From pots to yachts, you get what you pay for.

Consumers all around the world know this – if you want quality products you will need to dole out great quantities of cash. In every industry you have different ranges of products from BMWs to Suzuki’s, Nikes to No-names, caviar to canned beans… Different strokes for different folks…In every sphere of the consumer marketplace, you have choices, and you must understand you get what you pay for.

Obviously the choice is yours: not everyone can afford a high-end vehicle, or even desire it, but, surely, if you want it you know that the price is not negotiable. If you can’t afford it, you simply have to look for something cheaper.  You can’t grumble about the price as the market dictates. In fact, the higher price sometimes is the attraction, the quality of a t-shirt from Woolworths and Addidas are much of a muchness, yet there is a high demand for the much higher priced Addidas shirt.

In the service industry there is a massive difference in the choice of service providers.  From employing a Freelancer or a Sole Proprietor, to a well-established and staffed company.  From a local SME, to a national corporate.  There is a vast distinction between a company that is registered, tax and corporate governance compliant versus a lone ranger one-man show operating under the radar. Both have a market; the market just must be comfortable with what they get.  From capacity, skill sets, infrastructure, experience, and so much more.

 People will pay wads of money for a car or a pair of shoes, but when it comes to the service industry, they want to get away with paying peanuts. Why are intangible products like customer service, professional knowledge, and experience so undervalued? Maybe people don’t understand what they are getting?

The proverb should be applied to all areas – even the intangible.  We have a local Facebook group for women where ladies pose questions about health, children, basically requesting advice about anything and everything to looking for referrals for all sorts of services.  Often the referral includes: “Looking for…. that doesn’t cost an arm and leg”.  What exactly are they asking for?  Maybe they should rather say: I have budget restraints, so looking for a cheap quality, or unqualified, or inferior service? If you are looking for a cake that doesn’t break the bank, maybe you should say looking for a baker that doesn’t use electricity or leaves out the oil as the expense to bake a cake almost does break the bank.

In fact – shouldn’t we be keener to pay people for intangible products like knowledge and experience than perishable products like cars and shoes? Is investing in a person not a more noble expense than a lifeless object that can be crashed, corrupted or canned? 

 Just a thought…Do we always understand what we are paying for?