Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The time it takes: Accounting restoration hours

Over the course of our posts we have often talked about how a particular project was an insane amount of work or consumed cubic hours to be complete. As we are doing this for leisure and not work Paul and I have never really put a clock to our time so we were never really sure of exactly how long some things took to complete. Recently we were faced with the need to restore a previously un-touched part and decided to keep score.

While setting up the electrics we discovered we had the incorrect windshield wiper motor. After a few days of diligent searching (totally un-tracked time) we found a replacement part in need of restoration. Below are photos of exactly what we received. It was a working but cosmetically un-restored wiper motor.

At this stage Paul and I took detailed track of our time to bring the motor up to finished condition. A few things to note:

- All work with the exception of plating was carried out in our place
- We had knowledge of exactly how to dis-assemble and re-assemble the motor so no time was lost 'learning'
- We worked diligently as if we were being paid for our time
- We did not take into account of our calculations materials consumed or the cost of sub-letting the plating
With all of these considerations and with no time wasted in the process we consumed a total of 8.5 man hours to restore this single motor. Multiply this over the many parts of an entire car and then factor in the time spent looking for parts and researching authenticity and you will see how incredibly easy it is for a restoration to go into the many thousands of man hours to complete.
Here are the pics of the finished result:

As a note I will say this post is the observations of a couple of amateurs taking note of their time. When dealing with a professional shop one of the things you pay for is their experience in both doing the work but also estimating the time it takes to do a job and communicating it to the customer. Professionals should be held to the estimates they produce and cannot run recklessly with billable hours at the customer's expense. Even this year's Pebble Beach Best of Show winning car was restored within an estimate and a budget. Open checkbook cars are more the stuff of legend rather than practice even with cars costing multiple millions of dollars.

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