I’m currently working 16 hour days (again) redesigning a website for an existing client. The website in question is a ten year old one that I work on regularly for this client. The client in question knows the value of having a good online presence and in fact around 80% of their business is now generated online through various websites and channels that I manage on their behalf.
The client and I have a mutually beneficial agreement, they pay me a retainer and I ensure that their online business and enquiries continue to bear more fruit each year. I also advise on other forms of marketing and the whole thing works well. They invest in online promotion and as a result their business grows year on year.
Whilst working on this website redesign and paining over every small detail to ensure that the site continues to rank highly on Google once it’s relaunched, I received a phone call from somebody asking me if I wanted to advertise on a board at a well known football stadium. I turned the proposal down simply because, I’m already booked up months in advance and I’m lucky that i’m able to regularly turn work away. I then got to thinking about my regular clients and also the number of new enquiries that I turn away each month.
The one common denominator amongst all my regular clients is that they aren’t bargain hunters. Let me clarify that a little. I’m not cheap, nor do I ever pretend to be. That might sound arrogant but let me put it into perspective. I’m not expensive either. I do exactly what it says on my tin. I get results. How do I do that? Simple, I put the effort in, I never stop learning, I go the extra mile, I give a shit, I treat my clients business as if it were my own, I also choose who I work with.
Why I Turn Work Away
I receive many phone calls, emails etc each month from potential clients who have found me online, if the first question out of their mouth is about price, I know straight away that we won’t be working together, why? Well in my experience, these people don’t really know why they want a website, they’ve been told by either their bank manager, daughter, mate down the golf club etc that their business needs one but they just don’t get why.
They go about finding a cheap website in much the same way as you or I may try to find some cheap packaging tape. Now, if I had fewer morals, I could set up a separate company and funnel these enquires through it. I could sub contract these web designs out to little Kalik in Dehli or Petrov in Moscow who would knock me a website up for circa £50 that I could then resell to bargain Billy for £200, sadly however I can’t bring myself to do it. Little Kalik and Petrov would be made up with the regular work and I’d be keeping bargain Billy and discount Dick happy too, my bank account would look healthier and I could waste even more money on daft cars but I simply couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.
Why? well a website should be functional, I take pride in whatever I put my name to, Websites shouldn’t be bought purely as a mandatory item such as a health & safety poster or a fire extinguisher. The business owner should have an understanding of the global marketplace, the importance of online business, the psyche of the modern consumer. If I receive a call from a business owner who asks anything else other than “How much for a 3 page website mate?” then I’ll listen, I’ll advise, I’ll give my time and attention to the project as if it were my own business. I won’t build a website for £200 not because it’s not enough money but simply because a 2 or 3 page website isn’t going to rank on Google, it isn’t going to inspire someone to make a purchase, it’s a complete waste of £200.
Why You Should Turn Bargain Hunters Away
I work with many diverse businesses and more and more I work within the nail & beauty industry. One of the images that do the rounds on the many internet groups that I deal with is one that says “Nice nails aren’t cheap and cheap nails aren’t nice”. The UK nail industry is very much education lead.
The most respected brands in the country each have their own education programme. These courses are often modular and can run in to hundreds and even thousands of pounds. The UK nail technician in general are a highly skilled bunch, most of who have spent a great deal of time and money honing their craft.
They are familiar with safety data sheets, health & safety, chemical reactions and the anatomy of the nail and hands. Sadly however there are other nail techs who have simply picked up their skills from Youtube, they’ve had little or no formal training, they are often not insured or even registered as a business and these kind of nail techs ( not all) generally turn out work that is below par and more often than not at a drastically reduced rate.
I often see debates online between frustrated nail technicians who charge anything between £20 and £40 for a Gel Polish manicure, but who are up against the untrained, unregistered tech offering the same product for as little as £10, barely covering the cost of product on each service and certainly not making enough profit to continue training or to ensure proper insurance and hygiene measures are in place.
My advice to the techs who are concerned about these cheap manicures is always to not worry about it, Social media lends itself well to the nail industry, pop a photo of some lovely nails on Facebook and within minutes it gets lots lot likes and comments. The nail techs that push themselves, who learn and hone their skills, who perfect every aspect of application and finish, who care about sterilisation and safety, will always be able to command a premium. They’ll attract loyal clients who value that they get a nice coffee, soft music and stimulating conversation on each salon visit. They’ll be happy that they get a full two weeks service from their gel polish and that the skill of the nail techs application attracts comments from friends and family. These clients will be happy to pay £20 – £40 (or dollars for you USA and Aussie readers)
The £10 manicurist however will usually attract a different clientele, one that simply wants the cheapest possible deal and yet one that will scream from the rooftops publicly (and usually with appalling grammar) on Facebook if one nail chips after a few days. Their clients won’t care about aftercare or protecting the natural nail. They’ll simply be interested in price as will any of the people who they recommend. The £10 manicurist will always be just that, A £10 manicurist, just as the £200 web designer will always be taking money for nothing.
Just a side note, Introductory offers for a limited time are fine and are part of any businesses toolkit especially when launching a new product. Just be clear of the terms and the time that the offer is available for. Used in this way a discounted price as a one off is a great way to get existing clients to trial a new product line. Keep it one person and keep it time limited, i.e this month only, and always quote the ‘usual’ price alongside.
So, the next time a client tells you that they’ve already had a price for £x then tell them that’s a bargain, Don’t be tempted to slash your price, instead, wish them well and let them know that they can call you if it doesn’t work out. NEVER undersell yourself and never be tempted to work for less, not for monetary reasons but because you want to be able to deliver the best service that you can, you want to be able to put your name to it because you know you’ve done it right and done it well. You’ll want your client to feel satisfied with your work and most of all, you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and sleep well at night.