Friday, February 03, 2017

A Plumbing We Shall Go II

A short follow up to yesterday's post on the nature of self-economics.

I am not sure what a plumbing house call runs these days.  It cannot be less than $75 (That is what we paid when we had our home warranty).  That, of course, typically discounts any additional hourly work or parts.

Now to be fair, a plumber would have dealt with the issue much quicker than I did - after all, I sort of instinctively thought I knew how the parts went together, but I had to experiment a great deal. So let us say an hour of labor to disassemble and reassemble the sink - or at least, that is what I would have been charged for.

What is the hourly rate?  Not sure - but let us use that $75 number as I suspect it is closer to the truth than I would like to think.

Now parts.  I paid about $25 in parts.  There is always markup in parts - 20% is (I think) standard for the auto repair business, so we will use that.  That is $30.

So to recap:  to have it repaired could have cost in the area of $180.  In point of fact I paid $25.  That is (in case you are math challenged as I am) a savings of $155.

It did cost me three hours of my time.  So if I look at that number, it appears I "made" $51.66 an hour by do it myself. (This is the part that is always hard for me:  I never "make" that money, I just did not spend it.  I understand cost avoidance, it just never feels as satisfying actual cash).  That is not a bad hourly wage.

It helps -and it is something I need to get more in the habit of.  Work because not quite as boring or not engaging when you do it this way:  how much am I actually saving by doing this? How much money is not leaving my bank account because I surrendered 3 hours to refitting the sink?

And, of course, the self confidence - which is priceless.  I have actual abiding sense of competence at the moment.  I looked at something I had never done before and puzzled it out in a way that worked - and saved me money.

Not a bad return overall for three hours of labor.


  1. I think that the most pathetic poster child of the modern American male is the guy leaning against his car on the side of the freeway. The car has a flat. The emasculated male has figured out how to get the spare out of the trunk and lean it against the car. Then he waits for AAA. The tire is there. The tools to change it are there. the only thing lacking is the man's ability to use them.

    Knowing how to do something frees you from having to wait on, or be at the mercy of someone else. It may have taken you three hours to fix your plumbing. The knowledge you gained though, will allow you to fix a similar problem in the future in less than half that time. Also; a leaking fitting in your house plumbing isn't that different fro ma leaking fitting in the fuel system in your car; one skill builds on another.

    Don't hesitate to make an attempt to handle your own repairs. You can only win here.

    1. You know Pete, I never quite thought about it that way - but you are totally right. I always change my tire even though I have AAA. Why would you not? But I think you are right - a more poster-child like picture of not just the emasculated male, but the American post-industrial post-self sufficient person may not be able to be beat.

      That is great advice on application across items too. I do not know how I sort of knew how to take things apart - but I must have picked up somewhere else, because I was able to do it.

      That is a pretty good last line. I may borrow it.


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