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You Always Get What You Pay For

I’ve learned over the years that there is a universal relationship between prospective customers and the companies they are interested in hiring to complete a specific project. The relationship stretches across many industries and focuses on the comprehensive price of goods and services, in relation to a prospective customer’s perception of time value versus project cost. An individual or company’s expertise in completing the project or providing a service is carefully calculated. And the conversation with a customer when they’re presented with an estimate or quote that they believe is “too expensive” can be a frustrating one.

I was talking with my friend recently, who owns a landscaping company, and he referenced this conversation between a Customer and a Contractor, regarding an estimate for a construction project. The dialogue unfolds and is a good lesson, step by step, in helping a customer understand what goes into project calculations when they knee-jerk with the “your price is too high” response.

Here’s the conversation as it unfolds, as told by an unknown author. It’s somewhat indicative of a common frustration that professional service companies encounter as they hear the standard off the cuff reaction. It’s an education process you should be well-versed in for your own business, so that you can respond respectfully regarding fair value for your time and expertise, when you’re questioned about your “price”. Enjoy!

-Chris Flohr

CUSTOMER: “How much will it cost to do this job?”
CONTRACTOR: “$2,800 Dollars.”

CUSTOMER: “That’s WAY too expensive for this job!!”
CONTRACTOR: “How much do YOU think it would cost?”

CUSTOMER: “No more than $800 Dollars – MAX!! It’s a simple job!”
CONTRACTOR: “I can’t prioritize my time for so little.”

CUSTOMER: “People in your line of work are so greedy.”
CONTRACTOR: “Sorry you feel that way. Why not do it yourself?”

CUSTOMER: “But… but… I don’t know how to do any of this.”
CONTRACTOR: “For $900 Dollars, I’ll teach you EXACTLY how to get this job done. Then you can spend $800 to do the job and you’ll still be saving $1,100 Dollars – PLUS… you’ll get the knowledge and experience for the next time you want to do a job yourself.”

CUSTOMER: “Deal!! Let’s do it.”
CONTRACTOR: To get started you’ll need tools. So you’ll have to buy a welder, a grinder, a chop saw, a drill press, a welding hood, gloves and a few other things.”

CUSTOMER: “But I don’t have all this equipment and I can’t buy all of these for one job.”
CONTRACTOR: “Well then for another $300 more I’ll let you rent my tools… and you’ll still be saving $800 Dollars.”

CUSTOMER: “That’s cutting into my savings. But I’ll rent your tools.”
CONTRACTOR: “Okay! I’ll be back on Saturday and we can start.”

CUSTOMER: “Wait. I can’t on Saturday. I only have time today.”
CONTRACTOR: “Sorry, I only give lessons on Saturday, because I have to prioritize my time and my tools have to be at other jobs with other customers all week long.

CUSTOMER: “Okay!! I’ll sacrifice my family plans on Saturday.”
CONTRACTOR: “Yeah… me too. Oh… and I forgot… to do your job yourself, you also have to pay for the materials. Everything is in high demand right now, so your best bet is to get your truck and load up at 6AM before everyone else gets there.”

CUSTOMER: “SIX AM??? On a Saturday??? That’s way too early for me. And also… I don’t have a truck.”
CONTRACTOR: “I guess you’ll have to rent one. Do you have a couple of strong men to help you load and unload everything?”

CUSTOMER: “Ummm… ya know… I’ve been thinking. It’s probably best if YOU get this job done. I’d rather pay someone to get it done correctly than go through all the hassle.
CONTRACTOR: “Smart move, sign this and please get out of the way so I can work.”

-Author Unknown


When you pay for a job, especially handcrafted, you pay not only for the material used, but you are also paying for:

  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Tools
  • Services
  • Time
  • Punctuality
  • Accountability
  • Professionalism
  • Accuracy
  • Labor
  • Sacrifices
  • Safety and Security
  • Payment of tax obligations

No one should denigrate a professional’s work by judging prices – ESPECIALLY when they don’t know all the elements or costs necessary for the production of such work.

This was just a remix of an old story I once heard and I am sharing this in support of craftsmen, specialists and entrepreneurs everywhere!

You can’t haggle over a service that you don’t actually have the skills or knowledge to do yourself. You can’t get a high quality gourmet dinner party for the same price as a Happy Meal from McDonald’s. And you can’t be mad when skilled people actually KNOW their own worth.

Be smart. Trust a reputable professional. And never forget… that you ALWAYS get what you pay for.