Learning Through Failure

When you fail, do you consider it learning or failing? I play by this motto, you can only fail if you quit, everything else is learning. With that being said, I learn a lot! As I navigate business, which is primarily real estate flipping for me, I am constantly learning about houses. Finding new things I should look for when I do walk throughs of a house. However, the way I find these things, tends to be after I buy the property and have to fix them.

So, I buy a property, the bathroom had some mold spots on it and some pealing paint. I assumed the owner was not turning the fan on when they used the shower. Turns out the roofer did not flash the toilet vent pipe properly and water was running down the side of the house. So, we had to take off the siding, tear out the drywall, tear off the rotted osb, cut out the rotted 2x4s and rebuild the wall. I did not account for any of this because I assumed the moisture was from improper ventilation, not from a leak in the roof. Now, when I see moisture or mold spots, I look at the roof or windows to see if water could be running in.

I have done this same thing with floors, low spots, high spots, possible places it may not be braced, drywall patches, if trim is reusable, appliances, doors (these can add up fast), little things that when I first started looking at houses I did not consider. I used to walk in the house, calculate paint, flooring, if we needed new windows, new roof, siding, furnace, update electrical or AC, plumbing, etc. Now I am taking things in to account as small as the towel rack I will need to install in the bathrooms or the cabinet pulls which are $4 a piece but you need 25 of them. So, as we buy houses, fix them up, we are learning through losing money. I do not consider this a bad thing though. We may be losing money on profit or our time, but we are not losing money on our whole project. It is a great way to learn, while young and growing.

I am experiencing similar things in my business. My whole life I have been big on buying used and not brand new. This has recently made me reconsider a lot of things. In life our number 1 expense is taxes. So, why am I trying to cut corners to save a couple thousand on buying a trailer? I purchased a dump trailer for $8k, I then had to register said trailer, next I put sides on the trailer so I could dump more at each dump, which was about $1500 in material and labor. Now I am putting new tires on it for $850. So, I have roughly $10,500 into this 9 year old trailer. I looked up new trailers with built in high sides. They cost around $14k. So, for $3500 more, I could have a brand new trailer. I could take out a loan and write off the interest. I would have a bigger number to depreciate. Along with, a brand new trailer which will require minimal maintenance. I can take this same concept into the truck I bought and my job trailer.

I have the means to buy new trailers or a newer truck. Some people do not have those means and should not make those choices. This is just some stuff I am realizing as I try to save a dollar or cut corners, I am actually costing myself more money. However, I am happy with these decisions. The more I make these mistakes, the more I learn for the future. The more I can learn now, while my cost basis is low, the more I can grow in the future.

So, look at what you have going in your own life. Are you failing or making mistakes? When that happens are you giving up or are you learning? I recommend evaluating the things you are doing and try to learn from them.

Your life Tutor

-Shaun Tutor


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