On Saturday, I was sitting in my home office and I heard an episodic beeping sound that sounded like a smoke detector with a battery that needed replacing. I checked all the smoke detectors and none were chirping, so I continued my investigation. I eventually discovered that the float trigger on our sump pump had failed. I thought about waiting to call a plumber during the week when I would be charged normal rates, but the beeping was incessant and annoying. So I figured this would be a good DIY project, and off to the local Home Depot I went.
Two and half hours after I successfully (I hope!) installed a new float trigger, I sat back and thought for a minute about how long it would have taken a plumber to complete the chore. I decided that a semi-experienced plumber could have completed the task in 15 – 30 minutes. Using the longer time estimate, my pride in having completed the task evaporated when I realized it took me 5 times longer (at best!) to do so. Plus I am left with the lingering uncertainty that I did it right!
The application of this to my on-going discussions about value billing and the value of experience is, I hope, obvious. Experience counts for much. Experience creates greater value. Or at least comfort that the best possible job was done. But what is clear that that time, as in many instances, bears an inverse relationship with quality.