A $60 Schooling for a DIY Project

Recently, our (not too old) washing machine died, displaying an F71 error code. Considering there are 5 of us in the household, laundry stacks up quickly. So, this is a BIG deal!

Because I was extremely busy with client work I didn’t have time to take on a do-it-yourself (DIY) project at the time. As such, I decided to schedule in-home repair service. It was a Wednesday evening and the earliest appointment was on Saturday. I guess we can wait that long. Back to work.

The next day my wife went online and googled error code F71. Voila, she found troubleshooting documentation that seemed to isolate the problem to 1 of 2 components. While I was encouraged that she found this useful information, still being busy, I elected not to follow the process to confirm…

On Saturday, I found myself rubber-necking (what my wife and I call the process of continuously checking for our expected guest) for a few hours as I anxiously awaited the arrival of the repairman. During this timeframe it was becoming obvious to me that I should try out the troubleshooting steps (now that I have the time) to save the cost of the repair…But, he would be here any minute so I got busy with other chores.

Finally, he arrives. Within 15 minutes he is ready to share the prognosis. It is 1 of 2 components. I’m realizing these are exactly the same components that my wife identified in the online troubleshooting documentation. OK, that is good! Then, the price:

  • Component #1: Parts and Labor = $511
  • Component #2: Parts and Labor = $325

He then indicates: “My educated guess is that it is component #1.” My thought: “Of course it is.”

I then ask: “How much does a new washing machine cost?” My wife and the repairman both agreed on the range of $700 to $900.

The repairman comments: “Yeah, that is an awful lot to pay for a repair, when you can buy a new machine for just a few hundred dollars more. But, I do have the part in my truck if you want to try it out.

He then hesitates, waiting for us to catch on…I got it, and said: “What the heck. Let’s try it out.”

By the time he was back in the house with the part I had Amazon.com up and we found the part. The price: $187.


He then says: “That is exactly what I was thinking. We can try out the part and if it works you can buy it online and install it yourself for a whole lot less.”

We then went back to the laundry room. He showed me EXACTLY what had to be done (a simple procedure) to swap out the part. And, it worked! He then reversed the procedure and prepared for departure. The cost of the service call (my home schooling): $60. That, and the cost of the part (online) totaled less than $300!

In his parting words he commented: “I just don’t feel right charging that much money for a simple repair that most people could do on their own.” That had to be the best in-home repair service experience we’ve had.

And, finally, UPS delivered our part. I installed it in less than 10 minutes and we are now caught up on our laundry.

The moral of the story – When a potential DIY project comes up, I will avoid hiring it out if we can wait just a few short days before I can get to it. Doing so saves hundreds of dollars! And, even more importantly, the sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency is incredible! Oh, the little joys in life 🙂

p.s. – And, my wife never once said “I told you so.” Thanks sweetheart!

One thought on “A $60 Schooling for a DIY Project

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