Jack of all trades or Master of one?

Is it time to call in the professional? 

I’m standing in my living room in my decorating scrubs, with plastic gloves on, a paint brush in one hand, and sand paper in the other. It’s a Sunday. My only day off. The washing beckons, I’ve a roast to cook and guests are due to arrive in T minus 2 hours! But, it’s got to be done!!

I’m pretty handy with a paintbrush and my passion for all things property includes Interior Design. I mean I’ve had practice over the years, been inspired by my client's own exhibits and poured over numerous design magazines.  But why am I doing this and not paying someone else? Someone who could probably do a better job, last longer and take less time in the first place. Wouldn’t it just be more convenient all round to hire a professional? The answer, quite simply is yes. 

So why should I hire a professional? As with the current scenario, I find myself considering this very question when it comes to many a task – cleaning, decorating, DIY, moving house, investing money – the list is endless.  I am also sure that many of us find ourselves debating this with our clients in our own profession. Why should they hire you, and not somebody else, or anyone at all?

Money, Money, Money. When is money no object? Cost is almost always the first consideration. However if you consider this factor in isolation, you will almost never justify the means for the expenditure. “It’s too expensive” are the dismissive words I have heard from many a mouth before any consideration has been given as to the benefits of the professional service. A product or service only becomes expensive when the perceived benefits are outweighed by the cost, or in the consumers mind, can be obtained in a more effective way. The weight of said benefits will vary between individuals but are likely to fall into one of two categories; Time and Return on Investment. 

Time is money (to the consumer and to the professional). So how much is your time worth? What sacrifices will you have to make in order to find the time to carry out the task yourself? Usually it involves either time out of your own work, or that with your family. It’s likely that encroaching on either of these will result in increased stress, and perhaps that thought alone is enough to warrant parting with your pennies!

One of the things which I have learned is that one should not underestimate what it takes to ‘become’ a professional. Honing the skills of your particular trade is not something which can be done overnight and certainly not by reading a few articles from a self help book. Becoming a professional happens over time through dedication, experience and hard work. When you pay for a professional, you aren’t just paying for the time they spend with you, you are paying for the wealth of knowledge and experience they have accumulated over time which puts them at a significant advantage when it comes to getting the job done and ensuring the results are reflective of the brief. In my experience, it’s actually far more likely that a Professional in one field will hire a Professional in another, if for no other reason than a mutual appreciation, but more likely because their time is most valuable when spent in their own field, not trying to master the art of another.

Spending the time to get the job done is just one aspect though. Question is, will the results stand the test of time and will they yield the return on investment you were looking for? Is the quality of your workmanship likely to result in a repeat of the same requirement sooner, rather than later? Is the result of your attempt going to evoke the response from the market you were aiming for? Are you actually going to do more damage than good by going it alone? So often, where the cost of hiring a professional is considered in isolation, the decision maker ends up spending more time, and money on their repeated attempts to get it right, than they would have done if they had paid for the professional in the first place.  

We are all guilty of playing our hand as Jack of all trades and no doubt many lessons have been learned which have led to the same conclusion; that hiring a Pro is the way to go!