Ask the Builder: Believe in your own DIY powers – The Spokesman Review
Sat., Sept. 3, 2022
Years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of a small company in eastern Indiana. His company, at the time, made what I believed to be the best penetrating deck sealers I could find. We used to play golf together and talk business as we wandered through the woods looking for our stray balls.
One day, I told him about a really big, intimidating project I was about to undertake. I’ll never forget what he told me after I described what I was trying to do. All he said was, “Elephants are best eaten one bite at a time.”
That wisdom put the project in perspective for me. I was able to see the big picture and am happy to say I completed the project over a period of months slightly ahead of schedule.
Do you need inspiration? Are you facing the same issues I hear about each day from homeowners just like you? They tell me that inflation is causing the price of remodeling projects to go up faster than a rocket to the moon. I hear nightmares about not being able to get contractors to return phone calls.
Recently, I spoke with a man in California who wanted me to draw his plumbing isometric riser diagram so he could get a permit to do his own plumbing work in a house he’s remodeling. I almost fell over when he said he got bids from two plumbers for over $30,000 to install the plumbing pipes for a one-bathroom home!
This homeowner has a full-time job, but he decided that he could work evenings and weekends and somehow do the job himself. When he discovered that I even provide phone coaching to teach how to install the pipes, he was overjoyed.
I’ve got a few other stories to share, but my goal is to motivate you to believe that you just might be able to do remodeling work yourself that moments ago you never thought possible. Here’s the last thing the California man said to me on the phone: “Tim, I’m so happy to have found you. No matter what happens, I know I’ll install the pipes better than 90% of the workers that might come here and just slap them in not caring if it’s right. Heck, this is my OWN HOME! I have all the motivation in the world to do the job far better than just about any plumber I could ever hire.”
Isn’t that how you feel about your own home? Why of course it is! Are there great contractors out there who do treat what they do as a vocation and not just a job? Yes! But each day, if my incoming email is a barometer predicting the future, there are fewer and fewer and soon they might become extinct.
Here’s the best part. It’s never before been easier to get professional results when it comes to most remodeling jobs. Years ago, the secrets were well hidden. Now there are hundreds of thousands of decent videos showing you how to do things. Each year, I see more and more product manufacturers who are creating videos showing how to install their products. The Vinyl Siding Institute is but one association doing this as well. They have an impressive series of videos showing step-by-step how to install vinyl siding on your home.
Here’s a story about my own daughter. Six months ago she moved 3,000 miles away to Southern California. She’s a private flight attendant for a very wealthy person. This daughter of mine was the only one of my three children that took an interest in my work. I’ll never forget the day my wife yelled at me to get her down from the roof of the laundry room. You see, my 8-year-old daughter had said, “Dad, I want to see how you’re going to repair that shingle that was damaged from the falling limb.”
Me knowing that it was a low-slope roof and she could sit there safely watching, I helped her up the ladder. To this day, she remembers that. But now each week I do video chats with her as she tackles tougher and tougher remodeling projects in her apartment. Just a week ago, I coached her how to patch a big crack in a ceiling. She had never before worked with dry-setting joint compound, but I’m here to tell you the results were spectacular.
You can do the same thing. You can do plumbing work. You can do drywall work. You can do most carpentry jobs. I know you’re afraid of electricity, but you can do it safely in almost all cases. Roofing is even possible if you have no fear of heights and can work safely.
Years ago, I remember seeing a small book about how to work alone without a helper. The author was sharing ingenious tips about how to do projects by yourself. So don’t give me an excuse that you can’t do something because you can’t get help. There’s a good chance you can do it with some simple engineering and extra time.
I’ll finish with this. Both Zoe and Angel tackled big projects successfully with my help. Zoe installed all the plumbing in her new home, and Angel is just about finished with a new dormer. They both have the three Ds: diligence, determination and discipline. They also each had a case of ketchup and me as their lifeline.
You can do it to! Share with me what you’re about to tackle. I want to hear about your success story!
Subscribe to Carter’s free newsletter at AsktheBuilder.com. Carter does livestreaming video at 1 p.m. weekdays at youtube.com/askthebuilder.
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