We live in an age of specialization. The day of the generalist largely is over – replaced by someone trained to get results in a limited scope of the overall issue. Doctors are a classic example. Look at how many medical specialties there are compared with the general practitioner of old, one who even made house calls. The business model for physicians has a lot to do with how they practice medicine today, but the point is that there are many doctors who specialize in a very narrow area of practice.
In the aging in place market, people need results, they expect them, and they are counting on us to deliver them. We are not immune from the concept of specialization. There are contractors who can do everything from a fence, carport, backyard feature, room addition, kitchen or bath remodel, and more. Some focus on just one or two of these and get to know the ins and outs of them quite well.
Whether people who need our help have waited years for necessary repairs to be done because they have put them off or didn’t have the money until now, or it’s a recent development that requires fairly immediate attention, they aren’t looking for someone to experiment at their expense. They need us to be ready to respond to their requirements – and to know how to do so.
Some businesses allow for and actually provide on-the-job training because they don’t expect people to have the necessary skills to do the required job when they arrive. They are willing to bring people along as they work into the necessary skill set to do the job well. We don’t have time for that, and neither do our clients.
There’s an old adage for success that says a person should “fake it ’til you make it,” but our clients – and the strategic partners we seek out to work with to provide quality solutions for our clients – want the real deal. There’s too much at stake to show up unprepared to do the work. Talking a good game won’t do. We need to be ready to deliver as promised and represented.
On-the-job training may be fine for some pursuits, but in the aging in place market where we are creating essential solutions for people, we are talking about working inside their homes and using their hard-earned savings (or loan proceeds) wisely. We have a fiduciary responsibility to them that cannot be undertaken on just a general idea of how to approach something.
It’s more than just displaying confidence about what we might be able to do or what we think we should be capable of providing. We actually have to have the technical expertise to evaluate what our clients need, advise them about what works within their budget, prioritize the work if necessary to accommodate their budget, and then deliver our solutions as we have described them.
This is more than just a typical remodeling effort. It involves creating safe, accessible, and comfortable conditions for people that likely can’t do the work themselves – even if they really wanted to. Perhaps they can’t envision or perceive the scope of work or renovations that need to be done either.
People want to enjoy living in their homes long-term. It does no good to agree with them that changes need to be made to accomplish that purpose if we aren’t the ones who can do it for them.
Regardless of the nature of our profession or what skills we can contribute to the overall renovation project for our clients, we need to up-to-speed with what we are doing and how everything fits together before we ever market ourselves or represent to the public that we can provide solutions for them.
Aging in place solutions are just too vital and important for it to be done any other way.