Rant Alert – this post is likely to upset some readers. I don’t know how many times in the last couple of months, I’ve seen requests like:
“Wondering if anyone knows of a reasonably priced electrician. Struggling to find one that does not cost an arm and a leg”
“Looking for a hairdresser that isn’t too $$$ “
“Looking for someone who has the skill in web design and building websites, I’m wanting to build my own website but have no idea where to start really … I know they aren’t hard to do its just finding the time!”
The whole approach is pretty ubiquitous – “I’m looking for someone who has spent years developing their skills; generally runs a business; pays for insurance; covers all their business expenses” but I don’t want to pay a lot of money.
The first questions I ask myself is what’s “cheap” or “inexpensive” anyway. Then I have to ask myself, if you’re judging something by the price, not the value of the work you receive, are you really someone I want to deal with? Finally, I have to ask – how do you judge “an arm and a leg” or “not to $$$” (meaning not to expensive, I assume)?
The final statement in my example above is a classic! “I know they aren’t hard to do, it’s just finding the time!”. Let’s take a look at this one – because I get a lot of similar requests through my inbox (and I see a few in public forums). The request normally goes something like:
“Hi, I want to create a website but I don’t have a lot of money. I want to be able to show case my products and services, I want to sell things online, I want to blog, I want to…..”
then, I get something like the following:
“Oh and I’ve had quotes from $600 to $10000 – I don’t understand why there is such a price difference. This isn’t hard and I could do it myself, but I’m just too busy. Oh and I don’t want a WordPress Template”.
So let’s use this as an example as to why this approach will put off the decent service providers and reinforce your view of the fact that providers are imbeciles.
Let me be blunt – in most cases – YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
If you want to reduce your costs in a website design, do the leg work to develop a clearly defined scope of work, do the graphic design or the mockups of what you want EACH AND EVERY PAGE to look like, do the content outline and then send that out as a Request For Proposal. If you are just going to send out a request like: “I want a 5 page website so I can sell my products” – expect prices that range from 100’s to 10,000’s of dollars …. by refusing to scope your work to clearly defined deliverables, you are asking the providers to take on the risk and provide you with something that is not clear.
Let’s look at an electrician – you say “I need an electrician” – my question, “to do what? when?”
Do you need a light fitting installed? Do you want an oven installed? Are you having problems with your electrics in general and need troubleshooting?
What’s an electrician’s time worth? They spend 3 to 4 years in study, earning laughable amounts because they’re in training .
Then, they decide to open their own business. They have to pay their personal electricians license; they may have to pay a contractors license (and until National licensing is official in Australia, some electricians have to hold licenses in multiple states); they have to pay insurance on tools and vehicles (after all, they have to travel to you); they have to pay workers comp; membership fees to national bodies; purchase of appropriate standards documents that change fairly regularly; fees from local authorities….
Want me to go on? Oh yeah, then, they have to negotiate a time that is convenient to you – and travel to your place.
THEN – after visiting your place, they MAY take a trip out to the electrical wholesalers to pick up the ONE PART they need to finish your job on the day. Sure, they may mark the part up however, that doesn’t go anywhere near the time or fuel expended to get to the wholesalers, work out exactly what is needed, go back to your place and finish the job.
But of course, you don’t want to pay their fee, because it’s all been done and finished and you haven’t been “put out” at all.
I think this is my next favourite. Sure they SEEM expensive (and I reckon some are, but I don’t go back to them). I have my hair coloured. By the time I get in and get out, it can be anywhere between 2 and 3 hours. In that time, I’ve had my hair coloured (generally a base and foils); cut; washed; styled and blow dried. I might spend $150.00 for that experience…. let me see… $150 over 3 hours is $50 / hour – that covers, the personnel, products, electricity, training, water, GST, PAYG, Super, Rent etc…. is that too much in this day and age? Probably not. (I have to say that I generally spend considerably less than $150.00 – and I’m always grateful for that).
What’s all that really worth to you?
You aren’t really asking for a service – you’re asking for someone’s experience to make your life easier.
You either don’t have the skills yourself, don’t have the necessary qualifications to allow you to have the work approved (you MAY have the skills), or don’t have the time. In any of these cases, that’s all worth something and in the end the service provider should be paid sufficiently so they can cover expenses and earn enough profit to live a comfortable life.
If you really think you have the skills, or something really isn’t that difficult – DO IT YOURSELF….. and then talk to me about what it really cost you to do it.
When requesting work
If you want to get responses from those who are genuine in their mission to serve you at a reasonable price – don’t put the proviso “not too expensive; doesn’t cost an arm and a leg” – all that does is attract the providers who are either sooooo desperate for work they’ll do anything or those who (generally) won’t do a good job to begin with.
What is someone’s experience and the pain relief really worth to you?
OK, rant over….