Value, it is all Relative
The other day I had a customer come in needing a simple part, a poppet assembly for a small assembly. When I told him the price he was shocked and couldn’t believe it. Yesterday I had another customer call for a ball valve for a backflow assembly. When I gave him the prices he too was shocked and believed that they shouldn’t cost that much. That made me think about the value of goods and services.
The point of this blog entry is to point out that value appears to be relative. Purchasing an item that is greatly desired regardless of the cost assigns a higher value to that item than to an item not desired. People are willing to sacrifice their resources for what they want or know they need. This is different for all of us.
This applies not only to backflows but to many goods and services we provide and receive. It applies to the value we see in ourselves, our talents and skills and abilities. While others may not see the value of the goods and services we provide it does not change the fact that they are real.
For someone that does not want to spend money on a repair of a backflow assembly or a backflow test the perceived value is low or nonexistent. Money can only go so far and we want to spend it on things and people that mean more to us then backflow repairs. While I am not an expert on determining value I do have some thoughts on it pertaining to backflow prevention.
Thoughts on Value in the Backflow Industry
First, manufacturers fill a need. As a result they invest a lot of time, money, energy and provide employment to many people to fill this need and produce the assemblies. Inventory, marketing, and other business expenses must be factored in. A value must be assigned to these which is reflected in the pricing of their products.
Second, there are retailers that provide a storefront. They invest in inventory, employees, facilities, learning about and understanding the product to assist the contractor or end user of the backflow preventer (or other product). This is a benefit to those in the area that need this product. Many times it is critical that a backflow is able to be repaired in short order. It is also a great resource for someone needing to converse in person about questions and issues they have with their backflow preventor.
Third, I will touch on the value of online stores vs. storefronts. While I am not opposed to online stores in general I do have issues with places that sell just to sell a product, for profit and they are of no help or assistance but admittedly they do have a value.
But every year individuals come to my store to seek my help. They have bought a kit online or they will come in and say, “I bought your kit from such and such supply and I still can’t this darned thing to work.” They believe the kits are mine because they are backflow repair kits and I specialize in backflow assemblies. Not all places that sell backflow products know much about them. My knowledge and expertise, my storefront is a value and therefore should be reflected in pricing of products or be assessed as a fee.
This is the first year I realized the worth of my experience and knowledge in backflow preventers. Even with youtube “experts” many still can’t fix their assemblies without me and without the assistance of people like you that provide that service to their customers. We must see we have tremendous worth. We need to have confidence in our honest pricing of labor, parts and service despite the customer seeing it or not.
Know Your Value
Lastly, many customers do not understand that despite the cost of parts and labor to repair backflow assemblies it is often less expensive, more convenient and more practical to repair than to replace the assembly. It can also extend the life of a product instead of in many cases ending up in the landfill. Without recognizing it the value of the part or service is unknowingly and often grudgingly received.
I encourage all of us in this industry to recognize the value that we have to our customers. You have a skill and ability that fills a need. Be confident in your value!
Value in Other Areas of Life
On another note I couldn’t help but relate the topic of value to life. I would encourage all of us to reflect on the value we have to others, to our families, to our neighborhoods and extended communities. Reflect on the value or lack of value that our activities have in our lives and to those we care most about.
Providing service to others provides value to both the giver and the receiver. Simple kindness, generosity, being courteous, respectfulness, and smiling are examples of things we can do everyday to give meaning to others and ourselves. It builds and strengthens relationships, families and communities.
I couldn’t help but wonder what value I have to God and wonder how do I show His value to me. While religion is a very important part of my life I typically do not share it in a business environment or in an article about backflows. But this simple experience of a person questioning the value of a backflow part lead me to examine all aspects of my life that have value and my relationship with God is top among those. It has caused me to realize that I can do more, be better in so many ways to show God the value He is to me. I would invite all of us to examine this value more deeply and more frequently.
As I close this article I hope I have opened a few eyes to the value that you are to this industry and help others to see and appreciate that value.