Cost Over Lifetime

In my last post, I wrote about the challenges I faced getting some work done by contractors. The problem seemed to be a lack of caring. But how do you get workers who care? The three answers that come to mind are: do it yourself, enforce it or encourage it (with carrot or stick, to use a horse metaphor).

The reason we contracted out this job was because I didn’t want to devote the time to do it myself, and I didn’t really have time to enforce either. So that leaves the encouragement option. Off the top, paying more for the same scope of work may have resulted in getting more careful workers.

We received three quotes for the job. The first quote specified a list of materials that did provide us with confidence that it would kill the sound. The second and third quote were two and five times as much as the first. The high cost of the third quote divided by the relatively short lifetime of us benefiting from the work before moving simply did not make sense (and that we felt we would not get the return when selling).

Now, let’s contrast that with something else. Most hand tools last a lifetime – hand planes, chisels, screwdrivers, levels, and pliers to name a few. Quality tools often work better, are more reliable, and are more enjoyable to use (and look at!). Knowing that I will benefit for many, many years just by having them makes it easy to justify the higher upfront cost because the cost per day/year/usage is low.

I can think of something else that is enjoyable to use and look at, with a very long life time.

One thought on “Cost Over Lifetime

  1. Personal integrity. Hard to quantify if not your own in others unless you have witnessed them at work or trust another parties recommendation. Can be a tough nut to crack. If the contractor is busy regardlesss of flood or famine by way of work and economic situation generally they are doing a quality job.

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