I’ve often written how hobby farmers tend to be do-it-yourself types keen to tackle any task and handle complex projects on their own. Put up that new fence line? No problem! Build a toolshed? Bring it on!
If you’re willing to invest time and effort, a DIY attitude can reduce expenses and give you a fine feeling of self-sufficiency.
But as I’ve said in the past, there are some instances where it’s better to let the experts take over. Perhaps you lack the skills or equipment to handle a potentially hazardous task.
Or perhaps the project is theoretically manageable, but the time you’ll lose completing it isn’t worth the money you’ll save by doing it yourself.
Can Versus Should
Let me give you an example. Earlier this summer, I decided to haul in a small riding lawn mower for a professional repair job. I had stopped using the mower a couple years prior because a variety of issues had popped up.
For reasons unclear, the machine was struggling to start, even with new spark plugs and a fresh battery installed. Also, the mower was no longer cutting properly. Belt issues in the deck appeared to be the culprit.
After a couple years of sitting unused, I knew the mower needed a complete tune-up in addition to the repairs. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t have handled myself, given enough time and effort.
I could have scoured small machine forums in search of tips for improving the reluctant starting. I could have taken the mower deck apart, identified the problematic belt, and purchased a replacement.
And along the way, I could have searched the user manual for part numbers and replaced the air, oil, and fuel filters.
The Value of Professional Help
But instead, I decided to let a professional handle the job. At any given time, on any given farm, there might be half a dozen (or more) tasks and projects demanding your attention. Sometimes, you have to pick and choose your battles.
I knew restoring the mower myself would have required many hours of diligent research and effort—time that was perhaps better spent in areas where I have more experience and expertise.
So that’s what I did. I loaded the mower onto a utility trailer, hauled it to a professional, and left it for repair. Not long after, I picked it up practically good as new. The mower deck had been repaired and general engine maintenance performed.
And best of all an adjustment had been made to the choke and throttle control. This eliminated the starting issues.
A Matter of Investment
When I looked at the bill, I marveled at how the expert completed all this work in two and a half hours. I would have been lucky to identify and purchase all the necessary replacement parts in that time, let alone perform the repairs and maintenance.
And who knows how long it would have taken me to zero in on the choke and throttle as the source of the starting issues? Viewed through this lens, I concluded the expense of letting a professional repair the mower was a wise investment, freeing up a huge chunk of my time to spend on other projects instead.
That’s not to say this approach is right in every instance. To the contrary, I encourage all hobby farmers to learn basic engine maintenance and perform routine servicing (such as oil and filter changes) on their own. Most tasks don’t take very long.
But for more challenging and time-consuming maintenance and repair projects, calling an expert might be the way to go.