Price Doesn’t Always Equal Value

By now, I should be accustomed to the misconception by some that professional writers’ days are spent only writing whenever the muse hits—or that writing is easy, fun and not a REAL job at all. And now, with all the online content agencies, one can hire a writer for a little as $5 per hour. No wonder so many (who perhaps have never hired a professional writer?) are confused about how challenging really good writing can be.

It’s not only writers who contend with these assumptions. I have designer friends from whom I hear similar stories. They tell me anyone who can use Photoshop or InDesign is now calling themselves a graphic designer.

Don’t get me wrong. I love writing. And my designer friends love designing. We love it so much, in fact, that we actually devote a lot of time, money and continuing education to perfecting our crafts. We’re professionals.

That means we don’t have the luxury of only writing sticky landing page web copy or designing eye-catching direct mail pieces whenever the mood strikes. We’re paid to make the magic happen on demand.

That being said, I’m still intrigued by the number of business professionals who would entrust campaigns or projects to “the person who can do it for less.” Yes, budgets are tight and business is competitive. I get that. However, would you use the same criteria for other services you pay for? Would you hire just the cheapest oral surgeon for your root canal? Or would you hire the best oral surgeon you can afford?

I recently spent $6,000 on braces for myself, and I can tell you I hired my orthodontist on value. I decided what I wanted: as perfect teeth as I could have based on my jaw and teeth. Next, I decided what I wanted from the orthodontist: an experienced professional who could confidently deliver at a price I could afford. Lastly, I determined what success would look like: a measurable ROI.

I’m not implying that any writer who charges $5 per hour can’t be a good writer, but before you make a decision based on price alone, consider value. Determine what you are getting for your money and qualify what that is worth to you. Are you getting experience and skill? Does the professional you’re hiring have the knowledge base or resources available to do the work? What distinguishes them from others in their field?

I’m happy to report that I did my research and found the orthodontist who provided the best value. My braces are now off and the ROI is unmatched.

How about you? Are you a freelance writer or designer? Are you a professional who hires freelancers on a regular basis? Which trumps? Value or price?

Photo credit: Free Stock Photos

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2 Responses to Price Doesn’t Always Equal Value

  1. Rita Riehemann says:

    Good post and reminder that if we don’t want to skimp on results, we shouldn’t skimp on paying professionals what they’re worth. Effective writers ask a lot of questions. When necessary, they take the time to offer a little healthy push back on clients’ project assumptions in an effort to improve the end product. This type of value-added thinking is “priceless” and rarely included in a writing project that’s exclusively price-driven. Calculating ROI in professional writing services could be compared to buying shoes. Let’s say I buy sensational shoes even though they’re a little more expensive than the last pair I bought. I wear my new sensational shoes a couple times a week because they always inspire a compliment. Cost-per-wear and cost-per-compliment end up being less for the sensational shoes than that pair I bought because the price was good and they looked okay.

    • Rita, I love the shoes analogy! You share excellent insight and I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for your post and weighing in on this. Please forgive the lateness of replying to this. In moving the blog over to it’s new home I discovered I hadn’t replied. Gasp! 🙂

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