This of Part 2 of my reponse to a question asking, “My background is not in the building trades. How do I learn the required skills to start a business in repairing houses and renting them out?”
How to learn the appropriate skills:
3. Draw on the Past
After I got more involved in the repair work of our houses, I thought back about how my father had taught me a lot by example. I recall seeing him construct screened-in porches on various houses that we had lived in. I was too young to help out much at the time, or to appreciate what he was doing, but looking back I realize that it required a strong desire to learn the basic principals, and a sense of self-confidence to build it. He had no formal training in construction, and didn’t have reference books like I do, but he learned by observing other porches that had been built in the neighborhood.
I also have a friend who has made a career out of living frugally. He does virtually all of his own house repair and car repair work. If he gets stuck, he goes to the library and finds books to help him. It helps that he has a background in teaching vocational eduction. We have helped each other with house repair projects over the years, and he is a source of practical advice when I need help.
You too may have family members, or friends, that you can draw insight and inspiration from when it comes to making repairs.
4.Create a House Repair Library
I like to scour the fix-up book areas at used book stores for good buys. I buy a book as soon as I see it if I know that it has valuable information. In the past, I have waited to purchase the book only to return later and find that the book I had wanted was gone. The price you pay will literally be a drop in the bucket compared to the money you will save. I have books on almost every possible repair topic, including electrical wiring, plumbing, flooring, you name it. Some books that offer information on a wide variety of repairs, such as Reader’ Digest “Fix-it Yourself Manual” and Better Home and Gardens Complete Guide to Home Repair,” are also good to have. See my earlier blog for more infomation on recommended repair books.
When a book is not enough, I can usually get good advice on specific jobs at hardware stores, like Ace Hardware. And, you can sometimes get advice on difficult repairs by doing a Google search.