Updated: Mar 19, 2020
It’s true: There is always someone who will do it cheaper.
The image above is one that had resonated with me, and I have shared it numerous times with colleagues, clients, and friends over the years. Whomever originally created this meme, Thank You.
There are many variations to the sayings “You get what you pay for”, “You won’t ever get something for nothing”, “Good isn’t cheap, and cheap isn’t good”, "Skilled labour isn’t cheap and cheap labour isn’t skilled” though in most cases and through experience these statements are very much true. Personally, I like this one, “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.
In an effort to drive cost to the lowest common value possible, what many are doing is not offering “apples to apples” comparisons for their products offered, their ability or workmanship, the finished work delivered or product omissions, (these may find their way back at a later stage as an extra or may be totally left out of the pricing only to cause a failure at a later date). These are often found in various stages of pricing or scoping of jobs, as there are often always variables left to interpretation.
There is a difference between value and cost, though both are defined through the perceptions of the buyer and seller relating to a product and/or service. Often for a flooring contractor/retailer of any sort to truly provide value to their client, they may not necessarily be the lowest cost. For a buyer/client, to extract value from a product and/or service, the expectation of the value must be defined.
The struggle in the ability of the client and the service provider to articulate to each other the expectation of the final product will continue, though there is potential for aversion of these disconnects throughout the process. The value/expectation of product/service provided must be defined with an associated cost, both must align between buyer and seller. In relation to the pictures above, the “clients” have been provided with a “lion” Tattoo. What were their final product expectation? Is the mistake in choosing the artist and that artists ability or was the artist doing it to a price they were given?
Potential mistake 1: The client opted to ask for a price for the works and jumped on opportunity with a low-cost provider without consideration of outcome/consequences.
Potential mistake 2: The client did not perform any research, such as requesting images of actual artwork or completed work to verify that the skill set of the artist was on par with expectations.
Potential mistake 3: This one is on the seller; the artist grossly overestimated their ability, was not aware of costing, and most likely provided a combination of these items that unfortunately lead the client down a path of disconnect between value and cost.
To potentially avert risks associated with any of the three mistakes (and/or others) as listed, there is a model of due-diligence required by both the client and service/product provider. When selecting a product and or a service provider a buyer should consider some of these points:
Industry experience of the organisation in relation to the expected outcome?
Visual representation of the previous work/product to assist in alignment of value/costing?
Industry affiliations and/or recognition by peers and/or public?
Documentation, Insurance held, operational efficiencies relating to scope, process, etc.?
Does or has the company actually completed similar scopes and provided similar outcomes with success in the past, and can the claims be substantiated?
What differentiates the retailer/contractor or elevates them above the standard?
These questions will allow a better judgement of cost versus the value of a service/product provider. Be wary of the provider that tries to sell you on the promise of price alone, as often there will be a surprise around the corner.