A long time ago, back in ’93 as I remember it, a sage and gallant man made a profound yet incredibly simple statement that is more relevant to me today than at any other point in my history. I understand his statement far better and on a far deeper level now that I have started this business.
The man’s name was John Little of Rottingham Forest. He was just a simple man trying to feed his family and get by. He said, “a toll is a toll and a roll is a roll, and if we don’t get no tolls, we don’t eat no rolls”. It was a phrase he coined himself…
The profundity (yes that really is a word) of John Little’s statement, for me at least, is in the area of pricing. If I don’t get no tolls, we don’t eat no rolls. I have to charge a price for what I do. My time is worth a certain amount, materials cost a certain amount, and well, everything else seems to have a cost associated with it as well. If I’m not careful in my figuring then I could end up not charging enough for something, which is awesome for the customer but bad for me. However, overcharging the customer would be temporarily awesome for me but bad for the customer as well as my reputation. Either way seems to be a recipe for going out of bidness, which would be incredibly counter productive for what I am wanting to accomplish here.
So there must be some kind of balance and it’s something that I kinda struggle with figuring out. I mean, I want to build the absolute best thing that I can build but that could end up producing something of such immense cost that no one would want to buy whatever the thing is that I’m building, no matter how awesome. The flip side of that is that I can’t build something cheaply and then try to charge an amount that would pay the bills. At that point I would be competing with foreign labor and there is no way that would work out well for me.
I guess the best way to figure out what to charge is experience. The further that I go down this path, the more clear the path should become.