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Learning Good Value from My Local Garage

Tires by Duff SudsToday I was pondering why customers hire me to help solve their design challenges.

I believe it comes down to one simple thing: providing good value.

What's good value?
It's demonstrated by my local garage, Gordy's Service on 84th and Bluemound in Milwaukee.

Why? Because the guys there treat me well, tell me when fixes are truly critical and try hard keep my costs reasonable, as long as it doesn't jeopardize our family's safety or our car's well-being.

They open early and stay open late. They're up the street from Stone Creek Coffee, so I can do a little work while I wait for my cars to be serviced. Their guys are friendly and quick and they tell me the truth.

When it was time to buy new tires last year, I went to Gordy's. Turns out they weren't much more than the big retailer at the Mall. I know if I have questions, Gordy's guys are there to help. In fact, I think they were a better value, because I knew the same guy who installed them would be there if I had a question.

What happens when Gordy's gives me a good value? I tell other people about them, and faithfully get my work done there, even if I have to schedule an appointment because they're busy.

This is what I strive for daily in my own business dealings with clients. To be honest and clear, helpful and understanding. To help solve challenges for a reasonable price. To be fast, good and to tell the truth.

To provide a good value to my clients.

What's your definition of good value?

Photo by Michael Bowman (Duff Suds)

Reader Comments (6)

Weird... I just wrote about value and business today too: The value of business relationships
March 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPete Prodoehl
Honesty is a huge thing for me too. I also really enjoy being trusted to handle whatever I am purchasing or whatever service I need. But I will pretty much agree with everything you said
March 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterchad
Wild Pete � pretty synchronous! I think your thoughts mirror my own in fact. :-)
March 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
It's funny that you bring this up because I so very often tell my clients that hiring a web designer is so very similar to hiring a mechanic. You really don't know what they're doing or if the thing they're telling you needs to be fixed even exists!

Very important to hire a mechanic (and a web designer) that you trust!
April 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNatalieMac
When I first decided to do freelance work I had no idea what hourly rate to charge. One person I spoke to suggested I find out the hourly rate of the average plumber or mechanic. It turned out to be much more than I intended to charge, and also turned out to be very good advice.

My worst jobs have still been the ones where the sales reps just said yes to everything and the developers (me) were left to explain why it was either a bad idea or just plain impossible.

I don't particularly enjoy dealing with clients but I like to think I at least understand enough to tell them the truth!
April 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMark King
Natalie, good point! So often with services we have to trust our experts, which makes picking an expert very important. I've experienced good value with attorneys, real estate agents and others and in every case, when I chose the right person the rest was great.

Mark, finding rates is tough. I've had to figure that out myself. I have found that as my rates were increased, the clients interested in working with me seemed to improve. Now, you have to have fair rates for what you offer, but I think myself that when I pay for a service that's not cheapo, I expect good work, and when I get good work, I really see it as good value.

I think your second point strongly suggests we as the producers need to be involved in the sales process -- at least enough to not let things get out of control. I think value also comes when you as a service provider can not only do the work, but can also tell why you did something the way you did and why your work is a good value.
April 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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