My Thoughts on Perceived Values, Tools and Expertise

Paying for an Expert – A Recent Social Conversation

I have seen a few posts lately, and over the years, talking about how expensive it is to hire an expert. Setting a value on expertise is a nebulous thing. You may understand fully how many years you have spent learning a skillset, how much your tools cost you, and why you can accomplish a task in a fraction of the time it would take someone else to do it. But communicating that value to others and helping them understand it, that is not easy. Another recent topic covered how broad the range of what someone should charge can be. The answer of “it depends” is completely valid, and also hard to explain sometimes.

You don’t know what you don’t know…
I’d love to chat about your website goals, marketing goals, and why you should consider making some updates to your own website. When is the last time your site was updated?

  • Security is important, how is yours?
  • Do you have all the tools you need to help people hire/buy/contact you?
  • Backups are important, how are yours?
  • Do you have an email list opt in and how effective is it?
  • When is the last time you added new content to your site?

An Example of True Costs

This hit my social feed again recently and it is a topic and example that I’ve seen a few times. Here is how a conversation might play out:
A customer asked a contractor friend how much it would cost to do a project.
The friend gave him a proposal: $4500
The customer responded: That’s seems really high.
The contractor asked: What do you think is a reasonable price for this job?
The customer answered: $2500 maximum
Contractor responded: Ok, then I invite you to do it yourself.
The customer answered: I don’t know how to.
The contractor responded: Alright, then how about for $2500 I’ll teach you how to. So besides saving you $2000, you’ll learn valuable skills that will benefit you in the future.
The customer answered: Sounds good! Let’s do it!

So, let’s look at an example of building an addition to your backyard.

business woman juggling ideas versus time to demonstrate perceived value

The Reality of Value

Our friendly deck builder: Great, training it is! To get started, you are going to need some tools. You will need a chop saw, table saw, cordless drill, bit set, router, skill saw, jig saw, tool belt, hammer, etc..
The customer answered: But I don’t have any of those tools and I can’t justify buying all of these for one job.
Contractor responded: Ok. Well then for an additional $300 I can rent my tools to you to use for this project.
The customer answered: Okay. That’s fair.
The contractor responded: Great! We will start the project on Monday.
The customer answered: I work Monday through Friday. I’m only available on the weekends.
Our expert responded: If you want to learn from me then you will need to work when I work. This project will take 3 days so you will need to take 3 days off work.
The customer answered: That means I’m going to have to sacrifice my pay for 3 days or use my vacation time!
Our expert responded: That’s true. Remember, when you do a job yourself you need to account for unproductive factors, loss of time on other projects, and the learning curve.
The customer answered: What do you mean by that?
Our expert responded: Doing a job completely from start to finish includes time spent to plan the project, pick up materials, travel time, gas, set up time, clean up, and waste disposal amongst other things. That’s all in addition to the actual project itself. And speaking of materials, that’s where we will start on Monday so I need you to meet me at the lumberyard at 6:00am.
The customer answered: At 6am?!! My work day doesn’t usually start until 8am!
Our expert responded: Well then you’re in luck! My plan is to start on the deck build by 8am. But to do so we have to start at 6am to get materials picked up, loaded and delivered to your job site.
The customer answered: You know, I’m realizing that a lot more goes in to a job than what a customer sees in the finished project. Your proposal of $4500 is very reasonable. I would like you to handle the project.
When you pay for a job, especially a custom job, (whether it’s a physical project or digital project) you pay not only for the material and the work to be completed. You also pay for:

  • Knowledge (I know the jargon and the options)
  • Experience (I’ve done this for many years)
  • Custom Skills (My background covers more than just your project)
  • Tools (computers, software, licenses, stock photos, stock videos, partners…)
  • Time to plan
  • Time to prepare
  • Professionalism
  • Work Ethic
  • Excellence
  • Discipline
  • Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Taxes
  • Licenses
  • Sacrifices
  • Liabilities
  • Insurance
  • Your Freedom to Do Your Thing

If you request a proposal for custom work to be done, please be absolutely realistic about what is involved and whether you actually WANT to do the job yourself. A high priced service may have more cost and value than you initially realized and you will lose out on the better experts by trying to get them to lower their prices. If their proposal exceeds your budget, there’s nothing wrong with getting other proposals, or even creating a new budget that includes all of the costs. What would it cost you to do the work and what tools and expertise would you need? How much training is involved in making the job go quickly and smoothly? How much can you offload and not have to stress over? What is the cost of your unproductive time?
Just remember… you get what you pay for. I love what I do and that passion for websites carries over into my work.

“I am the founder and primary designer of PCS Creative Services, LLC. With 25+ years of experience in small business operations and communications, and 13+ years of experience in web design, I’ve seen and solved many of the problems faced by business owners. My passion is helping small business owners in Utah build effective, purpose-driven online content. Contact me today.”

Paula Sageser

Wearer of Many Hats, Your Guide to the Wild World of the Web

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