I heard an interview with a termite tenting company on Oahu this morning. His business seems to be much like Kona Impact’s in that we are a provider of quality, professional services, and we almost never use price cuts as a ruse to get clients.
The pest control guy had some great observations:
- Will the low-price guy damage your home or plants because he doesn’t pay his workers well?
- Does the low-price guy have adequate on-site supervision?
- Will the low-price guy use the correct amount of gas and procedures to ensure a 100% kill of the termites?
- Will the low-price guy be around to honor any warranty?
I thought those reasons were pretty compelling. With a several hundred thousand or a million dollar (or more) investment for your home, why would you go for cheapest? Obviously, there is a reason they are inexpensive.
The same is true for design and marketing services. There are, of course, less expensive options than Kona Impact. On occasion, they might just be a better overall deal because they have certain efficiencies or very low-cost structures.
I would argue, however, that the inexpensive providers will have many of the following characteristics:
- Inexperienced at design and business. You will be paying for their on-the-job training.
- Mistake prone. Designing and setting up files for production is an exacting task and requires an understanding of print processes and online technologies.
- Working alone. You will be getting the experience of an individual, probably working out of his (or his parent’s) house. This lack of perspective and inability to work collaboratively with others will inevitably show up in the quality of work.
- Lack of commitment to the business. We often see the low-price provider as someone who is “testing the waters”, so to speak, of a design or marketing career. Growing a sustainable business is not the goal: figuring out if he or she likes the business is the goal.
- Part-time work habits. A person working full-time in the design and marketing worlds knows the value of time and the costs of doing business, which leads to appropriate pricing. Moonlighters and part-timers seldom do.
- Prone to abandoning projects. If the price quote is way off about the cost of doing a project, it makes more sense to abandon the project, even at the mid-way point than finishing it.
- “Gotcha” pricing. Often a low initial price will lead to requests for more money as the project progresses. This leaves the client in a tough situation; pay more or give up the project.
- Transient business. Your provider might be here today, gone tomorrow. As a result, you might lose your deposit, or worse, not have access to the designer when you want to make future revisions or derivative projects.
Kona Impact has been in business for almost nine years. A big reason we are still here, even after the Great Recession, is that we have always tried to deliver exceptional value at fair prices. We have seen tens of like businesses in Hawaii come and go, and, unfortunately, we have heard many stories of businesses that have lost a lot of money with the low-cost providers.
We also “walk the walk” when dealing with our suppliers and vendors. We don’t mind paying more for supplies and services if we know the business does great work. We also patronize businesses that we want and need in our community.
So, the next time you find a way to save some money, ask yourself this: What is the cost of the low price?