The Fiscal Perils of
Self-Attempting Unusual Repairs

"Your Time Is Precious"

There are many who do not realize that attempting a repair to an unusual problem in their workplace, as opposed to calling in a specialist, does not necessarily save their employer or client any money. In many cases it proves extremely costly!

The Internet is a very useful tool, and through it a resourceful individual believes they can solve an unusual problem. A specialist's costs, in the individual's mind, far exceeds his own earnings so attempts the repair with the view he is saving the company or client tons of cash. If the solution works, he enjoys both personal satisfaction and hero status.

But this tool should be used with caution especially with, to give them a title, "Help Forums". Questions of "how do I solve this problem?" often attract all manner of "oh, I think your problem is this" style replies. Sadly, the "this" part seldom indicates anything other than the respondent's lack of knowledge of the issue and is simply their own stab in the dark.

It is not being said that forums don't work. Far from that. I too use forums to solve problems, but the one thing I have also learned is to sift the wheat from the chaff in the cases I've put forward. There are a lot of good people out there who know what they're doing!

Yet, in the same breath, if I could get a penny for every Pound that is wasted through help forums, I would be able to devote all my time to pro bono cases as my income would be secure. The folk who know their subject are far outweighed by those that "know it all".

You will seldom (if never) see someone ask "does anyone know who can fix this problem?". It is a real challenge getting people to understand the subtle but all important difference between the two questions.

Research has shown self-attempted repairs average two weeks. Employee costs to a company are typically 2.5 times their earnings. In simple terms, the specialist must therefore cost at least twenty-five times the employee's rate-for-rate earnings for the self-attempted repair to have financial benefit. Few specialists earn this much!

Now, if I was the client, I would be screaming for results by the end of two weeks! (in fact, I'd have probably thrown someone off site by now without a penny being paid!). Even in a small concern, no less than £10 000 can be wasted on a failed repair. Loss of earnings to still to be added to this figure.

There is a need for awareness of the signs indicating the self-attempted repair is becoming financially imprudent. The simple guide is..

"The moment one is baffled by the problem,
or needs to do research,
it's time to call in a specialist.

And when calling in a specialist, it must be clear to him that part of the contract is an obligation to teach what it is he found and pass on the knowledge. Not only does the problem get sorted out quickly and cost effectively, there is some cost effective training thrown in too!

Marc Dekenah

© 14.10.04