If there is one thing that is clear because of the worldwide economic crunch, it is that people are starting to look at themselves to provide many services that they used to rely on others for. It is the DIY culture reborn. Take a look around you.
Before, people used to hire all sorts of service providers in order to get even the smallest things done. Need the grass or bushes trimmed? Call a gardener. Need the house cleaned? Call a house cleaner. Need to have a light fixed? Call an electrician. No time to walk the dogs? Call a dog walker. I could go on and on.
It used to be that people who ran this sort of business had a steady flow of income streaming in. Ordinary people had become so busy with their other activities that even the smallest of errands, they had to ask someone else to do for them (and pay for the service as well).
With money getting hard to come by, though, more and more people are learning to do things for themselves once again. The New York Times actually had a feature on this phenomenon, citing concrete examples and numbers:
Responsible for roughly 18 million jobs nationwide, according to 2006 Census Bureau data, these companies have long been seen as engines of America’s economic growth. Yet after years of explosive expansion, many beauty salons, dry cleaners, landscapers, dog walkers, nanny services and restaurants experienced slower sales growth or even decline in the final months of 2008.
Their services are suddenly, and painfully, being perceived as nonessential.
The question now for these businesses is whether demand will stabilize or, eventually, drop enough to force them to close. And the answer may depend on whether consumers’ new penchant for self-service is temporary or permanent.
Indeed, at this point, we do not know how long the DIY perception will remain or even if it will. In the meantime, if you run a service for a business, it may be wise to look at other options.