Asked on Jul 12, 2012

Question for the weekend warriors.

Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comLandlightSLeslie D


I am in the process of redefining my company and the services I provide. As I get older I still want to be involved in the contracting business, but want to eliminate my overhead and expense of employees etc.
One thought was to provide a on site consulting and assistance service were I would be the expert that often many people need to get their job done right. Much like the advice I and many other fine people provide here at HomeTalk provide but with standing next to the client and assisting where they are not able or feel comfortable doing it themselves.
How often have you needed that extra hand or assistance to complete that project? Rates would be determined by type of project assistance you required but overall would be way less then hiring someone else out to do the entire job for you. While you would in effect be the contractor doing the job.
What do you think? Is this a service that people would consider using? Does it have
value? What would you think this type of service would be worth to you? Any ideas would be great to hear.
14 answers
  • Sherrie S
    on Jul 12, 2012

    Woodbridge, I would love that type consulting/service & would hire you today. Too bad you are in NJ. As in all types of work there are things that ordinary people overlook and it is costly (mentally & $$ wise). Maybe you can start your company & franchise to someone in my area.

  • Dee W
    on Jul 12, 2012

    Dear Hubs and I both agree this would be an invaluable service. We could have used those very services when we sided and put new windows on our home. We asked alot of questions at the store, picked up a few DIY books and then just did it. 8 years later, nothing has fallen off and the windows still open and shut but the whole time we wondered what tricks of the trade we might be missing. What a great new adventure you are considering-best of luck to you!

  • Miriam I
    on Jul 12, 2012

    This sounds like your calling. I think the concept is special and it could be an amazing service. The challenge I forsee is: Will DIYers be inclined to pay for such a service if their inherent purpose in DIYing is to save as much as possible? I'm curious to hear what others say.

  • This is exactly why I posted this question. My thinking is both after being on this site and some others and following the DIY industry I believe there is a niche for this type of service as I see more and more people wanting to do larger projects but lack one or a few of the critical skill sets often necessary to complete the job to the end. Just look at some of the shows on TV where people attempt to do a complete kitchen or renovation in just a few days only to become stuck in the middle because of something that they did not understand until it was too late. They had all the good intentions to complete the project but simply got lost in the details. Only ending up hiring a contracting firm to complete the project for them or living with it until they learned how to move ahead or simply bailed on the project all together. With this concept and guidance they will stay on track and with the support offered will take the project all the way to completion. And depending upon their willingness to learn and their ability to do the work they can save lots of money while only using my services where they feel uncomfortable in doing themselves. I have often completed many DIY projects that clients in the had started only to find that some of their work needed to be redone. With this concept I am effect a consultant that provides guidance to them as they proceed and physical help when they require it. As far as costs, I really do not think they will end up spending a whole lot of money for this service as most can do these larger projects on their own while only paying for my assistance where they do not have the experience required to do the job safely or properly. Quite honestly I am betting that most will not need my physical assistance to often. With this being what I expect to happen I will be able to spread myself around to more people when they need my assistance;. We will soon see if this comes together in the future!

  • Bernice H
    on Jul 13, 2012

    WB Bob...I can honestly say I would have loved someone like you to help with some DIY here. Hubs built a very nice Porch/deck, but only after I nagged him to get a friend over and just ask...Gene how would YOU do this? ( Because we know how men like to ask for directions or help! ) So I am trying to teach him, it is not unmanly , just ask as many people as would you do this? What would you do differently? And act like you know how to do it all the time anyway! So, hubs and a friend decide to put in a new door on our Mhome, but not a mh door. Well it went ok, but then putting the screen door back, nothing lined up, it is gaping in places, and the trim is off the outside roof line because the door hits it. It is like trailer trash and it is a good thing we dont use that door! So, if I knew you were in the neighborhood...I would have called you! I hate this door! I hope this works out for you!

  • What a unique service! As far as I know, there's nothing like this available. I would think you'd really have to educate the public on exactly what you offer, but to me this sounds like a wonderful option at the very least. My main concern would be, if they didn't know how to do something, would they tend to hire out for that service at that point or give themselves a fighting chance with instruction. So hard to say! Love this concept regardless.

  • Funky Junk, this is exactly what I am working on now. And I agree that many folks will only read instructions however I know from my own experience doing work that I learn much better by doing then reading. And I believe most people are the same. I could get carried away with all sorts of how to instructions that they could read, but with me next to them explaining how their tools do the work for them and how to use them safely. I think they will have a much higher success rate with their projects and perhaps be more willing in the future to do even more of them. Remember the saying. If you want to be successful surround yourself with others that know more then you. This is why you find me on this site every day. I learn from many of you folks that have already been though one thing or another and are willing to share this experience with others. While I may appear to have many of the answers when I respond to folks on this site, the truth is I am learning every day from everyone who responds to someones question. As I get older I realize I still have a lot to learn, and hopefully people who look into my service understand that concept and tap into my experience and learn from me and my school of hard knocks.

  • Sharron W
    on Jul 13, 2012

    I have had several projects over the years where I was capable of some or most of the labor, but needed advice on the project and/or expert assistence in terms of hands on help with part of the project, and most contractors would just laugh at the thought of that kind of job. I did have one guy that was willing to help me with some small projects in that capacity he said, but when i called the nuber on the card several months later it was no longer in I never knew what happened to him. He was a free lance carpenter and I think he went to a larger company...

  • We're neighbors - I'm in Summit and my hubs is from Edison! Love this idea - one I could have used when I gutted and renovated my old house!

  • Leslie D
    on Jul 13, 2012

    That's almost exactly what I've done, Woodbridge. With the building industry down in Vegas, I work as an independent contractor/consultant for individuals, banks, and even other GCs who can't keep full time PMs, but need someone to handle the paperwork and management. If you can build a relationship with a bank as a consultant on foreclosed residential and/or commercial properties, there's a real need for someone to perform due diligence services on properties. Banks are not developers/contractors and they have no idea ow to market the propereties without potential buyers taking advantage of their lack of knowledge of infrastructure availability, municipality approvals, etc. You can also offer those same services to potential investors. On partially developed commercial propereties, I have been able to bill up to $13,000 on a full due diligence package, which includes cost to complete, schedules, entitlements, etc., and I'm able to do 95% of the work from my home office.

  • Leslie, My thoughts were more on a service that provides assistance to the home owners who want to do their own projects without all the hassle of hiring a contractor who really wants to do the entire job and not be bothered with the handyman type of project. I have done consulting for many larger companies mainly as an independent consultant for the EIFS systems being installed. My main goal is to be in the field instead of behind a desk doing paperwork and dealing with all the township requirements etc. I will be assisting the homeowners on how to fill out the paperwork for any of the permits that are required for the work they plan to do, but not actually doing it for them. I do see the potential for the type of work you are involved in however, but my local environment is not quite as distressed as the NV market is. And there is way to many other firms doing that type of consulting already in my area. I am also thinking of providing the service to the Home Flipping market to become the eyes and ears of the investors that have hired out other contractors to do their work for them. But right now I am in process of determining who would use my service and how to properly market this service to them. Email me with your contact info, I would like to pick your brain on this a bit more if possible.

  • LandlightS
    on Jul 14, 2012

    Robert....Your Home Club Care site is great. My suggestion....convert the site to a consultation site with the Introduction explaining your Consultation Services for the DIYer and the Flip Real Estate investors. Include a complete background of you and your previous companies. A portfolio of varied projects that you have completed over the years. In terms of fees....I see nothing wrong with your $90.00 per hour consultation fee. I think you are on the right track and wish my background included a great deal more that electrical and low voltage lighting. The few basements and projects that I've completed do not lend enough background to follow in your footsteps. Best of luck. Gary. PS: I will call you on our next trip to Jersey City when we visit the kids. PSS: Convert the website to a portfolio that you can leave with the potential client. As great as the web is, there is nothing like a professional portfolio to hold and review.

  • Thanks Gary, My son did that site for me just before the towers fell. I had started that company as a need for home inspectors and those wishing to sell their properties as my main goal. As a home inspector at the time I had several clients who really had no idea of how to maintain their home so that was the direction this took me. After the towers fell in NY most of my clients either lost their jobs or some lost their lives. The result was my business fell off over 60% in about one month alone. Then when the market began to fail shortly after more of my clients also bailed as I was an extra cost to them every month. I did and still do quite a bit of work with agents, attorneys, and buyers doing revaluations after the home inspector did their thing. So that feature will still be available to those interested in using those services. In any case the site will be reworked a bit along with the name change as well. The URL works both for The Home Care Club as it does with Tip Top House which is what I am planing to use once this thing starts up. Hopefully in about one week or so. Fee wise I am looking more towards a lower cost as my goal is to keep busy rather then making big bucks and work less. I think that will appeal to more DIY people trying to save some money. There will be some services such as mold testing and home energy bower door and duct testing that will be higher but for basic home improvement I need to work on those numbers a bit more. Yes look me up when you come back up in my area. And thanks for the tips they are really appreciated. Bob

  • Thank you for the suggestions and great comments but this doesn't answer my post because I am still creating this idea and want as much input I can get from those who may think this service can be valuable to them.

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