When Paying a Pro is Cheaper Than DIY

by Kevin on May 28, 2014

Why do we take such pride in our yards?

I just have to laugh sometimes when contrasting the amount of time we spend working on our yard versus how much time we spend in it. We use our yard, sure. My dog uses it more than I do. And I’m sure as my son gets older that we’ll be running around in it more.

But Americans take a lot of pride in their yards. One neighbor’s yard looks great, so you want yours to look great, too.

The only problem is my wife and I both have brown thumbs. (Our first personal blog was called brownthumb.)

We’ve tried to do the right thing. We buy fertilizer. I spread it regularly. We buy flowers and plant them. I mow and trim regularly.

Yet our yard just looked… pitiful. The grass was full of weeds — my ultimate frustration. Every time I cut the grass I knew I was just spreading the infestation of weeds little by little.

Last fall we gave in. Thanks to the recommendation of a friend we found a fertilizer guy. And not just any fertilizer guy. A self-employed, small business, “not a megacorporation” (like Trugreen, Scotts, etc.) fertilizer guy.

It’s the best yard decision I’ve ever made.

Using a Pro is Cheaper Than Doing It Myself

Here’s the bottom line: this guy can take care of my yard better than I can for cheaper than I can.

It’s the ultimate win-win.

He was recommended by a friend who had purchased a new house with (obviously) brand new sodded grass. He came out to do the second treatment of their yard, walked around, and told my friend he didn’t need to apply a treatment because the yard looked good.

He didn’t charge them.

That means he drove all the way out to their house with his equipment, walked around, and determined that it wasn’t necessary to spray or do anything else. He wasted his time, gas, and potential to earn income by saying “it doesn’t need to be done.”

That’s the kind of guy I want to work with. An honest small business that treats you like he’d want to be treated. Definitely my kind of guy.

We called him, he came out, gave us a quote…

…and it was lower than what I had been paying to drive to the home improvement store, buying fertilizer that I was guessing as to whether or not it would help my yard, coming home, carrying the heavy bag to my sprayer, emptying it out, and walking around my yard fertilizing.

His cost was lower than my cost alone to buy the fertilizer.

Let me get this right… lower cost AND I get all of my time back?

And an expert is taking care of my yard?

Sign me up.

Since then our yard has looked a TON better. Last year we had tons of crabgrass in the backyard. He let me know last fall that it would be a longer process to fix, but by spring we should be mostly fixed. He reseeded last fall, put down a pre-emergent this spring, another round of seeding this spring with fertilizer, and just like that we’ve got a lush green yard.

It’s a little frustrating, to be honest. I put all this time, money, and effort into something that a professional can do for a lower price and give me all of my time back. I wish I knew about him earlier.

Where have you discovered it to be cheaper to pay a pro than to do it yourself?


Elissa @ 20s Finances May 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm

So true sometimes! DIY should only be done with great, great care – if you mess it up, it’s so much extra money.

Mr Home Maker August 26, 2016 at 11:53 pm

Maybe the money you spend on this pro could be better taken off your debt. Figure out what it is costing a year. Grass would have to be one of the hardest and expensive plants to keep looking good. Instead plant vegetables and fruit trees and reap the rewards.

Yep, I pay pro’s to do major servicing in my car and electrical and plumbing work on the house. Just because DIY needs to be done with care does not mean it cannot be done. I bet all the men in our genealogies prided themselves in DIY.

Just a thought.

Comments on this entry are closed.