Getting help = more time to make money

grass healthy Getting help = more time to make moneyIn a momentous move for me, I’ve finally actually paid someone to do something I really could’ve done myself. This is a huge change for me, and I can’t believe it took me until almost 40 years old before I could get comfortable with it.

I paid a strong young guy $250 to rip out about 30 feet of shrubs and blackberry brambles. It took him two days in the sun, and two or three pickup truck loads of hauling. That’s quite a deal for me, and he seemed pretty happy with his pay, though perhaps he underestimated the work a little.

Basically, my house was looking too scrubby, and despite my best intentions I just could not find the time to rip out the ugliness. Nor do I have a truck to haul away the debris. But despite that, I was working steadily away at the task until I realized a simple truth. I make $100 to $150 an hour. Brush removal is not worth $100 per hour. It would be different if I enjoyed it, but … ahhh … no.

On one level, I know it is no big deal. Lots of people hire lawn services, maid services or personal assistants. But for me, it was a line I simply hadn’t ever felt comfortable crossing. It is one thing to pay for an expert to fix your car, and an entirely different thing to pay someone to do what you could very well do if you weren’t so lazy (so says my Protestant work-ethic).

It was a good first step, but I actually intend to hire many more such services. I’m simply too busy with my new business and the work is too readily available for me to not take advantage of the obviously financial advantages I’ll reap by doing so. If I liked washing dishes or clothes, I suppose I would keep doing it. I don’t, so a maid is next on the list, along with a regular lawn service arrangement. Wow, it’s like I’m becoming a grownup or something.

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5 comments to Getting help = more time to make money

  • [...] blog entry at http://fearlessmoney.com/2007/getting-help-more-time-to-make-money.html made me smile. I can relate to the idea of doing a job yourself just because you can. It’s a [...]

  • [...] I mentioned in my previous post Getting help=more time to make money, it is time for my family to get a [...]

  • I also earn more per hour than lots of menial tasks would cost to outsource. However, a couple of considerations stop me from outsourcing most of these tasks:

    1. I only earn my “normal” pay rate when I’m working at my full-time paid job. Whereas I do menial tasks in my “own” time. If I did outsource these tasks I couldn’t automatically do extra hours of paid work at my normal rate instead – I’d have to go out and get ad hoc, casual, hourly-rate work which would only pay a fraction of my “normal” rate.

    2. You get what you pay for. When I clean the kitchen floor and dry the dishes I do a good, hygenic job. There are lots of horror stories about hired help taking shortcuts – wiping the dishes with the same cloth they just used to wipe over the bench top etc.

    3. If it’s too much trouble to do these tasks yourself you can probably just skip them completely, rather than spend money on them.

    There are some jobs I’d like to outsource, but it’s often not as economical as you might hope. For example, I have allergies to grass and pollens, so I only cut the lawn when it really needs it (about once a month when it’s growing). I’d love to outsource this task, but the lawn mowing services we contacted are only interested in regular weekly bookings (costing $35 or more for a 30 minute job!). The quote to cut the lawn as a once-off job was $85, and then the service never turned up to do the job – obviously not worth their while. So, realistically I’d have to pay around $100 a month to replace cutting the lawn myself. For $100 cash, tax-free, I’ll put on a dust-mask and cut the grass myself in 30 minutes. It’s good exercise too, so you can add in another $15 or so in gym fees I’d save…

    Regards
    http://enoughwealth.com

  • Good points, enoughwealth.

    However, I disagree with most of them, or come at them from a different angle than you.

    1) I have so much work that this does not apply to me. If I accepted the work, and would not have my brain explode from the overload, I could have 100 paid hours a week.

    I’ve written before that *everyone* should have a business of their own, even if they remain a full-time employee. I strongly believe that you are missing out on many incredible opportunities for personal growth and for profit if you do not do this. That would alleviate the concern that you wouldn’t be freeing valuable/momey-making time by hiring people.

    2) Politely, I call bull. This is the type of argument commonly used when you go looking for evidence to support a preconceived idea. You can find horror stories about any profession, and any task, not just household or yard help.

    For example, there are a lot of crooks in car repair shops, but many (possibly most) people still hire a professional rather than fix their car by themselves. In fact, when it comes to oil changes I’d argue that it is generally environmentally irresponsible and arguably more expensive to do it yourself, unless you are so well set up that it is almost beyond a hobby at that point.

    As another example, I pay people to grow most of my food for me, though in theory I *could* grow my own, and do in fact have a large garden which I enjoy keeping.

    Why is a maid different? I could clean, and I’d do a good job. So can a maid. The difference is that I can fire a maid if he or she is sloppy or routinely skimps on the job.

    3) You can’t reasonably skip doing (or having done) yard work and house cleaning. It just isn’t feasible.

    If I could get my yard (at half an acre) done for $100 a month, I’d instantly take that offer. That’s about what I make for an hour of work after taxes. I did lawn-service in the summer as a college job, with the result that I quite literally loathe the work. I’ve mowed enough lawns for my whole life.