If anyone has ever said this to you, you'll love this video:
I first read about the concept of cheap, fast and good in a music magazine where the writer was relating it to record production. It really helped me in terms of budgeting time and money in my freelance work.
In case you haven’t heard about it, “cheap, fast and good” are qualities attributed to the cost of a service or product, the time it takes to create it, and its standard of quality. Like the story above, if a client comes to you looking to record an album (say 10 songs for $1,000.00) you’re excited about the work but certainly not about the pay! This client wants the service for cheap, but does he want it fast and good? He probably doesn’t want garbage, so I think we can safely assume he wants it cheap and good. But here’s what he may not know:
He can’t have it Cheap, Fast AND Good!
Many clients understand this, are sympathetic, and are reasonable in their expectations. But there are many who don’t. It can make or break a project and relationship fast.
Three Combos to Choose From
1) Cheap and Fast = it’s not going to be Good
I used to work at a chain restaurant where they tried unsuccessfully to be cheap, fast and good all at the same time. But when you’ve got poorly paid staff, cheap ingredients and hungry customers who wanted it five minutes ago, you’re going to have problems. During every shift I would have to apologize to upset diners and give discounts as a result. As sad as it is, we, the consumers, tend to drive this model in our insatiable desire for cheap and fast products. Is it any wonder why the quality sucks?
Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for”, or as my grandmother always says, “You buy cheap, you get cheap!”
2) Fast and Good = it’s not going to be Cheap
Remember in Star Wars: A New Hope when Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke, C3-PO and R2-D2 go to Mos Eisley to hire a ship and pilot to get them to Alderann? It’s a great example of a business transaction that is Fast and Good, but not Cheap. Here’s how the deal shakes down:
Han Solo: Han Solo. I'm captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you're looking for passage to the Alderaan system.
Obi-Wan: Yes, indeed. If it's a fast ship.
Han Solo: Fast ship? You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon?
Obi-Wan: Should I have?
Han Solo: It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs! . . . I've outrun Imperial starships, not the local bulk-cruisers, mind you. I'm talking about the big Corellian ships now. She's fast enough for you, old man. What's the cargo?
Obi-Wan: Only passengers. Myself, the boy, two droids, and no questions asked.
Han Solo: What is it? Some kind of local trouble?
Obi-Wan: Let's just say we'd like to avoid any Imperial entanglements.
Han Solo: Well, that's the trick, isn't it? And it's going to cost you something extra. Ten thousand in advance.
Luke: Ten thousand? We could almost buy our own ship for that!
Han Solo: But who's going to fly it, kid! You?
Obi-Wan: We haven't that much with us. But we could pay you two thousand now, plus fifteen when we reach Alderaan.
Han Solo: Seventeen, huh! . . . Okay. You guys got yourself a ship. We'll leave as soon as you're ready. Docking bay Ninety-four.
3) Cheap and Good = it’s not going to be Fast
This is most likely going to be a favor for a friend, or maybe a client you’re close to, or maybe a repeat customer you want to extend a discount to. You want to maintain quality and extend a discount or for free, but you’ll be able to fit it in here and there on your off time in-between gigs, or when you have some time to spare.
Next time an artist is looking to hire you, keep cheap, fast and good in mind. Be honest and upfront and help them find the right combination of the two that benefits both of you.
Your client will be happy, which is paramount in business, and you’ll be happy, too.