The Price of Productivity

Being in the industry we’re in we’re often providing quotes for prospective customers and as our sales team have been on holidays through the summer, I’ve been going on a few of the bids, just like the old days, before we had a sales team when I did them all myself. It certainly was good to go out and speak to people again and to be honest meeting new people and sorting out their cleaning problems is one of the things I absolutely love to do. I suppose it is classed as sales but when you’re out there, it’s more like problem solving and providing solutions and it’s something I really do miss. They say that in business you should always employ people better than yourself in these roles and that’s something we’ve always strived to do, whether that is in the sales or operations teams we have. So, these days I leave these jobs to wonderful people who are far better at it than me.
Anyway, back to my visits to these prospective customers and what I found interesting in the discussions when it came to cost versus value. One or two prospects were extremely interested in ensuring that the ‘hourly rate’ was a few pence less than what they were paying to ‘save money’ on their monthly invoice, which was understandable as everyone is trying to control costs and maximise their profit. The interesting part was when we discussed ‘what’ was going to be done for the money they are spending, regardless of how much they were budgeting and this was something which wasn’t considered very much. When I explained that every £1 spent with us was going to get them a better clean because of the way we recruit, train, schedule, motivate and supervise the ‘penny dropped.’ It’s about the productivity of the cleaning team and quality of the supervision and auditing that’s important not saving a few pence on the hourly rate, although in some cases we do this too.
We’ve all seen people standing around doing very little in many industries, all getting paid whatever their wage is and not getting the job done in a productive way. The client is paying for this and therefore the question must be, “Would you rather pay for someone who works hard in a diligent way and gets the work done or do you not mind paying a similar amount and not getting as much done?” It’s the cost versus value for money argument and one which often doesn’t even get discussed as the discussion circles around the ‘rate’ far more. Regardless of whatever the rate is, if the work isn’t getting done it isn’t worth paying.