I would consider myself moderately handy. I am not building homes from scratch, nor can I do electrical or plumbing for the most part, and I’m not talking just cutting the grass or shovel the snow. I keep up my landscaping, I will paint the house, and I can hold my own with power tools. While there are certain things that I would never hire out for that just cost too much, such as painting, I have learned this weekend that there are just some things you hire for, pay the money, and never look back.
It started out that I wanted to trim the trees around my house that had a few hanging limbs, and dead ones, for that matter as well. I started using a saw to cut up the branches as I was cutting them down, to turn into small firewood to fit easily in the deck chimney fire pit. The small pieces I broke up into sticks and saved in a box to use for a fire starter. This system worked pretty well until I decided to go a little crazy cutting down branches and I got in a little over my head.
I really did cut up what I could, but after a while it became a little too much that I just started stacking the huge branches on top of each other in my driveway. I had the week off of work, so I figured during my time off I would do some landscaping cleanup, so I had the time to rent a wood chipper to start taking down the pile in my driveway, that continue to pile up. I finally finished all of the trees I wanted to trim, probably went a little higher than I was planning on, but the pile took up about half of my driveway, a pretty good haul.
Home Depot was charging $67 to rent their small wood chipper for 4 hours, while I called a landscaping company that plows our street in the winter, and they said they would haul away for $225. Thinking I have the time, it is not that bad of a job, I went to rent the wood chipper, had help loading it into my truck for a couple of the guys working, who also recommended that I just leave it in my truck and face the part that shoots the chips away from the truck, that way you don’t have to lift it out and back in (it was a small chipper, but was extremely heavy). I started chipping, and after about 10 minutes and barely getting anything in, and having to restart about 5 times, I was fed up. I calmly wiped off the machine, packed up my truck, and headed back to the store to return it. When I returned to the store, not even expecting a refund at that time, thought I would just cut my losses, I explained that it would take me a week to cut everything up, in that you could barely put anything in the chipper, and when you could and it hit the top lever it was stall. I actually was only mad at myself in trying to save money, but they actually offered me a full refund (I was home and back within a half hour or so). That was very nice on their part.
So, thinking in my head at this point that the difference between doing all of the work, not getting it done in the 4-hour rental period, the $225 for the company to come do it, seemed a whole lot better. Home Depot said the larger wood chipper was $170 to rent for 4 hours, but still meant I’d do the work, and at this point I wasn’t convinced I would get it done within that either. I started calling around companies to see what they would charge to haul away the pile in my driveway, and ended up settling on a company that would come take it away for $200.
Two guys came out, and I swear they were there, with a wood chipper with them, dragged from my driveway, chipped it, cleaned up, and were out of there in minutes. I’m not complaining about the money, I’m happy that I paid it. These guys perfectly chopped up my pile, swept up, and driveway looked like the pile was not even there, for a couple hundred dollars. Sometimes it’s better left to the professionals who have the equipment, experience, and are already out in the area and can make an extra couple hundred dollars.