A survey shows that Americans like to search online for home maintenance tips, but the majority turn to the pros for help
Uh-oh, your guests are arriving soon, and your sink is clogged! Where will you turn to find a quick solution? Does the internet hold all the answers you need? Or do you prefer calling an expert or a family member to help?
The Home Improvement Research Institute noted in a recent study that the majority of homeowners have at least some level of DIY confidence, as only 15% of their respondents stated they don’t do any DIY work on their homes.
Since most Americans are not home maintenance experts, when repair projects arise, they often seek a trusted source for advice on how to inexpensively resolve home repairs.
To find out who they trust the most and their confidence level in their own DIY home maintenance skills, we conducted our own survey of 1,000 Americans.
36% of people trust Google most for home maintenance advice, ahead of repair pros (29%) and family or friends (22%).
64% call on a professional after initial online research.
Women (40%) trust Google results more than men (33%) do.
Men are consistently more confident in tackling home maintenance without online tips.
People who live alone are consistently less confident about their DIY home maintenance skills.
Read on to discover how your home repair habits compare to this sample population of Americans. We’ll also provide tips on how to identify when you need a professional for your home maintenance projects.
36% of Americans Turn to Google First for Home Repair Advice
When a home repair emergency strikes, our survey revealed that 36% of Americans turn to Google as their first resource for researching a solution. Contacting an industry expert directly was the second most common preference, with 29% of the vote, followed by 22% choosing to reach out to family or friends.
Survey results also showed that women, at 40%, are more likely to trust Google for their initial problem-solving research than men, at 33%. Men were slightly more likely than women to opt for a professional repair person as their most trusted resource, at 31% to 27%, respectively.
But 64% Call in the Pros After Initial Online Research
64% of people admitted calling a professional after an initial online search for DIY home maintenance tips. Of that group, one in four said they looked online for a few hours before calling, while one in five noted they called a pro after only researching online for a few minutes.
We also discovered that 13% of people do not search for home maintenance tips online at all. And one in four stated they do not normally need to hire a professional for these tasks.
Men Are Almost 12% More Confident Than Women in Knowledge of DIY Repairs
We looked at specific common household maintenance projects, from unexpected tasks like patching a hole in drywall to seasonal needs like cleaning your gutters, to get a sense of Americans’ comfort level in tackling each one. Men were consistently more confident handling every task except painting a room, averaging a 50% confidence level over women’s average confidence level of 38%.
A majority of Americans were sure they didn’t need Google for certain projects, with 70% stating they could handle painting a room and 63% unafraid of unclogging a drain.
But when breaking down these results along gendered lines, 70% of men were confident about taking on a clogged drain compared to 58% of women being willing to face the challenge.
Men were also three times as confident as women that they can install a dimmer switch without looking online for help—33% versus 10%, respectively. The one turn of the tables was in painting a room, where women were 6% more confident than men.
Living With Someone Boosts DIY Confidence by More Than 10%
Living with a spouse, partner, or roommate can also influence people’s confidence when facing a home repair. Our survey revealed a 12% difference in the average confidence level of people living with someone versus those living alone. Having someone there to bounce ideas off of and serve as a cheerleader in your efforts can bolster your belief in your skills.
Our survey found that certain tasks that may require more than one person, or are more efficiently completed when the work is split up, saw the biggest difference in confidence level between people cohabitating and those who lived alone.
For example, 79% of people living with someone were willing to jump into painting a room the perfect color without researching tips online, compared to 58% of people living alone. Sharing the job naturally takes less time to complete, making it less daunting.
And half of the survey respondents sharing their homes didn’t fear climbing a ladder to clean their gutters. Having an extra set of hands available to hold the ladder surely takes away some fear of the job. Conversely, only 36% of those living alone wanted to tackle the project without online advice.
How to Identify When You Need a Professional for Home Maintenance
As our survey results show, the value of trusted home maintenance professionals holds strong—even in the digital age. Google results can only take you so far sometimes, and most people still need in-person and skilled assistance to resolve home repairs.
So how do you recognize when you should contact a pro for advice and in-home service?
Consider these factors when considering outsourcing your home maintenance tasks:
Cost: We recommend getting three estimates for the job to best weigh prices against your own projected DIY costs.
Safety: Can you safely take on the task? Some projects, such as electrical work and gutter cleaning, may pose risks of shocks or falling from tall heights.
Your DIY skill level: Realistically consider your own confidence level in taking on each home maintenance task based on your previous experiences and knowledge base.
Your time availability: Do you have only a few hours or perhaps an entire weekend to devote to troubleshooting your home repair? If the potential time needed exceeds the time you’re available and willing to commit, contact a professional for an efficient and timely fix.
No matter if you start researching your project online, jump into it on your own, or go straight to a professional, remember that every repair has the potential to add value to your home.
The Home Improvement Research Institute has noted that, while the number of DIY home projects was huge during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, they anticipate a 60% increase in demand for professionals as homeowners grow more comfortable having others in their homes again.
So, if you’re currently stuck with a leaky faucet that you just can’t fix, consider reaching out to a home maintenance professional today.
The survey was conducted on YouGov Direct for Angi.com. 1,000 U.S. adults 18+ were interviewed on Oct. 29, 2021 between 12:00 p.m. and 2:44 p.m. Eastern time. Data is weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults 18+ in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 5.1% for the overall sample.