Melissa and I recently made a big purchase. A roof. It was not something I’ve shopped for willingly. The failure of the old roof after storms made it a necessity. It is a big purchase, bigger than anything we’ve ever bought, other than a house. Shopping for a roofing company was a reminder of how one shops, especially for big ticket items. I’ve read reports that say 60% to 70% of a given market cares primarily about price; 30% to 40% care about value. I think Melissa and I are in the latter group. There has to be a balance in getting a good job/thing, than just getting the cheapest thing one can get. I mean, McDonald’s has a value menu cheeseburger. Ruth’s Chris steakhouse has hamburgers too. Price and quality are certainly different in the two restaurants – even for the same “thing,” a hamburger. (There is also our local favorite burger place, Jack’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, which fits somewhere in between.) I think about pricing every time I provide a proposal to a prospective client. I know our services don’t come cheap; our research and consulting sometimes cost more than our new roof! I also know there are companies who work for less than Magnus and companies that charge more. We’ve always been in the middle in trying to provide excellent work for a good value. A client once told me, be known for who you are and for giving accurate advice. Giving good value and good customer service is our goal and it doesn’t come cheap. Neither did the roof and we didn’t go with the lowest, or highest, bidder. We went in the middle with a company that seemed interested in our business and has done a good job overall thus far (we’re not done; the work is still in process). How do you make buying decisions?
When it became necessary to shop for a roofing contractor, I went about it in the same way I search for just about anything. I researched local roofing companies, asked people for referrals, and checked ratings from various sources. I eventually obtained 4 bids and 1 refusal to bid (due to the complexity and danger associated with the design of the roof). (There was another roofing company that, believe it or not, required David to participate in the bid process. Apparently, in their opinion, the “little lady” can’t obtain a bid without her husband’s approval! It was a pleasure to inform them why I was withdrawing my request for a bid!) The first 2 bids I obtained were, in my opinion, astronomically expensive. The second bid was way too low, all things considered, and was provided by a company that seemed a bit “fly by night” for my liking. The final bid was from a long time, well respected local roofing company that has a 5 star rating on all of the services that provide ratings. The salesperson with whom I communicated for many weeks while making a decision is professional, respectful, and best of all, he used to be a professional bass guitarist! Making a connection with him helped seal the deal. And, it proves the point that, whatever one is selling, hamburgers, roofs, or trial consulting services, having the right combination of pricing, value, and a personal touch is likely to result in being hired.