The cost/benefit analysis of DIY or “Hold the tomatoes!”

For this post, we go back to one of my fave lunch spots, the Cafe Europa, home of the guys who say “To go” when you’ve already told them so.

This time, it’s about tomatoes.

I hate ’em . . . so I used to tell the sandwich guys to remove them from my pre-fabbed Classic Italian.

And then I’d have to deal with them lookin’ at me funny, and then watch as they pulled apart the bread, and plucked the tomatoes off themselves.

One day I realized that I was better off just doing it myself, back in the comfort of my office.  I could do it faster, and also ensure that there wasn’t even one little disgusting t-seed left to infect the rest of the sandwich.

I did it myself.

Broadway has always been a very specialized industry.  There are few providers for our specific services.  And those providers have been able to charge, well, almost anything they want.

We’re just starting to emerge from the naive, Kool-Aid-induced haze that had us believing there were only a few people who could do the jobs that we needed them to do.  We’re finding that there are vendors all over the country, and all over the world, that can accomplish similar tasks, and often at much cheaper prices.

We’re just starting to join the DIY revolution.

I’m a huge supporter of folks DIYing their way to success.  Done right, you can save money, and learn about whatever you’re DIYing in the process.  Teach a man to fish, and you’ve got an all-you-can-eat sushi bar in your backyard!

Will you sacrifice some expertise?  Could you sacrifice some time?  Could you screw up?  Yes.

So it’s up to you to calculate the risk quotient of taking on a task that you wouldn’t normally take on.

Here’s the $ equation.

X = Cost of Expert Vendor
Y = Cost New Vendor or Yourself
Z = Your potential loss if you f’ it up.

If X > (Y + Z), then you should have hired the Expert in the first place.

But, flip that alligator mouth around, and you’ve made out on this deal, and learned something to save you even more in the future.

You can’t just be a guerrilla DIY guy.  You have to consider all the options.  The experts out there are experts for a reason.  And there are times when you need them on your team.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take off your own tomatoes every once in a while.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.