Cheap Is Often Very Expensive

Cheap Is Often Very Expensive | Value Is A Perception | Rough Diamond Academy
Photo by kerry rawlinson on Unsplash

Cheap vs Value

If you are working with a sub contract web developer, how do you know you are getting value? Value can be a difficult thing to define, but value and cheap are quite often very different things, and cheap is often very expensive in the long term. Have a look at the image below. The Cheap/Fast/Good triangle. For me it's the simplest way to explain the cheap versus value equation. When faced with someone looking for a bargain, it's easier to point at the triangle and say, of the three options here, you can only pick two!



  • Cheap and Fast ≠ Good
  • Cheap and Good ≠ Fast
  • Good and Fast ≠Cheap

So, it's possible to get cheap and good, you just won't get it quickly! The question for you is always going to be what matters the most. The issues, or disappointments, come with the expectation that you can have it all!

Hourly Rates

Value and hourly rates is another area that is difficult to define. I gave up using hourly rate years ago. I don't do piece meal work, and I only do project work occasionally. By and large I work with my clients on an ongoing basis. The issue for me is that an hourly rate doesn't really account for value. What ZI can achieve in an hour doesn't necessarily equate to the what other people can achieve in an hour. So, if you are always looking for the cheapest hourly rate you may actually end up paying more in the long run. I've seen jobs I can do in a few hours take days, or longer, by others. They may have a cheaper rate, but they charge more!

If you are going to use contractors on an hourly rate basis it pays to get a considered estimate of the time it is likely to take to complete the work. At least you will get a rough ideas in advance of what you are likely to pay.

And hourly rates definitely don't tell you anything about quality. What someone charges for an hours work doesn't really tell you how good they'll be. It that triangle again. Good, cheap and fast.

And this is the dilemma. Going for cheap can end up costing you a lot more in the long run if the quality is poor or the job never gets finished. Look for developers with a portfolio of quality work and happy customers to refer to. Ask them for the expected delivery time and expected cost, and keep your expectation realistic.


David Fuller

CEO - Rough Diamond Academy

For over 21 years David has been building websites for clients. In 2013 he pivoted from running a web design agency to working hands on with clients to help them build their businesses by reaching their ideal clients. Going beyond the website. The experience of working at the coal face is the foundation of The Rough Diamond Academy. Real life experience for real life businesses. It starts with building a site, but that's only the beginning!

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