Things I’d Rather Hire Somebody Else to Do

 

Things I'd Rather Hire Somebody to DoOur yard has a lot of trees. Fourteen to be exact. We had twenty, but six of them met their demise after I received a chainsaw for Christmas last year. Four of the remaining trees are fruit bearing trees. Three of them birth apples and one sprouts peaches. This sounds like a beautiful backyard forest, doesn’t it?

When we bought this house, I used to think that I loved trees. That March, as we remodeled the interior and moved all of our stuff in, I thought we had just purchased a piece of paradise. I felt that way until about October of that first year. What I noticed first were the whirlygigs from our maple tree spinning to the ground. Next, the fruit started to fall…and rot on my lawn. Finally, our overgrown black locust spit out its pinnately compound foliage, clogging my gutters and blanketing my grass. It was then that I realized my disdain for our leafy friends.

In reality, I don’t have anything against the trees themselves. What I really hate is doing yard work – specifically raking. During the four hours that I spent raking my lawn the other day, I just couldn’t shake the thoughts of, “God, this sucks.” Add that to the fact that my out-of-shape body doesn’t recover like it did when I was 17, and you get a grumpy Gregory. I wish I would have paid somebody $20 to rake my lawn for me instead. I think it would probably be worth my time and pain effort. It did get me thinking about other things that I’d rather hire somebody else to do. Here are some of those things.

 

1) Cutting Down Trees

Remember I said that I got a chainsaw as a Christmas present? I thought that I was a regular Paul Bunyan when I set out to hack down some of my nemeses. Unfortunately, the biggest brute of them all was the black locust. Luckily, I was smart enough to hire somebody to chop that bad boy down. By hiring a pro instead of doing it myself, I saved tens of thousands of dollars in potential repairs to my house and personage. Unfortunately, I was too cheap to have them remove the stumps. You see, I thought that I could either chop or grind all of these stumps out myself. After months of trying to get these things to decay, I went at them with an axe. My hands hurt for a week, and it wasn’t just from the blisters. The worst part is that all but 2 of the stumps are still in tact.

 

2) Mowing

Did I mention I hate yard work? I did. Well, I still hate it. Mowing would fall under that category as well. I’d rather do just about anything than work in my yard. I think part of the reason is because my yard has been overrun with weeds since we bought the property. Before we bought it, the house sat vacant for 2 years. As hard as I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to properly heal its dandelion and crabgrass infected wounds. Furthermore, I work long days, odd hours, and don’t always get to spend a lot of time with my family. So, when I’m not working, I’d rather pay somebody $15 every two weeks and save the 1 1/2 hours to spend it with my family. My time is certainly worth that. Now, all I have to do is convince Holly of that as well.

 

3) Plumbing

When we first bought our house, I learned how to do some light plumbing work. I can now install a faucet and/or a sink. I can snake out a drain. I can even install a toilet. As much as I like playing in my family’s poop, if the repairs require anything beyond these skills, I need to call the pros. It is better to hire somebody to do it right than for me to spend hours trying to do it myself. Worse yet, I’m sure to mess it up – which would then cost me oodles of time and money.

 

4) Electrical Work

Have you ever experienced that tingly feeling you get when installing a new light switch? You know, that jolt of fun juice that runs through your body when you touch something that isn’t quite grounded but has electricity flowing through it? You don’t? Well, that is because you haven’t mildly electrocuted yourself like I have. Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve felt that sensation. You can also get the same sensation – only stronger – by sticking a tweezers into an outlet. I know it works because I’ve done that too. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m really still alive and this is all just a dream.

I am pretty much afraid of electricity. As I said, I can change a light switch and that is about it. From there, I’d much rather hire somebody who knows what they are doing and save myself the unfortunate effects of electrocution.

 

So, these are some of the things on which I’m willing to stop being such a cheapskate and hire somebody else to do. Now, I just have to convince Holly to install the field turf in our lawn, and my master plan will be complete!

 

What are some things that you would rather not do yourself? Have you ever stuck a tweezers in an outlet? Why or why not?

 
About Greg

Greg Johnson is a proud husband, father, and debt crusader who is in the process of becoming debt free. He is the co-founder of the personal finance website Club Thrifty, where he brings the awesome sauce each and every day.

Comments

  1. This is a hilarious post! I can look back and see myself doing all the same things (minus the whole electrocuted bit).

    What really sucks is when your next door neighbor is super handy and can do everything without breaking a sweat and then you feel like a school girl next to him :(
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Meringue with Chocolate Hazelnut ToppingMy Profile

  2. Haha! Love this post. I will always get somebody in to do major electrical work as I am paranoid about wiring things wrong and starting a fire! As for gardening.. London is too expensive to have a big garden – so this is never an issue!!!
    Savvy Scot recently posted..Do young people need to think differently about retirement?My Profile

    • We are hoping to have a garden next year! We would love to grow some organic goodies. That wouldn’t feel as pointless to me as regular yard work does.

  3. I always get excited when people write posts about things they would rather hire out, but I’m not sure why. The electrical thing is tough for me to read because I need to replace a bunch of light switches and receptacles in our house and I do not want to hire it out as it would be very expensive. But I also am afraid of electrocution (who isn’t?). I guess I will just keep reading up on it and do everything I can to be safe. I won’t do anything higher than changing outlets or light switches.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..How to Make the Most of Yearly ReviewsMy Profile

    • Greg is afraid to do electrical too. He did change a light switch in our closet a few weeks ago and managed to not hurt himself!

    • Honestly, light switches are pretty easy. Just don’t touch the wires together and you’ll be fine. Better yet, turn off the breaker to the switch and you’ll be good.

  4. Jamie Dickinson says:

    I think with most of these things, unless I can get my Dad to do it, then I’ll get some one in. But even he won’t touch electrics.
    Jamie Dickinson recently posted..2 Ingredient RecipesMy Profile

    • Sometimes it’s worth hiring someone, I think! That’s funny that your dad helps you out with maintenance. My mom still sews buttons on my clothes. =)

  5. Love this post! I too hate yard work, yet have not bitten the bullet to pay someone to mow. Truth be told I probably won’t as I am too cheap. I’ve thought about asking my wife to install field turf as well, but I know I’ll get shot down. ;)
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Frugal Family: How I Sacrifice “Stuff” to Give My Kids Everything They NeedMy Profile

    • I would probably do it if it wasn’t obvious and if it was cheap. When we were in Las Vegas, there were tons of turf lawns and you couldn’t tell unless you got really close.

  6. I don’t mind doing those, but I never electrocuted myself, I have a main switch to turn everything off before touching a wire. You have to teach your daughters to do yard work and pretend it’s a game (while daddy rests). I mind cleaning and would rather have a cleaning lady to tidy up after me.
    Pauline recently posted..How to reduce payments on your debtMy Profile

    • I used to have a cleaning lady until I got too cheap. It was quite expensive though about $75 twice per month. It was hard to justify paying $150 for someone to clean while also cutting our grocery budget down and cancelling cable to. So now we just clean ourselves!

  7. I just want to know where I can find this person who mows lawns for $15 a pop and does a good job…. the lowest quote I have gotten is $20 (and that is because they will do my neighbor’s yard at the same time) and in the summer (well before it gets too dry) they come by twice a week. I hate mowing grass too, but I don’t like paying $200/month for someone else to do it.

    I have done a lot of electrical wiring in my house, it use to scare me, but I don’t mind it anymore. I haven’t stuck tweezers in a socket, but I stuck a fork in one when I was little, and I can point to the exact outlet (since I purchased the house I did it in).

    The major thing I pay for that I could do myself is changing my oil. I don’t mind doing it myself, but my car is low to the ground and the filter is on the back of the engine block so I have to put it on jack stands. I just don’t like doing that or feel comfortable under a car on jack stands (I know that’s kind of an irrational fear) so I pay someone to do it since it only costs about $10 more for them to do it and they are faster.

    • We used to have someone that would mow for $15 but he quit when he started mowing commercial properties instead. I don’t blame him as I’m sure he made a lot more money this way!

      These past few years we haven’t really had to mow much at all since its been so hot outside. My grass has basically fried.

  8. I’d rather not rake, this is something that we recently came into. We were waiting WEEKS for some kid to hopefully come to our door and ask to rake our yard, but no one ever came. We hate raking leaves!
    Michelle recently posted..Budget BustersMy Profile

  9. Trees are something that we’ve generally hired out. Between the tool rental, hauling the debris, and risking life and limb (we had some REALLY big trees), it just wasn’t worth it when we got the estimates. And having the stumps ground is totally worth it – otherwise you risk running into them with the mower and breaking the mower.

    Other than that, though – we generally do everything else ourselves. And we’ve both been zapped by electricity. =P
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..That’s Not Frugal, It’s Theft!My Profile

    • I agree about trees! One of the trees that we had cut down was huge! I can’t imagine having Greg cut that one down. It probably would have crushed my house!

  10. Awesomeness all wrapped into a blog post, Paul Bunyan….er, Greg. I also can’t do leaves. our lot is ALL trees and I wouldn’t see my family for about six weeks.
    AverageJoe recently posted..Can’t Save? Write It Out, Bitches!My Profile

  11. Great post Greg. That one made me smile this morning. I hate mowing the lawn as much as you do, but I don’t mind doing other handy things around the house like electrical or plumbing.

    I actually had to learn plumbing because the builder of our home improperly installed a drop pipe by our main drain out of the house. Our toilets and sinks clogged every 2 months. After having the plumber come out 3 times, I decided to get my hands dirty, and boy did I. After 4 hours of work, I found the issue and reinstalled a new pipe. Hasn’t clogged in close to a year now. I love using my hands, but yard work is my least favorite.
    Grayson @ Debt RoundUp recently posted..Maximize Your Dollar On Cyber MondayMy Profile

    • Ours too. Sometimes I just want to avoid looking outside and pretend we dont have leaves and that the yard doesn’t need to be mowed. Wishful thinking! I also sometimes think we are more condo people. That way someone would always do it for us!

  12. haha ”playing in my family’s poop”, No I have not stuck tweezers in a socket before. I get you on the yard work, and I don’t envy the trees you have to maintain. In all seriousness have you thought about putting an add on craigslist to see if some kid would come do it? Even if they did the big rake and you had to do a quick once-over a few weeks later might be worth it!
    Catherine recently posted..The Last Bobby Pin EffectMy Profile

  13. Haha, acutally this is all stuff that I like doing, man! But I know what you mean about “hiring out” for some things. There are just things that suck to do. If I didnt’ have my wife keeping our place clean, I think I’d like to hire a maid to come once a week becuase cleaning sucks!

  14. I have never stuck tweezers in an outlet before but I have touched an open outlet when I was helping my dad out with a construction job; that was no fun. Here are some of mine: I’d rather have my mechanic work on my car, I’d rather pay a graphic designer to do work on my site, and like you, I would rather pay Bill Bruce to do my plumbing work (He is a buddy of mine who is a plumber by trade).
    Deacon recently posted..Get Cash Back Using a Debit CardMy Profile

    • We almost always hire a professional plumber! Greg hates doing it unless it’s something really simple. Even then, everything takes him FOREVER because he is an extreme perfectionist.

      • Yes. I am an extreme perfectionist…in that I don’t want water to leak all over my house.

        Oh yeah, I suck at car stuff too. Anything really manly, I’m not that good at.

  15. Doing it your self doesn’t always save money and it sometimes pays (as you noted) in non-monetary terms to offload some of our tasks to others!
    Marie at Family Money Values recently posted..Best Holiday Buys for Financial MotivationMy Profile

  16. Brian Porter says:

    I am totally borrowing your chain saw dude – didn’t know you had one… :) One of the benefits of living in a newly constructed neighborhood is tiny trees, but drawback of no shade… :(

    until my kids get old enough, I will have to endure the outdoor tasks… but I have them “help” some and turn it into some “family time” – Lydia is almost old enough to help… My bad back hates weed-wacking…

    But, time spent with the fam vs. time doing regular chores is a huge thing for us with 6 kids… sometimes the money is just worth it… the phrase “time value of money” is never truer!!!

    • That is so true, Brian. Time is worth money as well. As long as you don’t make that excuse for too many things in your life and pay people to do everything for you then I think that is a great way to look at it.

  17. Oh man moving has to be the worst thing ever. When I moved from Seattle to LA, my company even hired the guys to come and pack the stuff up, but I still hated it. I did have to unpack everything. I think I’d pay someone to do it from start to finish. I’d also pay someone to cook. I hate cooking.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..When You Find Yourself in a Hole, Stop DiggingMy Profile

    • We always hire movers! I dont feel right about bribing family and friends to come over and possibly hurt themselves in order to save myself some money. It’s not that expensive to hire movers anyway.

  18. I know for us we have come to realize the high price of our time from week to week. We find we just can’t get everything done and so hiring a cleaner has been a life saver. We are much more productive, still get time to rest, and the house is clean. The cost has been well worth it.
    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter recently posted..How To Re-Use Common ItemsMy Profile

  19. Ha! This is funny. My fiancé is a landscaper, he makes his living doing yard work because people hate it so much – I’m glad there are people like you around!

    One thing I’ll always pay someone to do is cut my hair. I don’t have a complicated hairstyle and I could probably do it myself, but the risk of messing it up and having to live with it for months isn’t worth the cost savings.
    Jordann @ My Alternate Life recently posted..Minimalist Christmas DecorationsMy Profile

    • I wish we were better at landscaping/yard work in general. It would certainly make life easier.

      I told Greg once that I was going to learn to cut his hair and he said no way!!!

    • Yeah dude. I once heard somebody say that rich people hate leaves. I haven’t hit that “rich people” area yet, so I still do it myself. Once I’m there, it is totally on!

  20. When we had our house, we also paid for gardeners to tend to our backyard. My husband worked long hours and by the time he got home, he was just exhausted. Sometimes convenience and peace of mind, is worth the extra dollar.
    Mackenzie recently posted..Christmas Budget: A Must HaveMy Profile

  21. I completely agree about the whole yard work thing. Mine is nowhere near what yours is, but I still hate it. I also pay plumbers/electricians to do tasks that I don’t feel comfortable doing. A year of good night sleep is worth a couple of hundred dollars to make sure you’re not worrying about a pipe bursting in your walls because you didn’t do something correct.
    Justin@TheFrugalPath recently posted..Restaurants: Money and Time Saving TipsMy Profile

    • I agree and if you do shoddy work yourself it could literally cost you thousands of dollars. Sometimes its definitely best to hire a professional!!!

  22. My husband has summers off so he gets all the yard work. If he ever complains, I tell him I have to clean the toilets year round and that usually works. We hired out the exterior painting of our house. It’s just too tall for comfort and would take a year to get done. We did have a pin point leak in an upstairs pipe that dripped apparently for years and molded an interior wall. Hubby fixed that and the drywall, so that was pretty sweet. Anything electrical, we’d have to hire. I would love a maid, but like Holly, I can’t justify the expense. Maybe when we have no debt?
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..!Obesity: Taxes In and Taxes OutMy Profile

  23. Why did you have to remind me of all the leaves on my lawn that need raking….WHYYYYYY?!

    But srsly, I raked for 2 hours a week ago, and the yard filled back up like I nenver raked at all. And our two huge trees are hanging onto more leaves, just waiting for me to rake again so they can all fall off again the next day. UGH!

    And yes, leaf blowers don’t work on wet leaves. Neither does handing my 11 month old a rake. Tried both.

    But I found out the hard way last year that leaving (leafing?) the leaves in the yard all winter is a great way to ruin your lawn….
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  24. Hands down for me is cleaning my gutters. I have to climb on my roof and risk my life trying to pull out mounds of brown decomposed leaves from my 2nd story gutters. It sucks.

    I also have bunch of trees in the back yard and feel the same way you do. When I moved in, I loved them. Then after fall hit – it was a different story.
    Jason Clayton | frugal habits recently posted..Save Thousands of Dollars with this One little RuleMy Profile

    • I hear ya. Our second story is super tall too and its dangerous for Greg to get up there and clean the gutters. Luckily, cutting down our largest tree has helped.

  25. Now that has to be the funniest opening I’ve read all night mate. Lol. Most people don’t realize how much work a big yard is especially one’s with trees. We have relatives like you have about 14 or so trees (there were more but they met their demise as well) but they have nuts falling and hitting the roof etc and squirrels all over the place. It drives them around the bend. Oh and not to mention the almost 100 bags of leaves they have to rake every year.. ya not so fun. Sometimes it’s worth the money to pay someone to help or do it. Great post mate. Mr.CBB
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Best Home Renovations-Money Wasted or Money Invested?My Profile

    • Thank you very much! Yeah, I was young and dumb when we bought this house. Like I said, I thought that I loved trees. I will definitely keep this in mind before we buy our next house :)

  26. I can sympathize with everything listed here except the mowing. I put in the headphones and zone out, get a sweat going and in about an hour my lawn looks sweet. I’m making a real effort to insource as much work as I possibly hard which is hard given I work full time, but it’s so worth it. You learn new skills and have genuine satisfaction when the job’s done knowing you did it yourself.

    Having said that, $%@# plumbing!
    James @ Free in Ten Years recently posted..December challenge: save hot waterMy Profile

    • LOL! I am doing the same. I’ve learned a lot over the years. Now, I’m getting to the point where I’d rather have somebody do it because we are more financially stable.

  27. Hi Greg, it’s my first time here, and you’ve just got yourself a new reader :)

    Funny post, for me it’s slightly different – I do value my time but I honestly like doing 2, 3 & 4 – I believe that a bit of psychical work every now and then makes you clears your mind. OK, I like to think of myself as a DIY guy… As probably any other DIY guy, I loathe house-cleaning and as soon as I move to the next flat next year, I’ll get a cleaning lady and I’ll be more than happy to pay her for that!

    Cheers
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    • Awesome! Thanks for checking us out. We hope you come back.

      To be honest, I don’t mind doing the physical work so much. It is more the time commitment than anything else. I just don’t have much time between work, blog, and family, so I had spending time on it.

      Yay! We love new readers!!!

  28. I hope you’d pay more than $20 for four hours ;)
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  29. First of all I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your
    thoughts before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Thank you!
    adult social network adult searchengines adult social network recently posted..adult social network adult searchengines adult social networkMy Profile

  30. I dont blame you. I think we will probably get a cleaning lady again when we are debt free in a few years I have back problems and I would rather not hurt myself.

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