For every home project that is completed successfully, there are probably 10 others that end in failure or not started because good intentions run into harsh realities. Many of these failures can be laid at the footsteps of the home improvement television networks, which simplify projects and give a false narrative that anyone can do it. The biggest expression of pending failure comes when a new homeowner spouts off comments like, “This looks easy, I can do this.” For their part, they may have never picked up a saw or hammer in their lifetime.
If home repair were so easy, they would be lined up 10 deep, given the massive labor shortage and high pay in the construction industry. Making home repairs is like hitting a baseball—it is much harder than it looks.
The 3Ms of Home Project Killers are 1. Measurement • 2. Motivation • 3. Money. Anyone can stop a project immediately and kill any thought of the home repair. If your idea can withstand the dreaded 3Ms, you might finish it successfully.
The first M is Measurement. You cannot count the number of projects killed by a tape measure. It is amazing how easy a tub, vanity, cabinet, door, or window fits in a new project with just the eyeballs of the person who is pushing the project. However, when the reality of the tape measure is pulled out, many times it is too big or too small. When you start considering a construction project always measure first. It will save you a lot of time an energy.
The second M is Motivation. Sitting on the couch on a Sunday morning drinking coffee can be inspiring, especially if you are looking around the house for projects you would like to do. Big plans can be cooked up during times of relaxation or cocktail hour, because you are dreaming. Few people have the ability to dream big and then bring those dreams to fruition, because somewhere along the way reality meets motivation. The reality is simple—big dreams and projects require a lot of work and effort. Keep dreams doable and keep yourself motivated by achieving your dreams with one goal at a time. A big, long-term goal is harder to reach than smaller short-term goals.
The third M is Money. Most people, even those in the construction industry, have no concept of the actual cost to do construction and repair projects. Planning, permitting, labor, materials, and logistics all have hidden costs that are unaccounted for. Plus, there are waste factors and mistakes. Pricing can be especially challenging during times like this fall when commodity wood pricing hit a record high. Do not price projects on old pricing, assumptions, or the opinion of your uncle who once worked on a construction crew. Put pen to paper and with the assistance of a calculator break down every cost. Then be sure to add at least a five percent waste factor. Remember, there are no absolutes in construction projects.
Worse than the 3Ms of Home Project Killers is a homeowner who ignores the 3Ms and ends up with a project that is incomplete or fails. Good planning and a real assessment of your 1. Measurement • 2. Motivation • 3. Money can determine if you should tackle a project or just drink coffee on Sunday mornings.
Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House.