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Posted on: December 18th, 2020

The Value of a Partnership

While surfing social media this week, I came across a passage that really resonated. Often times, we find ourselves seeking out a trained professional to perform a service that we may not have the tools or training to complete ourselves. Sometimes, we find ourselves in “sticker shock” over a particular cost of service. What we often fail to consider are all the other variables and costs of doing business that go into entrepreneurship. If it were cheap and simple to patent ideas or skills, we would all be “Jacks of all Trades.” When buying from a manufacturer or distributor, it is important to remember that you’re not only paying for the final product, but all the experience, knowledge, time, tools, risks, materials, and so much more.  It is in our best interest to do the job right and keep you open. At the same time, it is in your best interest to keep us open, allowing us to continue stocking parts and remain available to you when you need us.  A Partnership at its finest!

The passage goes like this…

“A customer asked me how much it cost to do a job….
I answered him: $1,500
He said: Why so expensive for this job?
I asked: How much did you think it would cost you?
He answers me: $800 maximum… It’s a pretty simple job, right?
For $800 I invite you to do it yourself.
But…. I don’t know how to.
For $800 I’ll teach you how to. So besides saving you $700, you’ll get the knowledge for the next time.
It seemed fair to him and he agreed.
To get started you need tools: A welder, grinder, chop saw, drill press, welding hood, gloves etc…
But I don’t have all that equipment and I can’t buy it all for one job.
Well then for $300 more I’ll rent my stuff to you so you can do it yourself.
Okay, he says.
Great! Tuesday I’ll be waiting for you to start this work.
But I can’t on Tuesday, I only have time today.
I’m sorry, but I’m only available Tuesday to teach you and lend you my stuff. Other days I’m busy with customers.
Okay! That means I’m going to have to sacrifice my Tuesday, give up my tasks.
I forgot. To do the job yourself, you’ll also have to pay for the nonproductive factors.
What is that?!
Bureaucratic, tax, vat, security, insurance, fuel etc.
Oh no!… But to accomplish these tasks, I’m going to spend more money and waste a lot of time!
Would you like to get the supplies from me?
I’ll make you all the material you need. Truck loading is done Monday evening or Tuesday morning, so you’ll have to come by 6am to load the truck. Don’t forget to be on time to avoid traffic jams.
At 6am??? Nope! Too early for me! I’m used to getting up later…. You know, I’ve been thinking. You’d better get the job done. I’d rather pay you the $1,500. If I had to do it, it wouldn’t be perfect, and it would cost me a lot more.

When you pay for a job, especially handcrafted, you pay not only for the material used, but also:

  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Study
  • Tools
  • Services
  • Time
  • Punctuality
  • Accountability
  • Professionalism
  • Accuracy
  • Guaranteed
  • Patents
  • Sacrifices
  • Safety and security
  • Payment of tax obligations

No one can denigrate other people’s work by judging prices. Only by knowing all the elements necessary for the production of a certain work can you estimate the actual cost.” *

*This dialogue was borrowed from social media in support of craftsmen and entrepreneurs. A few minor grammatical revisions were made for English translation.