Mom and Pop Home Improvement Verses Big Box Stores

Ever since the first English settlements in Jamestown in 1607, entrepreneurs were using their home improvement skills to help build a better life. These specialized skills will always be needed, no matter how they are utilized and/or distributed. From plumbing to window installation, these trade services are practiced within all areas of civilized life.

Up until the end of the late 19th century, most home improvement services were worked by individuals or smaller mom and pop type businesses. Not until stores like Lowe’s started popping up in the early 20th century did we start seeing larger entities become highly competitive against the smaller mom and pop type home improvement businesses. The fact of the matter is, these large businesses could provide services for cheaper, but not necessarily better.

So, why do big box chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s provide home improvement services? Why don’t they just sell improvement goods? Isn’t the whole idea behind these large hardware stores to provide goods to do-it-yourselfers? Well, the problem is… more and more consumer do-it-yourselfers are buying their goods online. It saves time and allows the consumer to be more flexible when it comes to getting their job done. These big hardware stores are trying to send a message to these consumers. They want these people to not only buy their products, but also allow them to install it for them at minimal costs. By doing this, it could draw in consumers that need a job done, but can’t necessarily afford a mom and pop business. Not realizing, that these stores often do a poor job, because they use, in most cases, inexperienced staff.

The fact of the matter is… mom and pop home improvement businesses are usually family owned and operated. They pass down their many years of experience in their trade to their workers. They often use the best quality products and provide top notch warranties. We’re not saying that the big box stores can’t provide quality, we’re just saying that your chances are better with smaller service providers.

As these larger, big box home improvement companies grow… will they expand and improve their services or will they return to their roots and only sell goods? Chances are, these big businesses will look to improve quality of service and offer a broader range of these services. The three largest stores, Home Depot, Lowe’s Companies, and Lumber Liquidators are not going away any time soon. Small mom and pops know that. They also know that they do it better and a majority of the public knows it.

So, before you choose who is going to install your replacement windows, replace your kitchen counter or repair that leaking pipe, do your research. Compare experience, quality of products used, warranties and most important of all… customer service. Who are you going to want inside your home? Someone who has been doing the job their whole life or someone from a big box store with no credentials. The choice is yours and most likely a choice you will have to live with for years to come.

Improvement Tips For Your Home Improvement Business Lesson 1

Lesson 1: Why it’s important to charge more, rather than less.
Charge more? Yes, you heard right – you should charge MORE for your services.

You deserve it. People like Donald Trump and Richard Branson charge more for their services every single day, and there are many people out there who are willing to pay their outrageous fees, and why is that? Because the perception is, they charge more because they’re great at what they do.

When people get ready to buy something, they often buy out of emotion, not logic. No matter whether you are a contractor, a plumber, a realtor, or an architect, companies who charge more are generally considered to offer a higher quality of service, while those that undercut are perceived as being more likely to do a shoddy job.

Think about it: Would you rather do one job for $10,000 or ten jobs for $1,000?

That is the real key to charging more – sure, you’ll get more customers going elsewhere for their projects, but those that accept the higher rates will make up for that loss of income, and you will be doing LESS work.

In short, you will be working smarter instead of harder.

Of course, charging more does not mean you should swindle your customers, or get outrageous with your fees. If you plan to charge more, you must also offer more value for the customer’s dollar. Offer them little things – small improvements in quality that they might not have expected, a little extra work beyond the brief, maybe even just a smile and a kind word when it would be easier to keep your head down and stick to the task at hand. Sure, it’s extra effort, but it’s MINIMAL extra effort, considering you’re bumping your rates up considerably in return.

When you decide to take the leap and increase your rates, try adding 15% to your usual fee for a month. At the end of the month, evaluate your profits and see whether you think you could raise your rates even further without losing work.

Remember though, you must offer the product you have promised at the price you have promised. Customers won’t be back if you are not offering a top of the line product. Do not underestimate your customer’s intelligence level. They will know if they are being taken and not receiving the product they should, but if you do give them what you said you would, at a high quality level, your customers, even your regulars, won’t mind paying that extra cash for your great service. And in fact, they’ll probably tell their friends about you.

You work hard. Because you work so hard, you should dedicate yourself to becoming the best professional you can be. That means learning along the way. Taking the initiative to sign up for this short course shows that you would like to better yourself. The better a business professional you become, the more you can charge your customers, and if you step up to the gold standard, customers will not only pay a higher rate, but they’ll beat a path to your door.

The next lesson in this series will help you understand how to close the sale while charging more money. This quick two minute read can double your income instantly, so keep an eye out for it!