Best Bang for the Buck


I saw a question on LinkedIn the other day that asked people to recommend the best bang for the buck for a certain service.

It's a similar question to what are your rates?

The details that usually don't get shared with that question, and should, are around the following areas:

1. Scope of work

For example, we're trying to achieve xyz within a specific time frame and any other variables you already have in place or in mind.

In some cases, you have no idea how to approach scope, you can get help in defining it. Price very much depends on this variable. You could be tweaking time line to accommodate goals, or pare down your goals with an aggressive time line and so on.

2. Budget

This is self evident, I think, and probably the most helpful piece of information you can provide, yet so many waste time with a bottom up approach – declaring your ceiling or range is a more productive use of your time.

The truth is you do get what you pay for, and being willing to declare a range for a project may be the fastest way to start it, with the added benefit that honesty may buy more in respect if you're willing to talk long term.

If you're a consultant and have temporary excess inventory of time, you could do what the upscale retail store below does and bid out some of that time at a discount based upon a business making a decision on hiring you fast. This could also work when wantinf to help a non profit, if they can make a decision that quickly.

3. Fit

This seems quite soft when you see this as just how you work with a provider, your ability to communicate back and forth about the project.

It will make a big difference when you start thinking about the relationships they have that can help you. Businesses have ecosystems built around them, and it is good business to do your due diligence on those.

Also, it may go without saying, I'd rather put it here. When you compare providers, make sure you're comparing apples to apples.


They are all why questions. And qualifying your request may also end up saving you in unnecessary steps, or add ons.

The issue with best bang for the buck, when left unqualified, is that it ends up costing you more, taking twice as long, and being a bear to deal with while it's happening.

Specific is the new helpful

It's easier to believe that service providers are virtually interchangeable and to trade that way. A good outcome of the last couple of years is that professionals and businesses are starting to choose what they want to master, especially in the service business.

Get really good at delivering on your promise, and trade better and better promises, including the relationships you build with partners and clients. Being a meaningful specific is also a fast way to build influence.

I don't know about you, I find it very rewarding when I can recommend the work of a colleague who is a perfect fit for a business. It comes back to me several times over. It's how I roll.

How do you roll?


One application of best bang for the buck in retail

Clemens en August‘s only offline sales are through temporary outlets, twice a year. Avoiding the pop-up moniker, the brand describes itself as being ‘on tour’.

Each season Clemens en August travels to an assortment of fashion-minded cities to sell its current collections in contemporary art galleries for only three days at a time.

By cutting out the retail margin, the strategy lets the brand offer its clothes at substantially lower prices than they otherwise could. Through planned scarcity, meanwhile, the strategy creates a new sense of exclusivity based on limited availability, not price.

[as seen in Springwise]


[image source Automania]

0 responses to “Best Bang for the Buck”

  1. This post — the section about “fit” in particular — mirrors my findings in my business, and I likewise find myself better defining my offer/promise (and working to build up my network). Although I have had limited success making recommendations, I think a better definition for myself will make it easier to find the right people to recommend… an especially important ability when you serve a distinct niche!

  2. in fact, asking specifically about “bang for the buck” is very different from an inquiry on rates:
    1) it is asking customers, not service providers
    2) it goes beyond a simple search for low cost producer to an evaluation of the service received – that is, a comparison on value, of which price is but one component
    if you are a service provider who truly offers value, this is exactly the question you want prospective clients to ask. it rewards providers who can turn clients into evangelists.

  3. Todd, not to split hair; you did a good job here yourself. There was literally *no* detail attached to the question. Which is what made me think of the generic inquiry on rates.
    My point, of course, was about qualifying the ask. Clearly, someone who has no knowledge of a specific industry or technology, or already has a very full plate right when you need someone, just as an example, is not good value.
    Nice chatting. Thank you.

  4. you stated the question referred to a certain service. that is a literal detail. if I ask an “experienced” service user (for example, a business that has used multiple marketing consultants) for a recommendation, that user is unlikely to give me the name of someone who has no knowledge of a specific industry. I grant you that the second instance, where the recommended provider might be too swamped to offer the same level of service, is more likely.
    what’s with the hair? your thesis was that “bang for the buck” was no better that “what’s your rate?” I disagree. one relates to outcomes (ie value) the other price alone.

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