From the posts about plumbers charging $1500 for small jobs. I am NOT saying that the plumber doesn’t have the right to ask for that price. It’s his business, after all. It’s just that all businesses are in competition. Plumber A is in competition with Plumber B, etc. The other half of that is that all businesses that offer some sort of labor are in competition with people who would do it themselves. Restaurants, plumbers, even gunsmiths. There is a limit to what you can charge for services before people say that it isn’t worth paying someone to do it. The customer then either does without, or they do it themselves.
For me, it’s math. I look at what it would cost me to do the job, then how long it will cost. Then I compare what the service business is asking for the job. Take lawn maintenance. I could mow my own lawn, but here in Florida that means about three hours per week to mow, edge, weed eat, and blow down the sidewalks in the summer, plus another three hours a month in winter. Then there is the cost of supplies, maintenance and fuel. So call it an average of two hours per week plus about $15 a month in supplies. My lawn guy charges me $85 a month. That means the guy is doing 8 hours of work for $60, so it costs me $7.50 an hour to get my lawn mowed. I don’t mow my lawn, even though I could.
I look at it as a pure financial transaction. Let’s say (to make the math easy) that you make $50 an hour at your job. It actually would be more beneficial to pay someone to do a job than it would to do it yourself, if the job was costing you less money than you would make in the time it took to do it yourself.
Now suppose that he increased his rate to $200 a month. I might start mowing my own lawn at that point. The plumbing job is the same. The plumber was charging me $1500 parts and labor to do a job that I could do myself for a total cost of $300 in parts and tools and four hours of my time. After materials and tools, I could do it myself and save $300 an hour. That’s far more than I make, so if it’s within my capabilities, it’s worth it to simply do it myself.
There is some risk that I will not do as good a job as the pro, but at what point does the juice become not worth the squeeze? We all need to develop these skills. When TSHTF, they will be worthwhile skills to have, and now is a good time to learn.