When Is It Better Not to Do The Job Yourself

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Doing a job yourself doesn't always save as much money as you think.

Want to save money?

“Do it yourself.” they say, but tackling a job yourself isn’t always the best answer.

As a general rule, I love to at least attempt to do a repair or maintenance job myself. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment I feel when finished, especially when taking on a job which I view as a bit of a challenge. If it doesn’t work out and I end up calling in a professional, so be it. It doesn’t cost anything extra (usually) to have tried, and a good part of the time my attempt is successful.

Over the years, I have removed wild animals from my attic, replaced faucets and innards of toilets, swapped out a dying solenoid, and built a deck in my backyard, just to name a few.

There are a handful of jobs, however, which I will not even attempt to do myself. To help decide I ask myself the following questions.

1. Is it a dangerous job?

Some jobs, because of the skill or knowledge required, or conditions which are present, are too dangerous for most mere mortals to do on their own and should be handled by professionals. Personally, I draw the line at anything involving gas or electric, climbing trees – or anything beyond about three steps up a ladder for that matter.

For safety reason, a professional should also always be consulted for anything involving lead paint or asbestos. Almost anything else, I’m willing to give it a try.

2. Is it cheaper to have it done by someone else?

I have learned that it is often cheaper to pay someone else to do what they do best. What could easily take me half a day is a 30 minute job for someone who knows what they are doing. My time is better spent doing what I do best.

Oil changes at home are a thing of the past. It’s not worth the small amount of savings to do it myself, especially when coupons come in the mail for a discount at the place just up the street.

In the past, I’ve done a lot of home repairs myself, but not so much anymore. If it’s going to take me away from my work for more than an hour, I add it to the list for the handyman. When I’ve got enough for him to do that it makes sense to call, I do.

I try to keep this same principle in mind with my work as well. The logo for this website I could have created myself with PhotoShop, but I’m not proficient with the software and it would have taken me hours, struggling to learn what I needed to do for every minor detail. Instead, I went to fiverr.com and had it done for $5.

If you have a lot of free time, go ahead and tackle those jobs and pocket the savings.

If free time is sparse, calculate what you’re time is worth if you’re working for pay. Then compare it to how much time it would take for you to do the job vs. how much you would pay someone else.

3. Do I have the tools needed to do the job?

If I don’t have the tools needed, can I borrow them or rent them?

If a $500 tool which I’ll only use once is required, it may not make sense to try to do the job myself.

4. Is it a job I hate?

I hate mowing grass…. the heat, the dirt, the noise, even going back and forth in monotonous little circles. Boring!

For years, I forced myself to do the job anyway.

“You’re not lazy. Get up and do it.”, I’d tell myself.

As an Oklahoma farm girl, I spent every summer throughout high school behind the wheel of an 8020 John Deere tractor, sans cab or a/c, baling hay to earn money for my first car. If I can survive that… why not this?

All the self talk in the world didn’t change the fact that every time I had to mow that damn yard I HATED it!

I no longer mow my own grass. To be honest, the hardest part of giving up the job was dealing with an odd sense of having failed or ‘gone soft’, but I’ve learned to live with it. Assuming I have enough disposable income to do so, I will never again mow another yard as long as I live… and I’m not ashamed. 🙂

Some people treat themselves to pedicures or day trips through the Poconos. I treat myself by sitting back, sipping a soda, reading a book and watching someone else do the mowing.

Where do you draw the line? What jobs do you choose to hire someone else to do?

Photo courtesy of stoonn at freedigitalphotos.net.

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