If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Society today is officially in the middle of a massive “get as much as you can for as little as you can” mentality. Between the “buy one get one” offers, Groupon, Livingsocial, and the like, someone is always looking for their next bargain. Businesses are lowering their regular fees, matching competitors’ pricing and throwing in a bunch of “freebies” in order to land the deal. Sure, the economy kinda stinks right now and if you can save a few bucks, wouldn’t you want to grab that opportunity? What’s that you say? Yes? Of course! Who wouldn’t? Well, I will tell you here and now, that I am one of those people who is not always looking for a bargain.

Here’s the deal: Cheaper isn’t always better. Especially when it comes to a service you are buying. Let’s talk specifically about your business and it’s professional image. There’s a saying that goes something like this: “If you want the lowest price, best service and delivery as fast as possible, you will most likely need to sacrifice one of those things to get what you need.” Some may beg to differ, but allow me to explain.

A prospect calls and wants to hire me to design their company’s new website. They need it done in less than 3 weeks, which is less than 1/2 as long as it would usually take (from start to finish). They want me to be available on a dime and they want the site to be more spectacular than anything I have ever created. What this requires is speed, service & quality. In order to deliver that website in such a short time, I will need to charge additional fees (price) since I will need to put other projects on hold. Projects that have established schedules. Thus, the “rush charge”.

In this one example, how could I actually provide such excellent service, fast service & inexpensive service? Easy: I can’t. If I have to stop working on other projects, I risk losing clients and ultimately, money. If I am expected to work overtime, I need to charge more. If I have to rush creative inspiration and create something in 1/2 the normal time, I will have to charge more. No matter how you look at it, it’s virtually impossible to provide the best service, for the cheapest price and provide my best work. If I do, something else will fail or suffer… or both.

I have experienced many the occasion when a prospective client calls asking for a quote. I provide one. Then they come back and say, “Oh wow, that’s a lot more expensive than the other quote I got. This other guy is charging less than half your fees.” My typical response is “That sounds like a great deal, you might want to grab it. Just keep in mind: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” Often times, those clients choose to go with the “cheaper” guy. And sometimes, those same people come back to me to see if I can step in and clean up the other guy’s mess, or finish a job because the other guy bailed before the project was completed. The reason for this? You get what you pay for! If you want to pay 1/3 of the going rate, then you will probably get 1/3 the service 1/3 the quality.

4 thoughts on “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  1. Love the article. All too often people take creatives for granted, not fully understanding that for quality work, for designs that are both functional and look good, these things take time.

    As a society, we’ve literally been brainwashed into thinking that cheaper, faster and better do not go hand in hand, that these things are average, and average gets us nowhere.

    If everyone took a look around and really thought about what cheaper, faster and more has done to the economy, they would stop doing it. Sadly, just a few of us understand this concept.

  2. Pretty much the way it is. Any client who wants to argue the price isn’t a client worth having. If they are willing to sacrifice quality for price it is best to let them go.

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