DIY giant Homebase recently announced that they will be closing down a quarter of its stores come 2019.
Upon hearing this news, 2 things dawned on me. First, I need to start thinking of a way on how to repurpose their big outlets. Second, is this the start of the end for property renovation in the UK?
Just look at the numbers. In a study conducted to 18-25 year old Brits, only: 5 per cent could unblock a sink, 6 per cent can bleed a radiator; 8 per cent can rewire a plug; 12 per cent could use a drill; and 17 per cent can hang a picture!
To think that a few decades ago, these skills would have been basic knowledge to a lot of people, not just paid professionals, because they picked up the skill in school or their parents taught them how to.
But that’s just it. People used to be taught these things, but the way school curriculums are created nowadays, there’s little focus on basic carpentry skills. Some schools even drop traditional crafting and practical arts programs because teachers don’t have the proper health and safety training to operate the tool required to teach the subject.
Because less people are able to hone basic DIY skills, companies like Homebase are experiencing a hit in their sales. In addition, because of the lack of DIY skills, less and less people are willing to renovate property themselves and opting to hire professionals instead. Given that, is it still possible to make good profit in property renovations if you are forced to spend on labour? I say yes, even without DIY skills, it’s still possible to make money in renovations. Moreover, there have been outside forces that has made DIY more expensive than it should be.
Take for example fixing electronic equipment. Yes, buying electronic parts are cheaper than hiring professionals. But some EU directive has prohibited people to fix any piece of electronic equipment without professional supervision. So why buy the tools in the first place and then labour yourself while paying for a professional to monitor your work? It makes more sense to just pay the professional to do the work.
Aside from that, new Building Regulations specifications state that all electrical works must meet the specified requirements – meaning every job should be done by a qualified electrician. This is, admittedly, best for everyone.
Another thing I’d like to point out is that doing renovations with the help of experienced and trusted builders, without any manual DIY projects, may actually help us with our total property renovation costs in the long run. In a new survey from the Lloyds Banking Group, it was found that 3.3 million people spend an average of £3,200 correcting mistakes from dodgy DIY projects.
Now that regular folks possess less experience and knowledge about DIY projects, they are now starting to rely more and more to professionals to do their renovation work for them. And this actually has hidden benefits. You commit fewer mistakes and you get more quality output for the time, money, and effort you put in.
Simply put, the closure of some retail stores doesn’t automatically mean the end of your property success with renovation, but, rather, another project that’s already run its course.