Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Consulting carpenter

Hire expertise, not expert
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Say you're the handy type who has the time and skills to take on large scale projects but decide to do a new project that is out of the scope of your abilities (in-ground pool, new roof). Normally you would hire someone to come do the work but what if you could hire the same person to come out and, instead of doing the work, they would show you how to do it (as well as lend you the tools you don't have, get you materials at contractor prices, etc.). Of course you would pay less because you'd be paying for their expertise, not their labour.
drinkh20, Mar 10 2002

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       I think actually you *are* paying for the expertise..nonetheless its a good idea. The TV makeover shows are very similar to this however a croissant to you and a warm welcome.
po, Mar 10 2002
  

       An aquaintance started his Be Your Own Builder (BYOB) service with this in mind. It is common practice for contracting firms to retain a "qualified" general contractor as window dressing. Where a qualified contractor knows what must be done to minimally suit local project licensing and code agreements, and knows enough to hire the best, most unqualified managers can oversee the project and contribute labor. Licensed general contractors know the value of this practice and it benefits all parties; in effect, it is very similar to the function of a corporate board of directors.   

       Inside view: Still a warm niche, still cheaper than average, still rarely done on schedule, and still done with less refinement than would be the case if done by one highly skilled in one of the trades.
reensure, Mar 10 2002
  

       How about a 'Pay per Apprenticeship' service where the contractor does the work while agreeing to let you help (thereby improving your skill set)?
phoenix, Mar 10 2002
  

       I like this idea, but I think someone who's teaching should be paid more, not less; keeping someone else from mutilating themselves and their piece with dangerous tools seems obviously more difficult and stressful than merely working with them.
jutta, Mar 10 2002
  

       [phoenix] Nice idea, where do I join? [po] Thanks for the welcome (do I look that green?) [jutta, el al] I may not have expressed the 'pay less' point very well: One would pay less because they'd be using less of the experts valuable time, in the role of consultant but not labourer. I did not mean to imply that they were somehow worth less rather the opposite: I'd pay more if I could save money on the labour. Plus it could work well for the consultant too: like reensure pointed out most GCs act as consultants. Good one's can oversee a number of projects at the same time. Ours could come consult with us in the morning and check back at lunch to see what we f***ed up (of course being availible by cell phone in between for our stupid questions). In the mean time that'd be shuttling off to other sites were they'd be doing the same for other incompetent home carpenters, charging them all.
drinkh20, Mar 11 2002
  

       This could be a boon to disabled carpenters too. Imagine a fellow who, through a nasty bit of bad luck, has chopped off both his hands with a pruning shears and now cannot so much as drive a nail. He can, however, come oversee your project, gesturing with his stumps and offering sage advice, whilst you do all the stuff that requires opposable thumbs. Neato!
Dog Ed, Mar 11 2002
  

       Nice idea. I seek advice on building/ decorating/ electrical/ plumbing projects from a recently-retired manager of a general contractor/ building/decorating firm who is able to suggest in great detail what is possible and what isn't, and explain what's a good idea and what isn't. Very much building consultancy based on immense experience as [drinkh20] suggests, except that I don't pay for it.
hippo, Mar 11 2002
  

       I can recommend this approach. I did it when I needed five windows replaced. I lived in a conservation area so they had to be wooden framed, and therefore had to be specially built by a trained, skilled carpenter. I got him in to do one, and sat and watched him do it (which he didn't seem to mind). Then I did the other four myself, saving well in excess of £1500. It wasn't that hard, I just needed some one to show me where to start. I also have a friend who plumbed his whole house using a similar technique - though I'm not sure I'd be that brave.
mcscotland, Mar 11 2002
  

       The consultant should offer to credit you the value of the consulting fee against his/her additional fee charged when called back and asked to come and finish the project you completely mungled.
waugsqueke, Mar 11 2002
  

       I really wish this was baked. My exciting Saturday night consisted of helping my roommate repair the water pipe he pierced with a nail while working on finishing out our basement. The project has been dragging on since September, mainly because although he's competent to saw and hammer and the like, he could use some guidance on those special techniques that the pros know about (like checking for pipe behind the wall before you nail.) I just want to know the trick to using a miter box. If I could hire a building consultant, I would have had him come out and help us plan the project, tell us about tools and techniques, then be available for emergency consultations through the project. We'd probably be done by now.
dana_renay, Mar 11 2002
  

       The market is ripe for this in the UK, where the continuing craze of diy home improvements programs shows no sign of abating, and we are apparently short some 12000 qualified plumbers. Anyone CORGI accredited and got some investment capital?
mcscotland, Mar 11 2002
  

       Baked in San Francisco.   

       I'll dig around for the ad and post a link. It was described almost word for word as you do in your description. Given the time shift it (between your posting and my seeing the ad) it could be they read your posting, it was that close.   

       More soon.
DadManWalking, Dec 25 2003
  
      
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