When you have done this long enough, you have enough stories to share with your shop buddies about how everyone asks for a deal on this or that or how they do not see why they should pay for this or that work. For anyone who does not work in the labor trade, this is for you.
Any small business owner knows and feels that it's always hard to price their own self worth on their own work. We know that when we ask a price we are going to be countered with, why so much?? It could be 2 dollars and we could be asked, why is it not 1 dollar? Every person in a trade feels this and they feel it even when they clock out and they go home. Because clocking out and going home, well, they never actually clock out and go home, they go back to work at home. Always giving support, always being there, admitting mistakes and always showing they have the best interest in a single person at that time of the moment.
It took me a good while to understand why this happens. I mean, when I go into a Target or a department store of some type I never once come to the register and tell the cashier: "Hey, I think I should pay less for those items." Now let that really sink in. When was the last time you ever did that? Never. Never have you once done that. But why? Why is it so easy for you to look at True Religion jeans for 350 dollars and go, these are perfect, I’ll take two. Can you ever remember a time you walked into your grocery market and told the cashier that you'd like to offer you less for all of this. Nope, does not happen and even funnier, doesn't even cross your mind. As if the price tag in front of you held this power over you that if you actually do not spend this, you are not worth the jeans you are about to buy. Ain't that something?
Small business owners have it the worst. What I figured out is that when you have some sort of personal contact with a person whether you know them or not, but if you are talking to someone even close to the owner, you feel like there is this door you can open. That door is the "asking for more than you should" door. Department stores don't have you asking about prices because who are you going to talk to? The 19 year old whose first job is to ring up your chrome and black picture frames and your 20 piece kitchen set? But the second you feel any connection to the owner or the person who runs the place, all of those things go out of the window. See, the small business owner is the one who stays up late, answering questions, and even the same questions 20 times, (you know who you are), all day long. We don't stop. Big corporations just take your money like its candy and the hard working small guys are trying to prove themselves to you. This is backwards folks.
I once had a customer of mine who would always complain about what he was spending on his hobby, AKA, car building. He wants the social media attention of it all, the fame and glory of it, but I think along the way, he lost the understanding of it. I've known him for years, and he does the most amazing concrete work I've ever seen. I could go to one place and ask, who did your bathroom or your countertops and it would be him and his company. His work is flawless, amazing, and it seems that everyone loves it. And to this day when I go into a bathroom in a place and see a style of architecture that looks like his, I often wonder, was this his work?
Fast forward to doing a job for him. I found that he has always had a difficult time wanting to spend money on others that do good work. I found this odd over time and he runs a very similar type of business. Often we would go back and forward on emails, but not much would come of it. When it came time to him actually being ready to have our shop do something for him, he was on the fence and I told him: "do you hold yourself to a high standard when all of those other places value your work?" Maybe this rang a bell with him or not, but I do think it shook his mind for a bit. The point being is that you can ask all these other people to respect and pay for your work, but are you willing to do the same for them? Are you willing to pay out of pocket when it feels like it hurts a bit because you truly believe in the fact that what comes around goes around? The energy and power of money that flows?
As I got older, I realized that there is no better power than working hard and being able to pay or share that with people around you who are doing the same. Meaning, your best friend has a flooring company, so the first person you ask for is him. Who cares that he's doing million dollar homes and all you need is a 20x20 reception room with maple wood, but you ask. Trust me when I say that just the power of you asking makes all the difference in the world. Even if you know it is well past what you need, that person you know will hold you in their hearts with great respect because you asked them first.
My closing point is this. No one asks you to ever go to work for free. No one I know shows up to their 9 to 5 job asking to not be paid that day. Ask yourself the next time your shop that you love is doing an amazing job for you, are they worth it? Does the brand matter? The answer more than likely is yes. Your hobby could very well be their career and that is very easy to overlook. We are all the same and we are all doing the best we can with what we love to do. Remember that, please.