My thoughts towards this dilemma are based on what I have seen lately on the "DIY" Shows - along with "Certain" Personal experiences.
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....................................1st off, the DIY Shows.
There is a certain Show on one of the DIY Channels, where the Home Owners take on Residential Alterations on their House (very common concept of course).
The Show's Host boasts of being a Contractor, who has "Done It All And Seen It All in Construction", with a "There's Nothing I Do Not Know" kind of attitude.
The Mission of this Show is an attempt to compare the "Savings" between having a Contractor perform the Work (Bid/Build) -vs- doing everything yourself.
Apparently at least one Contractor was invited to bid the Proposed Scope of Work, and provide a standard bid Proposal.
This is the first thing that got me going on a tirade! Promoting "Bid Shopping"
The Homeowners begin the Project with the attitude of "Oh, this will be so easy! I am more than able to perform this work! We will save so much money! Those Contractors are just ripping people off, left and right!, etc...", and for the first 5 minutes, have a very Pompous approach to the work.
Half-Way through the episode, the Homeowners' now have a completely different "Attitude"; they look scared, aggravated, exhausted, completely disoriented, and regretting the decision of trying to take on this work.
At the same time, the Project's installations begin to appear more and more like a Professional Contractor has come in and performed the work "off-camera".
I say this because the Homeowners are shown doing lots of Demo work, but very little is shown of them working on the Alterations.
Also, the newly performed work looks way too "Pro" for inexperienced People to do in a very short amount of time.
Consistently throughout the episode the Host uses the Contractor's Bid Price, to compare the Materials' cost paid out by the Homeowners.
My point here is the Attitude of "Out-Of-Pocket Costs" is the "Real Mission Statement" of this Show, and is used to push the most ridiculous concept of "Anyone Can Do This Work"; which plants the seed of arrogance in more and more inexperienced persons!
The "Seed" being the Attitude that "Any One Can Do The Work, And Do It For Nearly Free".
The outcome of the Project on this Show is typically "Listed" as a near 60% Savings -vs- the Contractor's Bid Price.
One particular episode which has been embedded in my mind, involved a Basement Alteration.
Apparent Contractor's Proposal Price was $16,000 for all work (Design Consultation, Demo, all Subcontractors, Permits, Someone to walk with the Inspector, Cleanup, Closeout - as well as Materials and Warranties).
To me, that was a great deal, but the Host repeatedly mocked the Contractor's Bid Price -vs- out-of-pocket costs of Materials only.
The "Displayed Total Costs" for the "Whole Job" (only Materials were mentioned) ended up to be around $4,500 - approximately 28% of the Contractor's Bid, or a Savings of 72%.
What does not get mentioned or factored in are:
- Time Involved to get the Materials,
- The Host encourages the Homeowner to purchase "lower quality items",
- The Homeowners spent at least 320 Man-Hours working on this Alteration - as "6 Weeks later" was mentioned at the completion,
- All Tools - Power and Hand, either had to be purchased or rented by the Homeowners,
- All removal was done by the Homeowners,
- All Material Storage and Logistics was the Homeowner's responsibility,
- All mis-matched, damaged (needs replacement) and unknown needed materials were the Homeowner's responsibility,
- Homeowners had to Apply and Pay for Permit(s) directly, as well as submit the Applications,
- Homeowners dealt directly with Inspectors (who knows how many Correction Lists were generated, and how long it took per Inspection!),
- EVERYTHING had to be done by the Homeowners,
- The Homeowners had no experience in any of the Construction Work they were responsible for,
- Specialty Trade Installations (i.e.: Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing) were performed, but the Materials were not included in the "Displayed Total" Price,
- yadda, yadda, yadda...
My point being that these Shows are furthering the stupidity, by using these Prestidigitation techniques on Television!
....................................2nd: Attitudes I have the misfortune to experience.
Just as many others here, I've had my fair share of hearing the same old Bandini-Based statements from arrogant People:"How Much Could It Possibly Cost To Install X_____X Item!
It Costs $20.00 At (enter big box name), and only takes about 10 Minutes to Install!
Why Do You Expect Me To Pay $150.00 To Do Something I Can Do MYSELF For Only $20.00!!!???"
There was an occasion to hear this same statement, spewed out of the mouth of a Person claiming to be a Project Manager!
I was not proposing to do any work, the guy was just boasting / complaining about an encounter he recently had with an Electrician, per a Service Request.
This was spewed out at a Progress Meeting, during that time where everyone is waiting around for the last representative to show up (the typical 20 or so Minutes prior to the "ACTUAL" start of the scheduled Meeting).
After the Bandini Slinging, I mentioned the Price seems quite reasonable - in fact I would not touch the job for that Price!
A very hostile "WHAT???!!!", followed by an even more heated "HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT???!!!" was Shot-Gunned towards me, so I calmly responded:
"Unless the Electrician not only lived at your House, but was also there at the time of the request, plus:
- ALL THE MATERIALS POSSIBLY NEEDED were supplied by you,
- ALL NEEDED TOOLS were on the Truck, and the Truck was parked right next to the room where the work was to be done,
- The Electrician has almost Zero overhead (only Vehicle Maintenance + Fuel),
- Does not have an Office, will not claim this work on Income Taxes, does not offer Warantee for Installation,
- Spent less than 5 Minutes consulting with you per the Install and surveying the install parameters,
- Is not responsible for cleaning up after the Install, and patch/repair anything messed up during the Install,
- Able to produces an Invoice in one minute after completion.
then in my opinion, the Proposed Price was fair - provided the installation was not done sub-par.
Response to this was "Ya, Whatever...", and the discussion was ended there.
About 10 Minutes later, one of the Architect representatives Queried this guy for a "Ball Park Quote" to Install something at his House (the Architect Rep's House).
The quoted price was "Around $1,000.00"
So the Architect Rep replies "WHAT!!! I can buy the parts at Home Depot for $100.00, and put it in myself!"
Guess what that Project Manager replied with???
(hint: kind of looks like my list above!).
Architect Rep responds:
"So what is different between my job and the Electrician you asked to perform the Service Work???"
Everyone (except that P.M.) started chuckling, then flat-out laughing!
Best Progress Meeting I have ever been to!
So my point per this silly story:
Even Persons with direct knowledge of how much a proper Installation should costs, some (or many) will ALWAYS leap over Dollars to get to Dimes.
Most of these same People are willingly Pay 20¢ per Dime they pickup, AND STILL leap over Dollars to get to those Dimes!!!
Even though they would be ahead 80¢ per Dollar picked up (if they picked up the Dollars only), they are still focused on the Dimes!
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