Sunday Morning: When are you “old enough”?

Yesterday morning I had to run errands and my first stop was at my friends R & M’s house to drop off eggs as M is one of my “egg pimps”.  They were in the middle of a kitchen improvement project and talk turned to questioning when one was old enough to hire someone else to do work for them?  What age should you be, or other factors should be in place, before you could make the decision to pay someone else to complete a project or a task?

R quipped that he was 40 now, and after considering his very frugal nature and that if he waited until 50 before he started to hire out for projects and tasks he was essentially ten years away from retirement and that just wouldn’t do.  He was going to start hiring out for projects which it made more sense for someone with the skills and equipment to complete.  I confessed that Mr. Muse and I have a large Spring cleanup for the yard that involves removing a lot of gravel, tiny pea gravel, from the grass adjacent to the road and driveway and the work would take us the better part of two weeks after work, weather and light permitting.  I decided that my time was much more valuable – therefore I called landscapers for estimates to do it for me.  I think this means that we’ve reached the age where we can start hiring out.

While I might be hiring out for yard cleanup, the rest of the year’s yardwork will fall on Mr. Muse and I; mowing, fertilizing and raking up the leaves in the fall to compost will land squarely on our shoulders – for now.  Mr. Muse is a do-it-yourselfer to a deep level and I have to make my case to hire someone else to do things he feels are well-within his skills to complete.  I have to catalog equipment we already own, account for the time it will take to buy or rent equipment that is needed, amortize it over usage if we actually buy it and compare the costs of all of that to what it would be to pay someone else.  Slowly my methods are working.  I pick my battles carefully; today, for instance, Mr. Muse and I will be working on our East Pasture fencing in anticipation of getting a couple of freezer lambs this Spring.  We want that responsibility for ourselves.  Should our lambs get out – then it would be our fault, not someone we hired.

Mr. Muse wants to install solar panels and has been researching them thoroughly.  He’s discovered that most of the work he can do himself (he’s an Electrical Engineer) but will hire out for the major electrical connections.  These are all good things and it is a project which is not worthy of a battle on my part.  The whole process interests him and makes him happy – that in and of itself is worth a great deal.

So, how do you know when you’re “old enough” to hire out?  

How do you decide to pay someone else to do a job or task for you?



About The Amusing Muse

Deep thinker whose mind operates at warped speed. Philosopher pondering the big (and little) things in life. Storyteller. Office Ninja. Model. Teller of bad jokes. User of big words.
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8 Responses to Sunday Morning: When are you “old enough”?

  1. I believe it isn’t so much age as capabilities. I will, as much as possible, do my own stuff. I am, however, all too aware of my physical (effing arthritis) and mental limitations. Not afraid to say: “I can’t, they can, so let em”

    • I’m all for doing much of my own stuff, especially if it’s culinary in nature, but yes – physical and mental limitations are another reason I’m willing to pay someone else to take care of certain jobs.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Yeah I don’t think it’s an age thing so much as a skill thing, a value for time thing, and what you can afford.

    I grew up in a house where my mom did a lot of DIY renos, often with iffy results. I hated how long they took and how after all that work, there were always things that still needed work. So I tend to contract out. It’s faster, done right, usually comes with some kind of guarantee, and I don’t have to buy/store a bunch of tools.

    • I understand where you’re coming from! Home renovation is one of those things that I have to be very careful about picking my battles with Mr. Muse – he’s determined to do it all himself. He does do a really nice job, but some projects just take a really long time and I’d rather use that time (and money) to have someone else do it and just get it done.

  3. i just hit it. 61+
    I went out to change the differential fluid in the search and rescue vehicle two days ago. Simple project. by the time I had slithered under there in the mud, fought for 20 minutes trying to remove the rusted in filler plug without success, I could barely extricate myself. Fail! A couple of years ago I would have kept at it until I probably broke something important, either on the vehicle or on me. Then I would have bought a new part, or mad an afternoon out of spending time the the emergency room at the hospital.
    I have earned the right to farm out projects that will either injure me or frustrate me.

  4. William says:

    Less age and more desire and ability to have a choice. I’m so busy with other things I’d rather be doing and have the financial means to hire someone else to do some of the homeowner tasks so we often pick and choose what to do ourselves and what to hire out for. This year I don’t feel like raking since the snow came too early last fall so we have someone coming to spring clean our yard. I weight what is more important with my time and make decisions accordingly. If I had to do the work because I couldn’t afford to hire, I’d be out there doing it myself. I feel lucky to have the choice. I also see it as a way to help with the local economy too.

    • I agree on the feeling lucky to have the choice. The conversation with my friends had me saying I feel VERY lucky that I am at a place in life where I have the money to allocate to paying someone else. There were a lot of years of peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles to get there – but it was worth it.

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