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Window on the world

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Once again, I’m about to pay someone to do home improvement work I’m perfectly capable of doing. I’d do it myself – and enjoy doing it – but just don’t have the time.

I’ve spoken before about my longstanding desire to have a window in my shop. I want some natural light in there and, more importantly, a means of ventilation and summer cooling when opening the garage door isn’t practical. I’ve installed windows (and doors) before, so it’s something I can easily manage, but once again I’m hiring someone else to do it.

What am I, nuts? Pay someone else to do something for labor that would cost me nothing if I did it myself?

Well, first of all, even though I’m perfectly capable, I don’t do that sort of thing often enough to be very fast at it. I figure that from beginning to end, it will take at least a full day – more likely two – to get it done and properly finished. Half that time will be budgeted to actual installation, the other half to cursing and trying to find mislaid tools. Seriously though, since I have several writing projects in progress I’d need to take frequent breaks to check and respond to email from various publishers and editors.

Beyond that, if I take a full two days off what I regularly do to accomplish the task, I won’t get paid for the regular work I won’t be doing while I’m playing with that window. What I’d save in installation costs by doing it myself might easily be wiped out by what I’d lose by not doing my regular work.

The bottom line of it is, is that once you subtract the price of the window itself the end cost to me to install the thing is going to be roughly the same whether I do it myself, or pay someone else. Plus, that professional installer will do the work faster with less disruption to my small shop. And while I’m sure I’d be satisfied with my install, a professional will simply do a better job than I could.

Still, the idea of paying someone to do work I could do doesn’t sit well.



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