DIY and home improvement shows are more popular than ever. What’s the appeal? Is it the sassy back-and-forth of our favorite twins on The Property Brothers? Is it the Rehab Addict’s insane ability to turn broken-down furniture on the side of the road into one-of-a-kind must-have home accessories? Is it the competition in Love it or List it?
Whatever the appeal is, it’s attracting big attention from homeowners all over the country who want to get an inside look at how to remodel their home or flip a house. Like all reality television, these shows offer all the things we want in a TV show. There’s drama between families and hosts. Conflicts arise that can only be solved by a quick commercial break. Surprises peak our curiosity. And in, the end, we’ve learned something. Best of all, the whole experience takes at the most an hour. What starts out as a home in need of desperate repair ends up as a million-dollar mansion.
And all on a low, low budget.
Ratings for home construction and renovation shows on HGTV, the DIY Network and TLC have increased dramatically over the years. People turn on HGTV to watch their favorite program on a Saturday morning and end up watching episode after episode all day.
If you’re in the home renovation business or you own a construction company, this interest in home improvement can be a positive thing for the growth of your business- if you know how to take advantage of it.
Taking Advantage of the Home Improvement Show Phenomenon
• Make Your Own Show- YouTube easily lets even individuals who don’t have the backing of a popular TV network to get their voice out there and show others how home improvement is really done. Take advantage of this by creating your own series of DIY tips and procedures. Homeowners will flock to your videos, asking questions and using your tips for their own remodeling purposes. Those who have bigger jobs to do may even contact you for some professional advice and work.
• Be Fun and Relatable- If there’s one thing every home improvement show host has in common, it’s that they’re fun and relatable. You want to keep coming back for more and more because you feel like you know them. They post pictures on Instagram, talk to us about the show on Facebook and give us first-hand inspiration via Pinterest. This quality is easily converted into the reality of your home improvement business. Be engaging with customers over multiple platforms. Be friendly and involve them in every step of the process. Give them ideas on how they can make their own mark when it comes to the home renovation process.
• Give Them a Sledge Hammer- After making sure that all safety precautions have been met, first, of course. But, truly do get your clients involved if they want to be. Part of the appeal for many of the shows on HGTV and the DIY Network is that the clients get to take part in tearing down their old home and old life before they decide on how to rebuild it. If they don’t want to tear apart cabinets and knock down walls, involve them in other ways, like selecting tile and backsplash for the kitchen or narrowing down flooring choices. Most will want to be involved in every step of the process anyway, but their enthusiasm may wear down after months of renovation. Try to keep their spirits up with new tasks that require their input.
• Play Toward Holmes- There are many shows on TV right now that show remodeling as a simple process where few problems can occur. These are not the shows you want to emulate. Instead, focus on Mike Holmes, Host of Holmes on Holmes and Holmes Makes it Right. He shows homeowners where home improvement projects have gone wrong and provides sound, sage advice for them to follow for the best results.
Overcoming the DIY Phenomenon
While there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the home improvement and DIY television phenomenon, your home construction business may actually be hurt by it when it comes to die-hard fans of these series. Why? Because the shows create unrealistic expectations for the viewers. When you provide your clients with an honest proposal detailing your capabilities, the price it will take to renovate their home and the amount of time you expect it to take, some may laugh in your face.
They’re too used to seeing the same renovations take place in three weeks for half that amount.
So, what are you supposed to do when this happens? The best option is to be prepared with explanations for the huge difference in price and time. Many of the contractors, electricians, plumbers and carpenters on television work for little or nothing simply because they are able to get their 15 minutes of fame. Supplies, tools and equipment are often provided at low cost or even for free by companies who want the exposure- they want their name seen by millions of viewers.
How do they get things done in such short amounts of time? Many times the hosts and the contractors on the job sleep very few hours a night, with some staying up for days to complete the job in the right amount of time. While this helps them keep on track for the television show, it isn’t a pace most people can keep up with in real life. Many shows also have more crew members working behind the scenes to help get the work done quickly. Different types of workers are in the same area, working at the same time as well; this normally doesn’t happen in real life.
In the end, all you can do is point your potential clients in the right direction. Let them know you aren’t in a hurry, and that they shouldn’t be either. Home renovation is a big task, and one that requires a lot of homework. Point them to your website for information and reviews and don’t forget to mention your helpful YouTube videos.