DIY vs. DIFM: Teaching Millennial Homeowners DIY Skills—or Doing It for Them—is Big Business

By Rieva Lesonsky

Many retailers, according to Apartment Therapy, think millennials are still incapable of doing things for themselves. Apparently the theory is that millennials are incapable of DIY so they’ll turn to retailers to DIFM (do-it-for-me). Since Apartment Therapy is a home/design site, it’s specifically referring to millennials wanting retailers (or someone) to “fill the gap between their desire for a cozy, welcoming home, and the practical life skills needed to get there.”

This matters in the home market—Zillow says its research shows “young adults are actually driving the housing market.” In fact, Zillow research shows half of today’s home buyers are under the age of 36, and have an average household income of $87,500.

What’s of particular importance to businesses, though, is that 86% of millennial homeowners “made at least one home improvement in the past year.” Despite having no skills, Apartment Therapy says millennials are eager to jump in and try to DIY, likely to save money.

This makes millennial homeowners a potentially lucrative market for businesses to target. Many are helping educate these millennials by “hosting classes and posting online tutorials to teach basic home repair, like installing a ceiling fan or painting a room.” This approach is counting on millennials to actually embrace DIY—once they learn how to do it.

Then there’s the DIFM crowd. Retailers that previously focused on providing design services (Apartment Therapy cites West Elm as an example) are now offering home repair and installation services to help this market.

This isn’t just the province of big businesses: SMBs can take full advantage of this trend as well. For example, Dolly, an Uber-like service that allows users to request help with local deliveries from their smartphones, offers services such as hiring people to move your furniture when you’ve scheduled carpet cleaners. It also provides truck pickup consumers can call when they buy something on Craigslist.

Or Lula, which offers a mobile app that instantly provides consumers with on-demand home services from home-care professionals, like lawn care, HVAC repair, housecleaning, etc. It’s upfront pricing model makes it particularly appealing to consumers.

There are millions of millennials still in their teens and 20s, so coming up with a DIFM approach to home décor, repair and design now could prove profitable for years to come.

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