Self Taught MBA: Empowering Homeowners at ArmchairBuilder.comcomments (1) November 13th, 2012 in Blogs
There are two obstacles for the do-it-yourselfer: tools and know-how. The home-improvement center has made most tools available and inexpensive books and magazines provide how-to advice. But for the bigger projects, from a room addition to home building, a few tools and books won't suffice. Nonetheless, many homeowners would prefer to save money and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from acting as contractor and craftsman. A few builders have tried to mine this niche for a business opportunity, providing inexperienced do-it-yourselfers with expert advice. Most notably, the UBuildIt franchise promises local expertise and a little project management, holding your hand while pointing the way along the construction process for a fee ranging from 4% to 10%. I don't know how successful they are, given that many contractors assume full responsibility and do the whole job for about the same.
Recently, I found another approach to serving the DIY niche with expertise. This one provides expertise online and for free. Michael Luckado, a builder with 17 years on the front lines, created ArmchairBuilder.com to help owner-builders "save money and avoid the hassles that sometimes plague our industry," Luckado told me by email. Unlike UBuildIt, which charges a fee and boasts local connections, Luckado's web-based business makes money by offering advertising space. "We work with sponsors and relevant partnerships. We also sell products through our ESTORE," said Luckado. Those products are forms, such as a package of trade-by-trade scope of worksheets, bid sheets, budget sheets, and guides, such as "Build a New Home Process Overview" ($7.99) and "Troubleshooting Guide for Homes" ($14.99), just in case you make a mistake.
Luckado, who earned an MBA as well as degrees in engineering, project management, bases his approach to guiding homeowners on his experience as both a troubleshooter in the warranty department of a national homebuilder, and eventually as an executive in charge of hiring and training new employees. As he explains it, "Many of our eager employee candidates didn't necessarily come in with true construction experience. The good news was that throughout my career, I had created and refined systems and procedures to help get new employees up to speed quickly. The idea being, with the proper checklists and procedures, any bright, hardworking person can build a quality home."
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