DIY – for those that don’t know stands for Do It Yourself.
Recently we were analyzing some Home Depot, Lowe’s and other home improvement related company commercials that have been airing lately. It is certainly interesting to see how large companies like Home Depot can influence entire markets and create new classes of consumers. DIY commercials, showing how easy it is for the average person or homeowner to remodel their house, fix their own plumbing and trim their own trees. Sometimes this is a good idea and sometimes things should be left to the professionals but we have to admire Home Depot’s push to have people do their own home repairs. We often see commercials with the housewife painting the house while the husband is off at work. Or the weekend warrior dad trimming the bushes after riding his mower. But they didn’t show, old Mr. Jones fall out of his tree trying to get that branch just a bit shorter. And how much happier he and his back would have been if he just called the local tree service to get that branch. And they certainly didn’t show us Ms. Williams fall off her ladder trying to change out the blinds on the 2nd story window. Or the guy who flooded his own basement trying to repair a simple water leak. Homeowners routinely mess things up and cause more problems than they should when attempting to play contractor.
So why do homeowners who have no business changing a light bulb think that they are all of a sudden a handyman? Well one reason is because they see average Joe’s like themselves, or usually slightly better looking average Joe’s doing the same things on their television. Somewhere between the big football game and the movie of the week on the network TV was a commercial of Joe Dad, doing some project that seems so easy if you just head down to Home Depot and pick up a few tools and materials. Building a deck is just a matter of screwing some 2×4’s together and there is no risk of electricity when changing out a simple fixture, right? Umm, wrong. Many of these, DIY projects are very serious and could cause major harm to you and your family. So is Home Depot steering people wrong by marketing and promoting DIY?
Not necessarily. While some homeowners have no clue what the difference between a nailhead and a phillips head are, many others could probably build a better house than many contractors. But the latter aren’t the ones we are worried about. We are all for people trying new things and gaining new skills but we should also remember to take into account our skill-sets and what our time is worth. Sure maybe you remodel that bathroom yourself. But how long will it take you and how much time will that take you away from your actual work, family, relaxation time? Will you mess up and have to call a professional and wind up paying more than if you called them originally? We can’t answer these questions but Home Depot will surely keep trying to make you think you can do anything if you just walk into their stores. Maybe they’re right? Maybe I should go buy a snowblower and shovel and get out there and take care of the driveway. Nah..It’s cold out there, I’ll just call a pro.