Do It Yourself

Or choose someone who has the experience and tools to do the job right.

~ By Marilyn Miller

I had junipers in my front yard. I cannot describe to you how much I disliked them and decided we could not co-habitate. It seemed to me a simple process to just cut them down, and presto, they would be gone.

I went out armed with my pruning shears. In twenty minutes, the shears were ruined. I had a 30-gallon bag of juniper cuttings to dispose of, but you couldn’t tell by looking at the bushes. I knew the answer lay in going to the hardware store and getting “the right tools,” and presto, the junipers would be gone! I spoke with a very helpful man at the hardware store who recommended a pruning saw. He mentioned something about having to get a pickup truck with a winch to remove the roots. I felt sure he was exaggerating and went home to begin the process of removing the junipers. I worked for three hours with the saw, I had seven 30-gallon bags of cuttings, I was itching all over from the junipers, and I had barely made a dent in a 2-foot by 1-foot area. The entire area was 20-feet by 2-feet. The “presto” part needed some refining.

I took stock of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I knew I not only wanted the junipers gone, I wanted no evidence that they had ever existed, and I was not willing to make them a lifetime project. I got out the yellow pages and began the process of getting bids on removing the junipers. The process of finding the “right” person at the “right” price for the job was an interesting exercise. Unfortunately, I did not know anyone who had “juniper removal” experience that I could call for a recommendation. I was flying by the seat of my pants! I finally settled upon a man who only does tree work – a specialist. I explained what I wanted and he quoted me a price of $250. (Trust me, I would not have taken the job for $250.)

The professional (aka a person who is paid for having the required experience and tools) came to my home to remove all traces of the junipers. I went to get dressed for work (about 45 minutes). When I came back and looked out front, presto, the junipers were gone, roots and all. I was astounded. I said to myself, “I’m not sure that man should be making more than $250 an hour.” I then thought about how many hours I would spend doing the work versus earning another $250.

I started laughing at myself. I am always advising my clients that “doing it yourself” can often be a very expensive wrong choice. I was initially guilty of not listening to my own advice when it came to my junipers. I got what I wanted, I got my life back and the actual cost was much less then what I expected. I just thought I would share my “do it myself “ story with those who want to “do it themselves”. If you’d like some help with your financial “do it yourself” project, just contact us.