7+ years later he's got the building in some sort of shape, but hasn't finished what I consider to be the most important stuff -- the food-handling documentation that allows your facility to be licensed, His schedule lists that as being done in winter of 2008 -- and a 7 year slip is a long, long time.
He could be licensed by either by state or federal agencies but apparently hasn't finished the required paperwork. On the project, Mr. Jefferies does put up schedules every couple of years, and then slips the dates on them. It's a bit reminiscent of a sofware project, actually.
He's at least 3 years behind where he thought he would be in this project is what it looks like to me.
|An except from Mr. Jefferies schedule for this project. Snapshop taken 7-31-2015|
In a comment about the work he's put into it, he talks about the expenses so far:
"Basically we spent about $56K on concrete and about $120K or so on other materials. There is about $30K in equipment. There is no labor cost to us since we did all of the construction in our own time and I did all of the engineering and architecture. That is a rough accounting of costs of construction at about $206K for the building. Sometime I’ll do a detailed cost breakdown. " -- Walter Jefferies on his butcher shop
Couple of things; the building itself only has one floor; it might be taller than usual, but there's no second story; so what he's done so far has cost him $128 square foot in construction costs; and by my measure that's a pretty high price to pay considering labor costs for construction usually run more than 40% of the total project cost. (With labor added, he's paying $180.00 a square foot. that's an expensive building!)
A 40x40 pole barn, concrete floors and washable walls, floor drains and so on, would have cost him around $50k.
And the difference between $50k and $206k, $150k, will probably never be paid off by savings on heating or cooling costs, at least not in Mr. Jefferies likely farming lifetime. Maybe his grandchildren will break even. or great -grandchildren
But the real cost that he's ignoring is that this building has consumed all of his time for the last 7 going on 8 years, and he considers that to be worthless time.
I think the other way about this stuff. I always figure labor costs at $15/hour -- which is higher than typical farmhand pay around here, but if I do it that way, and it pencils out, I can afford to pay someone to do the work in my stead.
If you're running a farm you have a lot of different demands on your time -- some of the time you can schedule, some you can't (like when its sunny enough to make hay) -- and time that isn't devoted to something, for me anyway, is pretty precious. It's very difficult for me to make time to leave the farm, for instance.
It's been interesting watching him work on this project, and it reminds me that when I think about this sort of thing that I should probably run it by cooler heads to make sure that it makes sense. I'm not convinced that this direction gets him to where he wants to go as fast as other choices he could have made.
Note: I've donated money to Mr. Jefferies and solicited donations for Mr. Jefferies to complete this project. I think it would be great if it does work out for him.
keywords: sugar mountain farm, butcher shop, walter jefferies, USDA slaughter