I am a professional in my field, which is not construction. So, I totally
understand Kirk's point.
In most fields, newbies, apprentices, and such have a _lot_ to learn before
becoming a professional. All of us must start at the beginning, and it
takes years to become a professional.
I wouldn't dream of going back and starting at an inexperienced wage and
having to start at the beginning. Although, even being a professional,
learning new & better techiniques is an every day occurrence.
Practice doesn't make perfect, but perfect practice does. Exactly, what
don't you understand about being a professional?
Highly variable. Since our failing public schools no longer teach any
manual skills, most of the public has no exposure to actually doing
anything physical. Some people would learn and get it right in a couple
days, other could keep trying for months and still not get it right.
I've seen many jobs of various types done by professionals that were not
up to my DIY standards, which is another reasons I DIY pretty much
When I DIY I know the job will be done not only 100% correctly, but also
to my standards which exceed code minimums that a professional would
typically work to. I use higher quality materials as well, such as
Square D QO panels, vs. the low end brands many professionals would
My work is done to a higher level of detail and neatness than that of
many professionals I've seen. My DIY work also is completed in nearly
the same time frame as that of most professionals, perhaps 25% longer at
most for jobs I'm in no hurry on.
Certainly DIY isn't appropriate for everyone, but neither is
professional always better than DIY.
It's pretty easy to tell if a wall is straight, a door closes, a
drywall joint is smooth, or a grout line is correct. This work isn't
A professional does enough work to get paid and then leaves. They
don't have to live with the results.
Sounds like I struck a nerve. You must be a contractor.
I can do *anything* any pro can do and I can do a better job - but -
it will take me 20 times as long to finish. I'm not doing it for a
paycheck. And I couldn't do it for a paycheck.
"The Reverend Natural Light" wrote
Reading over the comments in this thread, I can't help but comment on your
I'm not in the construction business, but, even I know there is more to a
wall than being straight. Plumb comes to mind.
Not only must a door close, the gap reveal must be symmetrical, and hit
symmetrical on the stop. There must be no binding on the hinges when
opening or closing.
You sir, are an idiot. You either do not work, or have never held
meaningful employment. You entirely miss Kirk's point of being a
"A professional always does the job correct, regardless the field or nature
of the work"?
Boy, you've either been smoking some REALLY GOOD SHIT or you are not from
this solar system. Which is it?
I can think of three possible reasons:
1. The hirer hasn't a clue as to how to do the work
2. The hirer has no desire to do the work
3. The hirer knows that some things that seem simple aren't. Hanging
doors, for example. How many DIY know how to use shims? Know that
their purpose is not just to fill space but to tweak jambs
perpendicular to the wall and themselves? In the case of baseboards,
how many know how to spile? Cope inside corners? Or *why* inside
corners should be coped? Hmm?
Just two of may possible reasons.
You don't have the skill to DIY
You can earn $100 an hour at your skill/trade while paying someone $50 to
Not everyone has, or wants, the skills needed to hang a door. While you are
evidently fully capable, others are not. Just as you don't have the skills
to do some other jobs.
Even if you are a skilled DIY'er, it is good to hire a professional
the first time you do something complex. My pride can allow me to
admit not knowing all of the fine details and techniques of every
possible task in my home improvement projects on the first time that I
Amen! Part of our kitchen renovation on house 2.0 involved removing a
large window, and filling in the hole. Redwood clapboard siding on the outside
(which I am perfectly competent to repair), and plaster walls on the inside
(which I was not). Patching small holes in plaster walls, sure -- but filling
in a 42x60 inch cavity? Naaah. Especially since the lower 2/3 of the kitchen
walls had a faux-brick pattern tooled into the whitecoat. I hired a pro for
that. And told him, when he came out to quote the job, that one of the
conditions of getting the job was letting me watch, and ask questions, while
He agreed. And what I learned from watching and listening was easily worth the
price of the repair.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Absolutely learning from watching pros is very helpful. Reading "pro"
reference books also helps a lot as can lurking in some of the
non-dysfunctional "pro" forums.
I am something of a "certified jack of all trades" and I generally find
the couple days of research it typically takes me to learn about
something I haven't done before is still cheaper than hiring a pro.
While your time has value, if you are salary, your "free" time really is
since you can't be working your regular job for overtime pay. Even if
you aren't salary, if you don't actually have regular work available to
potentially do during your "free" time, your "free" time is still free,
even if your regular work time is $500/hr.
On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 14:39:49 GMT, email@example.com (Doug Miller)
This is why I love my plumber: he always says, "You're welcome to
watch!" and I end up learning things, even when I hadn't expected to.
One of several important lessons I have learned is that there are
times when hiring a pro who has all the tools and especially the
experience is just the only way to go, given time and $$ constraints.
There is a large portion of society (the majority?) that can't fix
anything on their own. I feel so sorry for them.
Imagine what it would be like to walk out to your car on a cold
morning, put your key in the ignition, turn it, see that nothing
happened, and have absolutely no clue what might be wrong. What a
sense of helplessness that must be - when the only option is to call
for a tow and pay a repair bill. Total dependence on others.
There is a flip side, though.
I miss brushing my teeth in peace. Now as I perform the morning
ritual, instead of thinking of nothing more than the tasty toothpaste,
my mind is filled with images of well pumps, pitless adapters,
casings, polyethylene pipes, header tanks, pressure switches, copper,
valves, fittings, filters, drains, traps, tanks, baffles, terracotta
pipes, and gravel. I can't drive a car without a constant sense of
the thousands of parts - each one totally essential to the operation
of the vehicle - that can so easily fail at any moment.
I have to wonder how a medical doctor feels, knowing that the human
body is basically on the edge of death at any moment. The smallest
microvolts keeping the heart beating. Solitary nucleotides in endless
clumps of DNA, under constant attack by ambient radiation, each with a
sole responsibility of keeping cancer at bay. A never ending battle
of bacteria, fungi, and immune system all in a delicate balance. But,
it must satisfying to know how to fix it all.
Simple: because those are the prices people are willing to pay.
A contractor can't stay in business if nobody will hire them. So the
fact that so many contractors exist, and have existed for many years,
makes it pretty obvious that people are willing to pay for them. The
people who tell contractors what they're "worth" are their customers.
And they pay those prices because a lot of people just don't want to
be bothered. What's wrong with that? I'd probably hang those doors
and install those locks myself too, but there are other things I
probably wouldn't do. (Installing windows, for instance, or a new
roof.) Who's to tell me what things I "should" do myself? There are
things we're all comfortable with and other things we're not and those
things are different for everybody. And if I feel like hanging doors
and installing trim and locksets is worth $1,500, then maybe I'll pay
that. If I don't, I won't.
So you're good at hanging doors and don't need a contractor. Good for
you. But nothing wrong with someone else who feels differently about
Funny thing, though. This guy lives two doors down from me. I notice that
during the time I'm doing this job, his truck and work trailer are sitting
at his house. If he had given me a reasonable price, I'd have had him do
the work. I consider over $300 a day for very simple work to be
unreasonable. I guess he considers working for less than $300 a day to be
unreasonable, so he sits at home and makes zero.
But I get the last laugh when he asks if I'm ready to have that work done
and I get to say I did it myself.
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