YOU can do-it-yourself

I grew up the son of a mechanical engineer. It's where I learned most of my basic skills for fixing just about anything. Working on things was just part of growing up, and I just assumed everyone grew up that way until I was much older. 

The interesting thing about my dad was that he didn't just fix things. Most of the time, if we needed something, he'd build it. If we needed a tool and there either wasn't one easily available, or, better yet, such a tool didn't exist, he'd make one. Sometimes it meant modifying something he already had, and other times it meant building something from scratch with a welder and some stock metal. 

It wasn't until I was well into adulthood that I realized that your time is worth money, and that just because you can do something yourself doesn't necessarily mean you should. Sometimes, doing what you do best, and allowing someone else to do what they do best for you is the answer. I'm not afraid to admit that there are things that I can do, but not necessarily do well...or efficiently. And never forget to factor in your time when considering whether a project is worth doing yourself. 

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I had a friend who bought a car several years ago. He bought the car for $5000, spent $300 on parts, and then sold it a month later for $7000. To hear him tell the story, he'd "made" $1700 on the deal. Not bad...until you consider ALL the factors. He bought the car in Florida, and never accounted for the gas and two days' driving from Atlanta. He spent at least 30-35 hours doing the labor of installing some new parts, detailing the car, and fixing a few minor issues. He sold the car to the fifth person that looked at it, yet never factored in the time he took to show it to the other 4 potential buyers. So, even if his time was only worth minimum wage, he probably barely broke even on the deal. Never underestimate the value of your time.

I'm always more than willing to show or teach a customer a little about the repair or project I'm doing for them. Some find it fascinating, are curious to learn, and appreciate your honesty and wisdom, while others just want it fixed. If they end up tackling their next project on their own, then I get some gratitude from that, even if it means I don't make a dime. It's good business and good karma.