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Do It for Me Services: When Do Homeowners Call in the Pros?

Nov 16, 2021

Many home­own­ers approach their home improve­ment projects with great ambi­tion. Whether they’re skilled with their hands or sim­ply have spare time, the do-it-your­self approach relies on the home­own­er to tack­le projects with­out out­side help.

How­ev­er, not every project can be done with­out pro­fes­sion­al exper­tise, and not every home­own­er wants to take on the heavy com­mit­ment some­times asso­ci­at­ed with the DIY route. In either case, project plan­ners often choose an alter­na­tive route: do it for me, or DIFM.

To bet­ter under­stand moti­va­tors for using DIFM ser­vices, the Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute (HIRI) com­mis­sioned Deci­sion Ana­lyst to con­duct a sur­vey that explores the types of DIFM ser­vices home­own­ers are utilizing.

Here are a few key findings from the DIFM research:

Most homeowners are hiring professional help.

Just think about all the work that most home­own­ers need to com­plete. From land­scap­ing to pest con­trol and one-off appli­ance repairs, the aver­age home­own­er would have to com­mit seri­ous time to han­dle all of these issues ade­quate­ly. There­fore, it comes as no sur­prise that approx­i­mate­ly two-thirds of the nation­al­ly-rep­re­sen­ta­tive screen­ing sam­ple of home­own­ers in this study have hired a DIFM ser­vice in the past year. Here are oth­er key insights:

  • Males are more like­ly to hire out­side help than are females.
  • Those with a high­er income are also more like­ly to call the pros.
  • Res­i­dents of the North­east and the West tend to be more like­ly to hire ser­vices than those in oth­er regions.
  • One may think that the young and capa­ble would be more prone to DIY, but inter­est­ing­ly, there are no dif­fer­ences across the gen­er­a­tions in the num­ber who are using DIFM ser­vices. How­ev­er, Gen Z and mil­len­ni­als are uti­liz­ing more types of services.

Homeowners are more likely to hire pros for specialized services.

The Deci­sion Ana­lyst sur­vey found that DIFMers are com­mon­ly DIY­ers who may need help with cer­tain projects due to a lack of time, tools, or the right skillset (or any com­bi­na­tion there­of). That being said, the most pop­u­lar ser­vices hired in the past year were lawn/​landscaping, HVAC, pest con­trol, and handy­man ser­vices. All of these ser­vices either require some spe­cial­ized equipment/​tools for gen­er­al main­te­nance or involve repet­i­tive tasks that can be time- and labor-intensive.

Homeowners want the best bang for their buck.

Some­times, a cer­tain project is too impor­tant to risk doing it incor­rect­ly. There can be mul­ti­ple rea­sons for hir­ing a pro­fes­sion­al, even if the home­own­er does enjoy com­plet­ing some home improve­ment projects on their own. How­ev­er, the poten­tial to save mon­ey and avoid addi­tion­al labor costs are the top rea­sons by far to not hire a pro­fes­sion­al to do the work.

Sat­is­fac­tion with DIFM ser­vices may also play a role in the deci­sion to hire a pro. Most home­own­ers who were sat­is­fied with at least one of the ser­vices they hired stat­ed a good-qual­i­ty job as the rea­son. Mean­while, one-third of those who were dis­sat­is­fied with at least one ser­vice stat­ed poor work­man­ship as their reason.

Over­all, the need for pros remains strong in the short term (and like­ly in the long term as well), with 80% of sur­vey respon­dents answer­ing that they def­i­nite­ly or prob­a­bly will hire a DIFM ser­vice in the next two years.

If you’d like greater detail on home­own­ers’ atti­tudes toward DIFM ser­vices or want to dive deep­er into the demo­graph­ics, join HIRI today for full access to this report.

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