Why You're Not Getting What You're Expecting

As some of you know creating handcrafted things is what I do in my ‘spare’ time. I find it not only relaxing, but it keeps my creativity fresh and flowing. Recently, on one of the crafting groups I belong to, someone posted a story with a moral about the pricing of handcrafted items. I won’t post it in it’s entirety here, but it went something like this.

A woman found a hand-crafted item she loved and wanted, however she felt the price was too high. She bluntly told the craftsperson this and proceeded to enumerate her cost estimates for the materials and tools that were required to make said item. She declared that the item should cost no more than the total of those materials and tools and challenged the crafter to sell the item at that price. The price was much, much lower than what the craftsperson was charging, but they agreed that they would sell the item to the woman at the price she was suggesting. The woman was very proud and told everyone how she managed to get a ‘fair’ price instead of the price normally charged.

When the woman’s item came in the mail, inside the pretty packaging she was shocked to find not the item she expected, but all of the raw materials and tools she had estimated the costs for. Angry, she called the craftsperson and complained. At which point the crafter calmly explains that everything the woman had paid for was in that box and if she felt something was missing then she would need to pay for it.

Now the moral of this particular story was to point out that when you purchase a hand-crafted item, you’re getting more than just the materials, but also the time and expertise of the craftsperson. I believe this story covers more than just craftspeople, but anyone who provides services to others.

Some people could argue that the websites that I build are ‘easy’ because they are built with WordPress and the Headway theme framework. Others may raise an eyebrow at my online technology services when they view my rates thinking that it can’t be that hard to create PowerPoint presentations, assist with business blogs, or help create information products. After all, many of the tools I use are available to everyone aren’t they?

“How hard could it be?”

It’s not until these people try to do it themselves or find someone who costs less but doesn’t really know what they are doing that they see the true value in my services. I’ve had many come to me in frustration after purchasing the Headway theme because it had ‘too many choices’ or they messed up their website doing (or not doing) updates. I’ve also had others contact me after spending countless hours trying fix the formatting of a document, get the links to work in a table of contents, or create a slideshow presentation from an outline that wouldn’t put the audience to sleep. Maybe they thought managing that multi-author blog was going to be a piece of cake until they realized that some people need reminders, repeated instructions and often editing help as well.

The real moral of the above story is that expertise in any field is where the real value lies and sadly many businesses fail miserably at recognizing that fact. Even smart business people can be guilty of looking for the low-ball offer rather than the best value. I’ve written about low-cost help before and the high price it can end up costing you. I know, I know, here I am talking about VALUE again. Maybe it’s because it may be the one thing that ends up saving you in the long run. I’m not just talking money.

Do me a favor. The next time you’re looking for something that you can’t or don’t want to do yourself, worry less about the cost and more about the end result. After all, I’m sure the woman in the above story could learn to do what the craftsperson did, the real question is would it be the same as the item she fell in love with?

Agree or disagree? Let’s talk about it.  Leave a comment below.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.