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Old 08-28-2003, 11:23 AM
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csnow csnow is offline
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
Fun discussion.
I hear you. Crawling under cars hurts more than it used to afterwards. Sometimes I enjoy the work, but other times it is a real chore, particulary with competing obligations or bad weather conditions.
I've always been a 'part-time mechanic'.
My primary vocation is in software, but I've been messing with cars since before I could legally drive. I like to think I'm some sort of crazed 'renaissance man', who can work both in the virtual world and the physical world. I also do extensive home repairs among a slew of other 'hobbies'.

I grudgingly farm out auto repairs when I have to.
Sure the neighbors think I'm nuts, and my wife complains, but the practical economics are very compelling.

Here's why:

1) If I farmed out auto repairs, it would not be economical to hang onto older cars as long, so I would be burdened with the carrying costs and depreciation hit of owning newer cars. This is a very substantial economic factor in accumulating savings in the long term for most households.

2) My billing rate in software is pretty good, but clearing $70-100 per hour after taxes... not THAT good! As part time jobs go, DIY auto repairs pays pretty well. Auto repair costs have dramatically outpaced inflation, due to supply side factors. Even if you want to pay, getting good service is now a challenge.

3) Direct parts costs are often half what shops charge, particularly with the 'frictionless' and 'placeless' supply chain enabled by the Internet. Shops are not gouging, they just have different suppliers and priorities. This makes my effective billing rate even higher...

4) All of the above factors combined make auto repairs among the 'best paying' activities I do. Even better than most home repairs. This means that it is a much better deal for me to farm out cheaper services that would have consumed my time, like house cleaning and lawnmowing.

Now imagine how much you saved doing all that work yourself!
How many months earlier can you retire?

That said, everyone needs an actual vacation now and then...
Oh, and back surgery is very expensive, and could ruin my whole economic theory...
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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