Do you pay enough to get the job done?
My grandfather had a familiar saying for us grandkids. “Pay enough to get the job done.”
Good advice from someone who lived during the Great Depression and raised three children to boot.
However, as I grew older, I found holes in the statement, while simple in it’s approach to spending money, is not a “one size fits all.”
Two sides to the same coin of pay
When it comes to getting the job done, there are two sides to every job or business transaction. There is the business and the customer or client or there is the business and their vendor.
Like a coin, there is heads and tails, front and back.
A job requires one will pay to get the job done and one receives the pay to do the job or task.
A story might best illustrate this issue regarding paying someone to do a job.
A man answered an ad that read “Hiring welders $18-$24 an hour.” When he arrived, he would be taking a welding test. He was to turn in a weld, but instead, he turned in two sets of welds. When the business owner asked him why he did not comply with his request to do one weld, the applicant replied, “One weld is at $18 an hour, the other is at $24 an hour. Which one will pay for?”
Good, fast, cheap, pick two
Project management has another saying when it comes to how much you pay to get the job done. “Fast, good, cheap, pick two, because you can’t have all three.”
- Good + cheap = Slow or takes time to deliver
- Good + fast = High cost or expensive
- Fast + cheap = Inferior or low quality
Too often when discussing price and value with others, Oscar Wilde comes to mind in this book, “Lady Windermere’s Fan.” He writes:
Cecil Graham: What is a cynic?
Lord Darlington: A man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
Cecil Graham: And a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything and doesn’t know the market price of any single thing.
Too often watching people, they ONLY see the price of what they are purchasing and comment, “What’s your bottom line?” They see only the price and not the value. If the job needs to be quick, maybe cheap is the way to go. However, higher quality might be the better choice if it is something requires to be used more frequently.
Talking with a military member one day who was visiting my Apple store, he described how their unit spent tens of thousands of dollars on a hardware and software computer combination (you know, “New and improved!”) to work on producing videos. He remarked that his few year old Mac, costing pennies on the dollar compared with what they spent, was able to accomplish the task in a matter of a day versus 2-3 days with the more expensive set up. Much like the welder’s weld, be careful what you get for what you pay for. Paying too little or too much, you can waste valuable resources.
Pay, price, and value
So when evaluating what you are considering purchasing, ensure that you consider all elements of what you’re looking at spending your money on.
By far the best advice to use when spending your money is from Warren Buffet.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. Warren Buffett