There is a trend I have been noticing in doing business on the Internet lately and like any place of commerce you eventually see this. What I am referring to is the commodification of services. In other words, if you are looking for a programmer or designer to help you with an Internet based communication project; be it a website, email newsletter, SEO, etc., you know that one can find a variety of people that vary in skill set and professionalism with what services they provide. More people providing the same skill sets compete with others on price, thus making it a commodity.

Typically you want to work with a specialist, someone who does specifically what you need rather than a generalist, who dabbles in a little of everything. Specialists are who they are because they do a few things extremely well rather than many things mediocre. They are the experts with the right skills. Problem is what specialist to choose? How do you know quality and value? There are specialists who will provide you with a very cheap price for a project, and there are those that are more expensive that provide a great deal of value. This is the key to choosing wisely.

Who to choose?

The inexpensive specialist vs. the more expensive specialist. For some people the decision comes down to price. They want something as cheap as they can get it. The problem in this approach is in the quality of work you get usually correlates to what you pay for it. Both in quality of work, but in terms of service and timliness. This is related to two things:

  1. Professionalism
  2. Experience

I have a fair amount of experience so I know many tips/tricks of the trade that I throw into every project gratis. When someone hires me they are getting a very expereinced designer/developer that knows what they are doing, is courteous and fast in reply to questions, and delivers the final product commented and clean for future reference and use.

I cannot compete with someone who is coming in 25% of one of my estimates for the same project. If he is charging you $5-$10 an hour to get the job done I cannot compete with that, nor do I want to. That is not the business I am in. I don't compete on price, I compete on value.

Value, where it's at.

If you perceive greater value in a product or serivce and it matters to you, you are willing to pay more, its that simple.

Think of buying a car. You want luxury or economy. You want a Yugo or a Mercedes. It just depends on what matters to you and where your priorities are.

If having a well designed, smoothly functioning website is key to your success then spending more on the value of achieving success with your website is worth the investment.

As the saying goes you get what you pay for.

What has been your experience  with working with specialists who are inexpensive? Good? Bad? Tell me your experience below.

Also, stay tuned. More "Re-Alignment" posts coming (one tomorrow).