Even the most practiced professional sometimes runs into a new problem he or she doesn’t know how to handle, or encounters a situation where they need help. Whether it’s just learning how to do a new kind of installation or needing a specific specialty item to do work that you aren’t familiar with, knowing where to turn when you’re in a little over your head is part of the job.
There are lots of different places to turn when you need advice or assistance, but not all resources are created equal. That’s why we asked our home industry experts where they turn when they need help. They had many suggestions and helpful comments about the many different resources available to home improvement professionals, so we collected a few of their favorites.
As with most problems these days, the Internet is one of the first places to turn when you need new information. The Internet is a vast resource, and should never be discounted. However, while the Internet can have a lot of good information, it can also have just as much bad information, and finding an online source you trust can be tricky. Here are just a few of the sites our experts recommended, and what they had to say about them:
Katie, from Roomations, finds a lot of her inspiration from these sites:
Jennifer Dusina, of Organized Living, has a great social media suggestion for those in the home improvement industry:
Josh Booker, of Certified Electricians also recommends Houzz, as well as:
Mark Puglisi, of Greenleaf Pest Control, also recommends finding blogs or websites run by professionals in your industry whose work you admire and whose experience you trust. There are many different varieties of bloggers all across the Internet, and it’s important to find one who you like and can rely on to have good information. Not everybody will like the same blogs, so do a little searching around and figure out which ones are best suited to your company.
While the Internet is an obvious go-to when you’re looking for information, it’s important to remember that there are many other resources closer to home. Big home improvement chain stores like Lowes and Home Depot offer both specialty materials and professional advice (as well as DIY advice, for homeowners), and you might be surprised what you can find there. Plus, most of these stores have online presences as well, so you can check their sites before you go to see what’s in stock.
Local small businesses are also abundant, though you might have to work a little harder to find them. A small business might not have the retail power of the bigger chains, but they are better able to accommodate your needs on a personal level, and you can rest assured knowing that your money stays in the community if you buy anything from them. And if it’s only information you’re after, don’t overlook the library! This may be the digital age, but much of the best advice available can be found in printed texts, and librarians are very good at locating hard-to-find information. Plus, it’s free. Take advantage of it!
Finally, and most importantly, having positive business relationships with other companies in your area can make a world of difference to your company, regardless of what your specialty is. Knowing who else is in your community and what kind of work they can do gives you a much wider variety of options when it comes to the types of jobs you can accept. Teaming up with other professionals is also a fantastic learning opportunity! To find other professionals in your area, do a quick search for local professional groups or meet-ups; often you can find support networks put in place specifically to encourage professional relationships. And when you’ve found somebody you like working with, ask them who else they work with, and for an introduction. A wide variety of professional relationships means more opportunities for success for you.