November 20, 2007

The Car Mechanic: Paying for Effort or Results?

Oh no! Your car broke down. You've got no idea what's wrong. The problem could simple or major.

You're told that repairs will take three days but they take four and cost you $1,000. Getting around is inconvenient but you manage. You pay, feeling the bill is reasonable for the amount of time and effort.

You don't realize that the mechanic was average. Most of the time went to finding the problem.

Advice is judged by results, not by intentions. --- Marcus Tullius Cicero
Suppose you go to an exceptional mechanic instead. This mechanic fixes your car in 10 minutes. How would you feel about paying $1,000?

Chances are you'd balk. A $1,000 for 10 minutes of work? Ridiculous! But is it? You got your car fixed in less time than a pizza delivery and you saved four days of aggravation.

One that would have the fruit must climb the tree. --- Thomas Fuller
Wisdom takes years to acquire and has a cost. We can't easily measure wisdom and don't have two identical cars to take to the two mechanics. Our usual solution? Pay for the time expended. So we pay accountants, lawyers and others by the hour. We pay for effort rather than results.

Real Life
When we looking for our first home, we met a real estate agent at an open house. We described our needs and wants: close to public transit, quiet, large, within our budget. The first place our agent showed us was ideal. So we did the obvious --- kept looking.

After a few more days of visiting other places, we bought the first place. We now accepted that our agent was excellent. We didn't know before. The result? Wasted time. Ours and our agent's.


Anonymous said...

Hey Promod,

Just a reminder that the Canadian Tour of Personal Finance blogs will be held on the Tues November 27.

I changed the date from Sunday as I forgot that every one will be watching the Grey Cup.!

Please do a little promotion for the Tour to let your readers know about it.

The other participants can be found here:


Monty Loree

Anonymous said...

Canadian Tour participants

Promod said...

Done! Thanks for the reminder, Monty.
--- Promod

car reviews said...

Must be paid for result and sometime for efforts. As they try to solve your car problem this makes efforts.

car finance said...

Make sure that condition of the used car your chose was properly checked by an expert mechanic before purchasing it.