Business Advice from Dad - Pay Peanuts Get Monkeys

Dad Said: “When You Pay Peanuts, You Get Monkeys”

Dad Said: “When You Pay Peanuts, You Get Monkeys”

Father’s Day is this weekend. I was thinking about my Dad and the great advice he’s given me over the years. Like me, Dad’s a business owner. We work in different fields – he’s in carpentry, I’m in marketing and tech – but we have had one big challenge in common:

Quality Work Demands Quality Pricing

You have probably experienced this situation yourself. How many times have you talked with a prospect who is very enthusiastic about all of your experience and the work they’ve seen you do yet have them cringe at the price tag? This is a thing that happens. People want the Walt Disney World experience at neighborhood block party prices. It’s very frustrating – but my Dad has a great line for it. He says, “When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!”

Tired of Monkey Business? Here’s What You Need to Do Differently

Any time you’re considering a vendor, you want to seriously evaluate what they’re offering. Take the time to look at their experience, talent, management style, the processes a company brings to the table matter and ongoing support. These are just a few of the factors that make one digital marketing and development firm, for example, quantitatively better than another. It’s important to know that the vendor you choose has the ability to do the level of work you need to support your business.

In a perfect world, we’d be making these comparisons on an apples-to-apples basis. That’s not the case when we evaluate service organizations. What really happens, too often, is we jump directly to the price tag and make our choices based solely on our budget. Without stepping back and asking more important questions about:

  • How does their project process work?
  • Who are the team members being assigned to the project?
  • What communication channels do they use?
  • What are the response time and turnaround?
  • How do they deliver assets?
  • How do they handle deadlines?
  • What is support like after a project?
  • What metrics do they track and why?
  • What industry best practices or benchmarks do they follow?

These items often validate the cost and why one firm will deliver a quality end product, but also a stress-free working relationship and experience.

As a consumer, when I made the choice to buy based on price it has bitten me in the butt – and I’m sure this has happened to you too. There’s a reason Dad says, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” When what you’re paying for doesn’t actually meet your needs, you’re wasting time, money and resources. Nobody’s budget is large enough for foolish choices!

As a vendor, I’ve learned to be very wary of the price-driven client. In any professional relationship, you should be evaluating your potential clients as they are evaluating you. If the focus of the conversation is bringing the price down, down, down, we are not going to be a good fit for that particular organization. They’ll be happier with someone who charges – and delivers – less than we do. Remember when you are experienced you cannot water down your skills even if you water down the project price.

The sweet spot – on either side of this equation – is where you are willing to invest in a quality relationship. Bargain basement prices generate bargain basement results. Smart, strategic choices may cost more – but they also result in relationships with committed partners, who consistently turn in their best efforts and deliver better outcomes. Teams eager and excited to work with you to achieve a common goal and success.

We can never forget that vendors are people too. No one likes being treated as a commodity. The way we recognize the value of someone’s effort, experience and expertise is by paying an appropriate price for those services.

If you want to be known as a quality business, you need to work with quality people. It’s that simple.

Thanks Dad for teaching me to value people and quality craftsmanship; and an understanding that paying peanuts will only deliver monkey business.

Originally published on Linkedin Father’s Day 2014

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