“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
This is one of my favorite quotes ever because it is so true. While many of us love getting a sweet deal or discount, we would probably agree that cheap services or products have many times left a very bad experience and taste in our mouth. You get what you pay for.
Cheap Services Suck
This is the second time that Brian Krogsgard of Post Status has written something that chapped my hide. The first post was a few years ago that discussed how 99 Designs invested $460,000 in Tweaky, a company that will “tweak” your website starting at $25. Apparently the strategy and investment failed because Tweaky is no more.
Today, Krogsgard sent out an email talking about how GoDaddy is now offering logos for $199.00, and even though GoDaddy has graciously donated money to Happy Joe, I won’t alter my opinion on the cheap services they are offering.
This new service opportunity might be a great idea for GoDaddy but it certainly sucks for designers and creatives they market to. In fact, I dislike how GoDaddy has started offering so many cheap services (web design, SEO, eCommerce websites, and WordPress) that I wonder why ANY creative professional or freelancer would even choose to work with them!
I understand that companies like 99 Designs, GoDaddy, Fiverr, and other similar businesses want to make money and capture a market share. I realize that not everyone can afford a real, professional service provider and that sometimes they just need low price, fast turnaround work even though it will ultimately do more damage than good. But the reality is that companies like this don’t realize (or don’t care) how they affect the industry for those who make their living from these talents or services.
Killing the Professionals
When “professional” service providers launch their cheap pricing strategies, it affects the businesses of real professionals. Potential clients or consumers are taught that these creative services -which take time, training, and money to perfect – are not to be valued or appreciated for the ROI they can bring. Low ball pricing and discount strategies commoditize these professional services and usually force freelancers or small agencies to compete on pricing in order to survive. These people will never achieve financial success in their businesses. Now one might argue that there will always be clients who understand true value and the premium services/product model and I agree. I would also add that savvy freelancers or creatives can thrive by focusing on premium services if they know how to do it, but most freelancers don’t know how to do this and already undervalue their talents.
The other problem is that as consumers continue to be indoctrinated that cheaper is better, the market will eventually change and the pool of clients who are willing to pay for great or premium work will begin to diminish. Adapt or die will be the ongoing motto of freelancers and creative professionals. I also believe that this mindset affects other industries and trades. Can you imagine the day where we seek out a heart specialist based on pricing?
You Get What You Pay For
There’s another dark side to companies offering these cheap services … the end result usually failing to deliver great results or a happy experience for the client. Let’s be honest. Who is going to care more about client ROI, the $200 provider or the $2000 professional? To be fair, there are high end freelancers who do just as crappy work for their clients as the cheap providers, but this isn’t standard in the industry.
I’ve seen firsthand how freelancers at Fiverr have ripped off other people’s artwork or logos or sold clipart as custom artwork. I’ve heard from plenty of people who have thrown away their money and time by using these discount platforms. I’ve had potential clients walk away from my own company due to my higher pricing and then come back to us after a horrible experience with these cheaper options. The truth is you almost always get what you pay for.
Turn Away from the Dark Side
I want to urge our community and our readers to not use these cheap providers no matter how sweet the discount might be. There are other options. You usually hurt yourself and the people who are making a living from their skills by going with low ballers. In the end, the bitterness of the poor quality and lack of true ROI will always remain.