Expert Awards

getting started

Getting Started in Home Improvement: Home Expert Awards

Getting started in a new career is always a challenge, no matter how well educated you are in the field. The home improvement industry is no different; figuring out how to run a business and find customers and make sure everything runs smoothly can get complicated quickly. It’s enough to intimidate even the most determined of would-be home improvement professionals! How can you get started without losing your mind?

To find the answer to this question, we turned to our home experts, all of whom have built successful careers in the home improvement industry. They shared their experiences, and had a lot of great advice about what to do, what not to do, and what to look for in your professional relationships. We’ve collected some of their most helpful answers here.

Below, we’ve compiled a few of the helpful answers our experts provided. Check back later in the week for a follow-up article!

How do you get started in the home improvement business?

What kind of education do you need to be qualified?

Should would-be professionals go to trade school, or get an apprenticeship? Or both?

What advice do you wish you’d had when you were just starting out?

Most Inspiring

"My Dad taught me a lot about life and work and always said “no matter what you do in life, even if it is to push a broom, be the best damn broom pusher there is”." read more

Mark's advice is great not only for the home improvement industry, but for whatever field you are trying to break into. Just being qualified isn't enough--you have to be the very best that you can possibly be. Don't settle for competent. Go above and beyond, and the business rewards will come.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Creative

“Finding a mentor who can share their expertise and lessons they have learned is also very helpful when starting out a career. As a young professional, there is a lot to learn that you probably didn’t learn in school, and this person will be an invaluable guide.” read more

Apprenticeship is not a thing of the past, like many people seem to think. Finding someone who is already doing what you want to do can be immeasurably valuable to a young professional just starting out. They can help you figure out your career goals, and steer you away from the traps that they fell into when they were getting started. It makes your life infinitely easier when you can benefit from the experience of a mentor.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Insightful

“I think there are two questions here; one about breaking into the business I’m in and the second is being an owner.... I enjoy both aspects of my career but they are very different.... Most people realize early on if they have the personality, initiative and desire the complexities of responsibilities that come with upper management and ownership. There isn’t anything wrong with choosing a profession and also deciding ownership or management isn’t for you.” read more

As Nancy points out, working in home improvement doesn't have to mean opening and running your own business. Some people view owning their own company as the best way to succeed in the industry, but in truth many people are perfectly happy working for someone else's. Before you decide to start your own company, you should be sure you have the necessary skills and desire to do the administrative work. Otherwise, focus on your craft, and find somebody willing to hire you instead of hiring yourself.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Articulate

“1.Buy the best tools that you can afford.
2.Treat you clients with respect and honesty.
3.Be on time, be on schedule and stay on budget.” read more

Pablo's comment offered a wonderful, concise list of things to focus on to achieve both professional and personal success and happiness. We loved his comment because it was so helpful and to-the-point, but these three points in particular stood out. Take your business seriously, behave professionally, and hold yourself to the standard you would expect of a professional in your industry. Customers and employees alike will appreciate it.

eLocal Expert Network

Most Informative

“When you have built up the skills needed to start your own practice (including knowing how to set your fees and understanding contracts), I recommend you begin initially with freelance work while you still have a job with an employer, provided they allow “moonlighting”. That will enable you to build up enough of a client base to then make the jump to being a full time solo practitioner.” read more

For those who eventually want to start their own business, Katie's comment is full of helpful advice. Freelancing is a great option for those who are just starting out, before they're ready to jump to working solo full-time. Jumping straight into your own business will likely leave you struggling to make ends meet; instead, work freelance while maintaining a regular job, so you can build up the necessary client base.

eLocal Expert Network