principle, for example letting a door into a load bearing wall. The other reason I would hire someone is because my house is 60 years old. I would like to change some of my windows and I want the new ones to match the old ones. They didn't use nail fins then; they used jambs with a real sill and fixed them in place with the trim boards. The contractors I've interviewed have been entirely ignorant. I even put up a notice at the local retirement center looking for a retired carpenter. Unfortunately I had no luck with that.

So, yes, I would hire you as a consultant if you were truly familiar with the older home building techniques. In fact, I would suggest that people rehabilatating or renovating older or just plain old buildings might be your best market.
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:47 AM   #5
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My pesonal opinion would be that if I hire you, you need to have insurance coverage and also be bonded to protect myself. These items would need to be covered by your fees. Your tools would have to be covered by enough pay to keep them running. I am not sure you would be "affordable" from this standpoint. It is an interesting thought and it may well be doable though. Good luck.
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Old 01-14-2007, 09:31 PM   #6
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I certainly appreciate everyones input. I was out at the golf course today passing out business cards to the group I play with every weekend. I got a pretty good response from everyone. Insurance would be difficult to obtain, costing about 5K a year for general liability. However, the objective would be to assist the home owners, as a helper initially while I build a business. My marketing approach is to explain the options that a HO has, and help them pick the best option that fits their budget. Additionally, I see some HO's trying to tackle projects which are over their head, such as finishing off the top floor of a 1 1/2 story house that was a future rough in. They think that all they need to do is hang and finish some sheetrock. Chances are that their heat pump isn't large enough to condition the added square footage. The electrical service is rarely prepared for the upper floor as well for example. I wish to promote a win / win situation for all.
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:27 PM   #7
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Sheeter: I would definitely utilize someone like yourself. I am hoping to find someone in my area to assist/advise on a basement finishing project in the next year. I definitely see a market for that service.
Good luck if you go for it and let us know results.
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Old 01-15-2007, 03:45 PM   #8
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depends on how much you charge... if the fee is not expensive, I will consider it... not mean I try not to be fair, but if you can charge per hour basic for advice / show how to/ teach...etc. and offer minium hours per visit/ price..etc. you may have market... but there are more complicated, you need to convince people to trust you even this concept work...
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Old 01-15-2007, 07:18 PM   #9
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Absolutely!! I love the idea. Insurance? Who needs it! Honestly. I have my dad, freinds, co-workers help me on projects. They are not insured. How many of you have gone to someone you know for help on a project? The best part is you could learn how to do it, so if you have to do it again you can. No offense to anyone, but I think insurance is a weak excuse. This is a DIY website. I think we have all tackled projects that we are not experianced with. What happens when you yourself make a mistake? Are you bonded? I think it is a great idea.
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:03 PM   #10
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One angle I could see being desirable to me is basically a step beyond home inspector. I would love to have someone go through my old house with me and point out issues (eg. spalling cement in basement), indicate whether this is a pro job or DIY and where on the scale of skill and frustration it might be (there are lots of DIY jobs that are easy but a total pain). I'd also like to have some idea of cost (pro and DIY), material list, some specifics or recommendations on where to find instructions, and how many people and special tools are needed to do the job.

So home inspector can tell you what is wrong and the report ends there. Stores, Internet, and books can give me some info, but it isn't specific to my house and whatever I have going on here. This is the next step.

I have oodles of things around here to fix. Some I know about (that they need fixing), others I don't, others are projects that are cosmetic/updates. I can manage a lot, but some things I have never tackled before and have me stumped (like my spalling cement...can't even figure out who to call on that one, whether it's a big deal or just needs a skim coat of something or other). I would love to have someone come and see the house, what I want to do, and then provide me a written report of the types of things I mentioned. That way I have the info when I want to do the work and would have some idea of which should maybe come first, how much to budget in money and time, which skills or tools I need to work into the mix, and which things I could get help with.

Meanwhile, I have a project right now from replacing my bathtub which would suit the kind of service you are describing. The walls now need tiling and I'd like to do it myself but the prep is more than I can do myself and my confidence in tiling isn't too high. Now if someone could be hired to help with prep and maybe show me some basic tile cutting, laying tips and tricks etc. I might be able to have the job done for less than paying someone to do the whole job. That would be a good thing.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:03 PM   #11
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Once again, I appreciate everyone's input. I have a lot of confidence in my idea now and look forward to taking to the people in my community. As far as the projects that some of you have described, perhaps you can take some digital pictures and start a thread for assistance. Some of you may have already and I missed them being new to this site.
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:53 PM   #12
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so wish you were in my area - lots of projects i would gladly pay to have done
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:13 PM   #13
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you could probably have language written into your labor agreement excplicity removing yourself from liability for problems or claims in the event that something were to happen... a couple hundred bucks for a good lawyer-written contract...
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyfunk View Post
you could probably have language written into your labor agreement excplicity removing yourself from liability for problems or claims in the event that something were to happen... a couple hundred bucks for a good lawyer-written contract...
however...upon further reflection...if you are a licensed contractor this may be difficult... but it certainly wouldn't hurt to ask an attorney, a couple hundred bucks spent today could save you thousands down the road
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:09 AM   #15
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Why not just be a part-time home improvement contractor again, but part time. That way you could carry the insurance and bonding to protect yourself? It's sad, but the legal stuff if super important!!! I think your idea sounds great, though. I'd hire a DIYer expert to help me out on the jobs I have questions or concerns about!

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