Yes, we all want to get the best deal out there and receive as much as we can while spending as little as we can. This is human nature. But remember, it is a delicate balancing act.
When I first started out in business as a house painting contractor here in the Chicago area back in 1984, one of my best customers told me that there are three things that I could offer my customers. He taught me that there were three core aspects of any bid. The three aspects were, good quality, good service and a good price. But, then he told me I could only give my customers two of those three things. He actually told me to ask my customers to choose which two they preferred.
The laws of economics prohibit anyone from paying a little and getting a lot. None of us can expect to finagle our way into having all three things (good quality, good service, good price). It cannot be done. No painting contractor in the world wants to, nor should they be willing to work for free….or even for peanuts.
In addition, if that painting contractor pays his painters very little, the same law applies to him. His painters that are earning only $14 per hour, know only what a $14 per hour painter should know and produce only what a $14 dollar per hour can produce.This is because the better, knowledgeable, highly productive, professional painters rightfully insist on getting paid more. Many painters in the United States earn over $20, $30 even $50 per hour. That is a fact. So think twice before you hire that guy who promised you what a great job he would do at half of the price of all of the other painting contractors.
This economic scenario does not just apply to painters either, but to any profession anywhere. It applies to you too. You place a value on the services that you provide and you would not give them away at a loss. Why would you? Well, every other professional out there feels the same way that you do.
There are plenty of highly qualified, quality and service conscious contractors in the Chicago area who offer work at a “reasonable” price, if not the lowest. Many of them have learned by coming up through the ranks and learning the business by trial and error. They decided to learn how to do business correctly and become legitimate. Many of them have engineering level training in paint and coatings applications and are members of such credible organizations as the SSPC Society of Protective Coatings, PDCA Painting & Decorating Contractors of America and NACE National Association of Corrosion Engineers, just to name a few. Many have undergone training through the NCCER National Center for Construction Education & Research, specifically for painters. They cannot be the low priced contractors. They cannot because they know too much about what goes into a quality job. They also know what can go wrong on a job. These are things that many of the low priced, inexperienced, idealistic newer contractors just do not know. Hence, the experienced, credible contractor will almost always cost more money than the newer, or inexperienced contractor. Sometimes the low priced guy does not know what he is getting himself or his customer into.
You must make some choices. You MUST decide which two (2) core aspects are most important to you. Then stick with those two core aspects as your goal that you want to achieve for this particular paint or coatings project and then go find the painting contractor who can do those two things for you. Do you want a painting quote with a good price from a painting contractor who will give you good service? That is fine, just make sure that you do not beat the contractor up when the quality is not what you expected. Do you want a good price and good quality? That is fine too. Just make sure you are not calling your contractor on the phone three times per day, pressuring him about deadlines not being met or the rudeness of his painters, or, or if his crew did not show up, or if he just does not have time to answer your every phone call. After all, he probably did not figure that into his bid or charge you for that. Do you prefer good quality and good service? Great. Just be prepared to pay a little more for that.
You see, most credible, legitimate painting contractors can give you whatever combination of two core aspects that you want. It is not fair to you or to the painting contractor, for you or the painting contractor to pretend, or expect that he is able to provide all three of the above core aspects that go into any painting project. If you do not let the painting contractor know what you are looking for, here is what can happen.
If he is a run of the mill painting contractor without a ton of experience, he may just assume that you are like many others he has crossed paths with. He might mistakenly think that you care “only” about a low price. He might give you your low price, but you will end up paying for that with either a lack of good quality or good service. A big problem is brewing if you think that you will be receiving all three core aspects. You will only receive two. Now, if you know you are giving up either good service or good quality for that low price, all is well because your expectations will not be dashed.
As a matter of fact. I always laugh when I hear or see a painting company advertising that they can offer you top quality, top notch service and then guarantee to beat anybody’s bid. If you ever see that type of advertising from a painting contractor, that’s an indicator that he is probably hiding something.
A good painting contractor can provide you with whatever combination of the above core aspects you wish. As long as you pick just two of them. The painter who is bidding the work for you will even appreciate it when you let him know what you are looking for. If you tell him that you want a low price, then he can build the rest of the painting bid around that. If you do not point that out, then most wise, professional, knowledgeable painting estimators are going to; by default give you a painting quote that reflects good quality and good service at a higher, but reasonable or fair price.
This is not necessarily what some customers might consider a good price. But, an educated commercial property or facilities manager like you, will now surely recognize that a higher, but reasonable or fair price, sometimes “is” a good price. It certainly does not automatically mean that the contractor quoted you a bad price just because his price was higher than the other painting quotes you received.
I know, I know, you’ve heard this before a million times. You get what you pay for. This worn out cliche keeps getting repeated because it’s true, and needs to be repeated until we “get it”.
By the way, I think there is a theory out there that talks about how one cannot achieve something in one area without paying for it in another area. But, that’s for another article.
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