Sunday, June 20, 2010

Price Versus Value

What an amazing deal! It's 70% off!

Perhaps you have heard this sentiment. Perhaps you heard it from your own mouth. Sometimes, it is indeed the case, such as when Big Y has their very impressive Buy 1 Get 2 Free sales. However, sometimes something is not a deal just because it costs less than one might suggest it should.

I got started on this line of thinking when I met with Scott Alexander, a salesman for Teddy Bear Pools and Spas. We were discussing the difference between Teddy Bear and the discount pool places. There are discount pool places which will appear to cost thousands of dollars less than a local, established store. One might think that they will save a lot of money in this way, but this is where you discover the difference between price and value.

At the discount place, every summer, they contract with whichever east Asian manufacturer will offer them the cheapest price. For installation, they will hand you a list of private installers with whom they have no established relationship about whom they know very little. Once the pool is finally installed, God help you if anything breaks. The discounter does not have a parts department. They have an 800 number you can call. If you are lucky, the company that made your pool will still be in business when you try to replace the part. Either way, you are probably on your own the find the part.

If you go to a local place like Teddy Bear, it will certainly cost more up front, but, to start with, you will be buying from an experienced professional who knows about pools rather than some kid making minimum wage who doesn't know swimming pools from betting pools. Once the professional salesman has worked with you to get you the right equipment for your needs, the equipment will be installed by in house professionals, not contractors. If the pool has a problem, you can contact the repair department at the store who will draw parts from their own inventory, which includes parts going back all the way to the first pool model they sold.

The same is true in all kinds of other industries. There are places where you can get cut rate prices on cut rate products. Some of the products are just as good as the more expensive ones, but some of them are not, or perhaps the service or other intangibles are very different. Before you buy solely on price, consider what the true cost of your "discount" merchandise is.

Personally, I would generally rather work with a professional salesman than an untrained clerk or a web site. A professional can offer solutions that I might not have previously been aware of. Sure, these solutions may result in additional purchases, but if it is something of value to me, I am happier for the purchase.

Looking for something and want to be introduced to a trustworthy professional? Let me know. Those kinds of connections are what I do all day.

Thank you for reading. Now go out and learn from a quality professional face to face.

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