What does Good, Fast or Cheap mean for your Service Prices?

As a business owner, you’ve probably heard the saying “You can be good, you can be fast, or you can be cheap. Pick two.”

Is it really that simple? 🤔

Recently someone wrote to me that they were struggling with this concept of good, fast or cheap as they aren’t fast. And they feel pressured to be so when that’s not them. Yes, I often get my show ideas from the questions people ask me. So keep asking! 😄

I believe it’s important to know what your strengths are and to market to those strengths. That’s how you attract people who value your approach to things. Failing to do so is frustrating – you end up not feeling good enough.

More importantly doing so allows you to work in your “wheelhouse” of expertise and focus on what you’re best at. BUT that requires you to let go of the things that aren’t strengths. In this case if you’re not fast, then don’t market that. Lean into the fact that you deliver great results even if it takes a bit more time. Or even redefine what fast is.

You have to let go first – otherwise it’ll feel like you’re always “swimming against the current” 🏊‍♀️ i.e. struggling.

In This Episode

So let’s explore the popular saying in the service and freelance industry: “You can be good, you can be fast, or you can be cheap. Pick two.” We dig deeper to unpack its meaning for pricing in your business. Here’s the deal: all three factors—good, fast, and cheap—are relative and depend on your target customers. Their perception of what’s valuable matters most and you can influence that.

We take a look at how perceptions affect the definition of good, cheap and fast. As well as how to manage if what you do doesn’t fit all those requirements. In my experience, it’s not about choosing between good, fast, and cheap. It’s not even about always delivering all at the same time.

It is about aligning your strengths with what your target customers value. Enjoy the episode!

Podcast Episode Highlights

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 2:00 An Old Adage
  • 6:36 Be Honest With Yourself
  • 9:11 Best Way to Help a Potential Client
  • 11:00 Price Acceptance
  • 11:42 Wrapping it Up

Favorite Quotes

“No matter what price you have, there will always be people who think it’s too expensive. And there will always be people who think it’s too cheap.” Janene

“It’s important to be honest with yourself, only then you can also be honest with clients.” Janene

“If what you do well is not aligned with what your target group are looking for, then reassess how you work and/or who you’re targeting in order to make sure that those things are aligned… if that’s not aligned, then price acceptance is going to be a big challenge.” Janene

Episode Links

The Fair Price Formula: https://maven.com/the-pricing-lady/fairpriceformula

On-demand Web Class: “Getting to a Fair Price”

Rate, Review and Follow the Show on Apple Podcasts

“I’ve just found my Pricing Resource!” … “A binge worthy podcast.” … “I learned so much about how to improve my profitability.”

If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing the pricing podcast. It helps me spread the word to more people and ultimately get more small businesses on the path to sustainable profitability and business success. Click right here, tap to rate with five stars, then select “Write a Review.” Last let me know what you loved most about the episode!

If you don’t already, follow my pricing podcast. New episodes come out every couple of weeks, plus bonus episode. If you’re not following there’s a good chance you’ll miss something. And last, listen to more episodes there are more than 130 episodes to choose from from setting prices to executing them to changing them you’ll find answers to many of your pricing questions.

Reach Out, Connect and Book a Call with Janene

Linkedin | YouTube | Facebook | Email List

Get started improving your business. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to begin. I suggest you Download the the self assessment Pricing Scorecard. Get a view of what’s working and what’s not working when it comes to pricing in your business. Figure out where to start making improvements.

Get in touch with Janene, your Business Strategist & Pricing Expert. If you’ve got a business question that needs answering, a pricing challenge you’re facing or you have suggestions for future topics or guests, let me know. Your questions and insights often become episodes. Share yours with me and let’s see where it goes. Contact Janene.

Listen up! Don’t miss out. There’s a lot going on and you’ll want to be in the know. Follow my YouTube channel (rate it too please) so you don’t miss an episode of Live with The Pricing Lady or join my Email List.

Transform your business and life. My mission is to help you build a sustainably profitable business. One where you can confidently charge for the value you deliver. Curious about my coaching and consulting offers, check them out. Let’s see how we can work together. Book a complimentary Call.

Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to Live with the Pricing Lady. I am Janene, your hostess. This show is all about helping you build a more sustainably profitable business because you understand the tactics and strategies of pricing and can implement them with confidence. Before we get into today show, I’d like to share with you about my new program called the Fair Price Formula.

This is a cohort-based group. The next cohort starts May 23rd, and it’d be my pleasure to have you join us. In this program, I’m going to take you step by step through setting prices. You’re going to learn my price setting thought process and how to apply it in your business so that you can set prices that you feel more certain and confident about.

If you’d like to know more about the course, head on into the show notes. Click on the link for the Fair Price formula and be sure to check it out and register.

An Old Adage

In today’s episode, we are going to be talking about an old adage in the service and freelance vision, business or industry that goes something like this.

“You can be good, you can be fast, or you can be cheap. Pick two.” Now we’ve all heard this and I thought it would be interesting based on a question I got from a client recently. If we dig into this a little bit more deeply and pick it apart and talk about what it means for pricing in your business. Let’s get started.

I think the first thing here that we need to be clear about is that all three of these things are relative. What’s cheap to one person might be expensive to someone else. And what is good, you know, what determines good is value. What is good is also gonna be dependent very much on who the people are that are looking at, right? Your target customer. Of course, speed is also relative. Some people may think it takes a really long time to do something and a really long time for them is, you know, two weeks. But for someone else, that might actually be fast. And so it always is gonna come back and depend on who you are targeting in your business.

Good is Never an Option

Now, the second thing I’d like to point out is that good should never really be an option. We should always be striving to bring value to our customers. To say that you don’t want good as one of these three things when you deliver something to a client or that they wouldn’t want that is a bit silly. But what is important here is that what is good to your customer, as I said before, is going to really depend on who you are targeting.

Let’s say that your service can be delivered to university students versus corporate executives. And their definition of what good is would be or could be very different depending on what you are offering.

It always goes back to your customer. I think I’m gonna say that a lot in this episode, so bear with me. Good shouldn’t be an option, but there are varying degrees of good. So good here is really related to the value that they outcomes and the value that they get from those outcomes and that you can play with and you can alter by having packages at different price points that deliver different levels of value.

Creating Packages

Now the next thing I’d like to say is that one thing that you can do is you can create packages that maybe deliver different levels of good, fast, and cheap. And of course then they come with different price tags, and that way you can force them in a sense to choose which direction they really want to go.

Now, if you don’t ever wanna do cheap, then I wouldn’t make that an option for what your customers can do, and I would be very clear with those customers up front in some way. That. Okay. In order to do business with me, you’re gonna look, you’re gonna be spending at least this much.

Actually, years ago I saw a website. It was for a wedding photographer. I believe, if I can find the link to it, I will put it below. His wedding photographer and his pricing page said, yep, if you wanna work with me, you’re gonna spend at least two grand for me to do your wedding. If that’s okay, click here. If it’s not go to five or something. He said like this, which we thought was actually really clever way to say, Hey, this is what you can expect to invest in a minimum with me. Let’s not waste either of our time if this is not in your budget. It was a very eloquent way to do that, and I think that that’s something also that you can look at in your business.

Be Honest with Yourself

Now I said I was gonna mention this and I’m gonna come back to this again right now. This is all very dependent on who you are targeting. If you are struggling with a lot of people saying, “oh, that’s too expensive”. “That’s too expensive, I’m looking for something cheaper.” Possibly you are targeting the wrong customers.

You’re attracting people who are looking for something that you aren’t willing to deliver. Instead of adjusting your prices, you MIGHT need to adjust how you are marketing so you are attracting the right people to begin with.

Now I do have to give you one caveat. No matter what price you have, there will always be people who think it’s too expensive. And there will always be people who think it’s too cheap, right? So it doesn’t really matter where you position yourself. You will always have people who think one or the other. But what we wanna do is we want you to have enough people who are thinking this is good value for money.

This is exactly what I’m looking for, so that you can close enough deals to be profitable in your business. This also means that you have to be honest with yourself. If one of these things is not, and hopefully it’s not the good part, but if one of these elements is not your strong suit, let’s say speed for example, then lean into that.

The Whole Positioning

You don’t have to tell people it’s gonna take forever for them to get results. Emphasize the fact that you are thorough. That you do extra work and take extra steps in order to make sure that what you’re delivering is precisely what they need. Position yourself in that way. Don’t position yourself as the fastest solution.

A few years ago, I don’t think this company is here anymore, but a few years back, this was, maybe seven or eight years ago, there was a hairdresser here in the city where I live, and they called themselves, or the advertisement I saw on the building said, Easy hair, easy time, easy price.

Their whole positioning was, this is going to be easy for you, right? This is gonna be simple and uncomplicated. I thought that was a very well nice way to position themselves, right? They were very clear who they were targeting. It was also very clear that the price positioning was going to be on the lower side of the spectrum, but you were going to have an experience that was simple and easy for you.

No bells and whistles were probably also the implication there or what they were implying. Maybe a better way to put that. It’s important to be honest with yourself because then you can also be honest with clients. And you can say, you know, somebody says, well, actually I want this in two days and not two weeks. You can say, you know what? I can appreciate that. That’s not the type of work that I do, but maybe you know someone who does fast and cheap, right? And you can maybe make a recommendation.

Best Way to Help a Potential Client

I am a strong believer that sometimes the best way to help a potential client is to point them in another direction.

Because if they’re not a fit for the way that you deliver things or the way that you work with clients, then the best thing to do is to say no thank you, and steer them in another direction. Now I notice some people are afraid of that. I don’t believe that you should be. I believe that you should embrace that because they’re gonna feel served and someday they may crab across someone who’s like, I really need this service and I need it to be super accurate.

They’d be like, I remember so and so. I didn’t work with them because I wanted it super-fast, but they do great work and why don’t you check out what they do? It could become a referral later, which is then also a benefit for you on down the road. I would say that having you having to pick between these three things is a bit of a fallacy. I think that can you have all three? Sure. Probably you can, but it will be very much subjective. What good is, or subjective, what fast is, and so I think using this as a hard and fast rule is probably not going to suit you in your business.

Price Acceptance

What I would say is that you need to understand which of these elements are your strong suit and which of these elements are the ones that your customers want, your target customer wants, and make sure that those things are aligned.

Let’s say if you are good at fast and cheap, but they’re looking for good and fast, then you have an issue, right?

If what you do well is not aligned with what your target group are looking for, then reassess how you work and/or who you’re targeting in order to make sure that those things are aligned. If they’re not aligned, I mean these three things are just value, fast, cheap, and good are different thing, different aspects of value. And if that’s not aligned, then price acceptance is going to be a big challenge for you because people won’t sense that they’re getting good value for money. In whatever context they mean value.

Wrapping it Up

Those are my thoughts for today. Good, fast, and cheap. It doesn’t always have to be a choice between them, but most importantly, you need to make sure that you’re aligned with your target customer group and what they see as being valuable.

Before I sign off, let me remind you one more time to head on over to thepricinglady.com and check out the fair price formula there.

I wish you all the best. Have a great day, and until next time, enjoy pricing.

Join the conversation.

The 3rd Wednesday of the month we look at topics like…

APR Why do I struggle to tell people what I charge?
MAY 3 simple actions when pricing objections arise
JUN Should I offer tiers/packages for different segments?
AUG How to reign in unnecessary discounting.
SEP 3 myths of raising prices

DON’T FORGET to add the dates to your calendar. You’ll receive an email confirmation for the date you registered. There’s a link in there to “add dates* click on that to make the magic happen. Join one, a few or all. Note we usually meet the 3rd Wednesday of the month.

By registering to this event you will be added to my email list and receive updates about these events, as well as other great pricing content and resources. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Ever wondered...

Which customers .

If so this guide is precisely what you need.

The customers you choose to focus on, set the tone for your business. How you work, what you offer, how you offer it, what you charge and more.

This simple guide will help you think through which customer segments could be the most suitable for your business.

Ever wondered...

Should I Put My .

If so this guide is precisely what you need.

This is a strategic pricing decision. That’s great news. It means that by answering a few simple questions you can get to the answer.

12 questions with explanations and a simple checklist plus little critical thinking will help you decide the best course of action.