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post #10 of Old 02-22-2009
Owner, Green Bay Packers
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SW Michigan
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Bubb's story resonates.

Many people are so proud of the deal they got on their, say, boat electronics. They hire you to put them in. You didn't sell the gear so that profit went elsewhere and you're working for less than you might doing the same job, with the same overhead to pay. If your employee slits his wrist open working on that boat you still have to fix him up. The profit form the electronics sale might have allowed you to carry insurance on him but you're competing in a very competitive market where people buy their stuff online and all you can get are jobs to install them.

Of course, once you install those electronics you didn't sell and there is the slightest problem with them, you find that now you "own" them. You touched 'em last are expected to deal with the manufacturer and stand behind the customer. Of course, the customer is sure that the gear he bought is appropriate for his boat and of the same high quality that you would have sold him. You might have your doubts. Nevertheless, you've now got possibly uncompensated time to spend on a job that you didn't make the proper margin on to begin with.

The only top flight stereo shop in my town just went out of business after forty years serving the area. They couldn't compete with online and the big chains. I was always willing to pay a little more for the comfort of dealing with someone who'd be there to stand behind the product. Others were apparently not so willing.

I'm sure you'll find someone to do an adequate job but, it's something to think about next time you purchase something. Don't blame the small businessman who has to make a profit to exist. He's probably seen the results of such practices before. In times like these, the cut-rate guys fall by the wayside because they don't have the reserves to weather the economic storm. That's why they're not there when you call two years later with a problem.

I know that you're transient and might not have thought of any of this, as well as had limited options; it's not meant to be personal. But it's a subject area I deal with every day.

“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.
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