I have mentioned my dear friend and cleaning customer Dennis Gehman of Gehman Design Remodeling many times on this show. That's because he is such a blessing to me. I thoroughly enjoy our breakfast conversations as we both leave sharper and more ready for our day when we do. We had the opportunity to meet for breakfast earlier this week for the first time in a few months, so we had a lot to catch up on. We usually pray to start our meal and toward the end for the Lord's favor on our lives and businesses.
There was one segment of our conversation that was so rich that I had to pause to take some notes for a future podcast. Here's how it went.
"Dennis, I hear so many time management and business coaches teach us to maximize our output by delegating the tasks we don't need to be doing. It might cost $500 to have a graphic designer do a logo for me, but if I did it myself it would be 25% as good and take me at least 10 hours. My time is worth as a minimum $100-$200 per hour based on some of the higher rates I earn in cleaning and coaching. If I spend 10 hours to save $500, I actually am spending 10 hours. This 10 hours costs me $1,000 - $2,000 in lost income or opportunity cost. Therefore, do I delegate the logo or not. Clearly I do."
Dennis agreed with everything and wondered where I was going. I continued.
"When I was in high school, my Pop-Pop taught me how to refinish a dresser, basic gardening, and basic car maintenance. We'd buy the oil and filter at the part store and do oil changes in the garage by putting the car on the ramps. It cost about $10 in supplies in 1993 and 2-3 hours of our time. The same oil change cost $30 in the shop, so it saved me $20 and that was a lot as a 16-year-old. I continued changing my own oil and doing basic maintenance into my early 20's based on what my Pop-Pop taught me. But eventually, I got to the point where my time was more valuable and have been paying my mechanic to do my oil changes and maintenance. Last week, my rear window stopped working. I made an appointment to get it fixed knowing it would cost me $300 in parts and labor. My wife convinced me to do it myself to save $250 as the part was only $50 and there were YouTube videos teaching how to do it in an hour. I was further convinced when my friend Barry from church offered to help me do it at his house since he just completed the same repair on his exact same Honda Pilot. The job took 3 hours total in time from leaving my house to back again and $50 in parts. Again, my time is worth $100-$200 per hour, so I had an opportunity cost of $400-$600 for a project that costs $300 in the shop. This was a mistake, right?"
Dennis could see my grin and nodded for me to continue.
"Dennis, I decided to do what my Pop-Pop did. I brought my 10-year-old son Kolby with me to help with Guy-Stuff. He had a blast with dad and Barry fixing the window, playing with tools, and taking apart the old window motor. That's when I realized something. My Pop-Pop could have delegated oil changes too. He made enough money. But he chose to teach his son how to do it. The lessons in that garage in 1993, 1994, and 1995 have lasted nearly 30 years. I will never forgot that time. It bonded us even tighter. It grew our relationship and there is no way to measure how much that was worth. My Pop-Pop passed away last year. Now I hold these dear memories in my heart of the time I spent with him in that garage. Dennis, I did the same with my son fixing the window. We built our relationship. Kolby will never forget it. I think that opportunity cost as it is taught only takes into account the dollars and cents, minutes and seconds. It doesn't account for the memories created or the relationships built. You can't measure relationships."
It was Dennis's turn. "I needed to hear that. I've been working a lot of hours lately and it took a recent illness to give me the perspective I've needed on my time. My grandkids have been wanting me to build them a tree house like the one I had as a child. I'm going to do this once I feel strong enough to do the work. It will do exactly for my grandkids what your Pop-Pop did for you and what you did for Kolby."
His answer affirmed my realization. Dennis and I bonded over this discussion as two fathers wanting more for their kids and in his case, grandkids. This was a powerful breakfast. At the end of the meal, I grabbed the receipt and told Dennis that this one was mine. He agreed. But when I got up to go pay the bill, the waiter stopped me. "You don't have to worry about that. Someone took care of it for you." This is the first time this has happened for me, where a stranger at the restaurant decided to bless us. It was a beautiful and fitting way to end our breakfast.
Would you like to discuss any missed opportunity cost in your life and business? Make sure to check out the many free & paid resources available at the Smart Cleaning School website. Also, do you have questions for me? Book a free coaching call on my website!
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.