2017 was a very strong year for home remodeling and it looks like 2018 is going to be even better. As of January even Goldman Sachs wanted a piece of the pie. If you've ever remodeled a home you'll know from experience how painful it is. Everyone (architects, contractors, designers) you have a consultation with, will tell you something different. It's hard for a user to understand the process so they end up trusting the professionals who are incentivized to get them to spend more money.
I contributed to the companies overall strategy including identifying and defining what problems are worth solving.
Dwellity organizes and keeps track of your entire project details in one place. Design, ordering finishes, budgeting, invoices, and payment.
We wanted to learn what process homeowners go through when deciding to remodel, their motivations, why they select a builder, frustrations during the process, and how builders/designers/pms work with the customer.
I took a 3 step approach:
1) 10 screened user interviews (userinterviews.com, 5 homeowners & 5 full service contractors)
2) Observed a fraction of 2 peoples renovation
3) Data to understand and validate needs
I used data to understand why homeowners decide to remodel.
National Association of Realtors Report
When I'm remodeling my home, I want to be sure I'm making the right decision so I do not get taken advantage of or waste money.
Invoicing and payment
People are running back and forth to the bank to pay contractors. Payment is cash or check and often paid within the same week (sorry no 30 day grace period). Tracking payments is manual, often done in google docs or an excel sheet. Out of the 5 users we interviewed, only 1 of all the different payments made was taken on credit card.
Pricing varies widely across shops. Department stores like Lowes and Home Depot have low prices but lacks selection. People have to go to 2-5 store for each material. There are floor stores, tile stores, cabinet stores, and to ensure they get a good deal, they end up going to multiple each type of shop. It's easy for a buyer to end up going to 10-15 shops just for a basic kitchen remodel.
Even with AngiesList, HomeAdvisor, and Houzzz this process is STILL heavily dependent on word of mouth. Users can not trust reviews on these sites because while HomeAdvisor will show 4.7 stars while Yelp shows 2 stars. 4 out of 5 users interviewed decided on contractors who did work at a family/friends house in the past, regardless of cost, because they can see quality of work.
» Everyone has a different process
» People are unaware of what needs to be ordered, how long it takes, and how to coordinate delivery
» When do you hire different people? Examples, historical evaluation (if needed), geo technical engineers, structural, architects, etc
I organized the findings from the user interviews and identified the top 3 problems based on:
3 Considerations for defining MVP
1) How can the business make money?
2) How can we maximize daily active users?
3) How can we design viral loops to increase our user base?
Top 3 Pain Points
1) Finding contractors
2) Project management
3) Shopping for finishes
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