Expectations vs reality in regards to cost and time of a build

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This is a very important post for anyone coming to Awesome Possum. Let’s talk about reality vs YouTube and expectations vs shop and labor time reality. And this is mainly for customers paying the shop to build but it needs to be considered by full DIYer’s as well.

All too often I see customers who have great dreams but unrealistic expectations of what it takes to make them real. I have now seen numerous customers pass through who got a week or two into their build and had sticker shock so bad that they cancelled their build projects with the shop. I have have had 3 leave in the last week.
OK people lets talk about the first vs first. Reality vs Youtube. Folks these 30 min videos on youtube that make it all look so easy are most often 30 min clips which were edited down from days if not weeks of work. We do good work and good work often takes time.If you want it cheap and fast it won’t be good, if you want it good and cheap it won’t be fast. If you want it fast and good it won’t be cheap. And those who don’t know how to weld or how to work wood or how to wire electrical or plumbing or anything else really need to stop expecting youtube video time limits on work. Especially custom work. I’m sorry people think something should be done quicker but most often it is not possible. It takes as long as it takes and we charge flat rate.

About expectations vs shop and labor time reality:
See I have met people who think a van can be built 100% in a week with every accessory and all custom high grade finished cabinets. That is a 4 to 7 week job and is going to cost between $6k and $11k in labor if you’re hiring the shop to do it all. It cannot be built in a week here by us or by anyone anywhere in a week, it’s impossible.
I have met people who have pulled antique vehicles out of mothballs and think they can be fully functional in a matter of days when in fact old wiring must be replaced, rusted and leaking propane lines must be replaced, old appliances no longer work and must be replaced, etc. Once again an impossible task in the time allotted, something like that is a 3 week plus job plus all new materials and appliances which can easily exceed $8k when done.
I have met people who think a full size bus can be built in a month and fully accessorized inside and out. That is a multi month project, often 4 to 6 months at least and should be budgeted like a remodel in a house at approx $125 per sq ft so a 8 ft wide by 40 ft long bus is going to cost $40k if you want it built out with all new materials and appliances and it’ll take as long as it takes.

In conclusion:
I realize that this may cause a bunch of immediate sticker shock but honestly this is the going rate and this is what Awesome Possum makes for shop work.And if someone doesn’t want to go with the rate then that’s fine, others are in line right behind to take their place. In that regard we’re like any business.
I want everyone to know what to expect. I do not ever want to falsely represent myself and yet these issues keep coming up. Of course inevitably in any business there are customers who’s budgets change and so must their project. This though is to address realistic expectations up front. This kind of custom work takes time and quality custom work cost money. Everyone should budget well in advance and if you think it’ll take a week expect a month, if you expect a month it might be 3 months. If you expect 3 months it could be 9. Now I’m not saying everyone is so far off all the time but I am seeing a trend and I want to stop it. For you, the customer, this is your life, your home most often. It is not something to underestimate. Most of you are sinking everything into this and some of you are failing at it or at the very least coming up way short. I don’t like seeing dreams break and fall to pieces. I hate it. but I can’t stop it. I have no control over anything beyond putting in a fair days work day after day. So please budget wisely and weigh the risk carefully before you decide. Because the raw reality that no one ever talks about is for every one person who pulls off van or skoolie life there are probably 3 that utterly fail to launch just in general out there.
We’re keeping a better average here but still I’m going with 1 in 10 hit a wall and have to rethink and re-plan everything. I want to see everyone succeed, but I can’t and won’t pay for it out of my pocket.

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