CLEVELAND — More people have been stuck at home, leading to more people making house repairs or doing renovations themselves. However, even if they’re not bringing a professional into their home during the pandemic, some are relying on experts to tell them how to do the job.
“I mean a lot of these things, I can do it myself,” says 36-year-old Lam Doan. “I just need someone to tell me what to do.”
Like many others, the extra time Doan is spending at home has meant appliances and gadgets getting more use and breaking down. People are also noticing things they may not like about their home and looking for a way to improve it.
“I can fix somethings, but I’m not a skilled professional. I don’t know how to do it the right way," say Doan. "There are some things that I may or may not know and sometimes, I just don’t want to mess up,” he explains.
Despite wanting professional help, many like Lam have been trying to do it themselves. Companies like Lowes are reporting sales increases in nearly every store category during the coronavirus pandemic. On the flip side, many home-repair services saw a drop during lock downs and concern over a handy-person coming into the house. So, businesses like Fixer.com decided to pivot.
“With the advent of the current virus situation, we realized that people really wanted to have a way to have a contactless solution for their home,” says Fixer founder, Mike Evans.
Fixer isn’t alone. Companies like Homeserve, Dwelling and others have all moved to virtual house calls. They work pretty similarly, you describe the issue while uploading photos or videos and a technician sets an up an appointment with you to virtually walk you through jobs big or small.
“We’ve been surprised at just how many people can fix something with a little bit of coaching,” says Evans. “People know more than they think.”
They all range in cost, but they’re all understandably cheaper than having a professional make a house call and Evans says they’ve become so popular that virtual home assistance may have been born during the coronavirus, but it certainly won’t go away when the virus does.
“We started the video consults as a response to the current situation that’s happening,” says Evans. “The reality is that it’s so much more convenient and so much less expensive. We think that it’s a solution that’s here to stay.”
Doan has used Fixer several times for guidance and says, “This is exactly perfect. I don’t need someone to do it for me. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”