The Race To The Bottom.

Why cheaper isn't always better.

  • Danny Edmonds profile picture
    by Danny Edmonds

The Race to the bottom – why cheaper isn’t always better.

There is no doubt that being in construction can be very challenging at times. We are seeing price increases from suppliers for materials, a huge skilled labour shortage, tight and unrealistic deadlines and on top of that materials being delayed for delivery – and to think this is just the tip of the iceberg!

I have been in the construction industry my whole working life and if I am honest the same issues have always been around. As a business owner I have always wanted to build Prowired Electrical – a company that people want to work at.  The trouble with that is the right people should be paid the correct money, be appreciated, and feel supported.

Over the years we have worked for some great clients and still work for them today. As any growing company we are always trying to expand our client base as I believe we have a lot to offer for the right like-minded client! But when we go through the tendering phase as a trade we are always compared to the cheapest! I don’t know if all other trades are the same, but it seems to happen so often!

Is cheap always good?

I would say no, but others may say different. I totally understand that any project has a budget to keep to, so the job must be profitable for the builder/developer to complete the job.

However there have been times in the past we have been compared to a one-man band, and to be honest as any professional company will relate to, we all have overheads and the high calibre of staff to pay. My team deserve to be paid the correct money which corresponds with their knowledge, skill, and level of servicing to our clients.

If the one-man band was doing a job at the same price, he would be making a huge profit. So, with that being said we always seem to receive the same feedback which is – surely you can be cheaper than him!

I believe our industry is in trouble, with the prices being driven down, you cannot employ the correct team member and ultimately you can’t give the high standard of service to your clients that they deserve and expect to receive.

It’s without a doubt that there will always be someone cheaper than you, but we should never be under selling our services short. We have trained a long-time to become skilled and qualified in our trade and we take great pride in it.

The only way you can do a job cheaper is by cutting corners, this is something I am strongly against and refuse to do. My morals are to produce high quality work and have the correct team members with the correct attitude to install them. Yes, we can always be better, but that is where more money needs to be spent on training and resulting in a down time of project jobs – which is always a hard one to juggle.

Do Your Research

With the skill gap coming bigger and less young people coming into the industry I’m afraid I can only see it getting worse.

To add to this there are many so-called training organisations out there that promote to be a qualified electrician in 6 weeks! Really 6 weeks! Personally speaking I have completed a full 4-year apprenticeship on top of the 16 years’ of experience and I am still learning – so my question is how are these places allowed to do this?

I would urge companies that always go to the cheapest just think for a second.

  1. Why are they cheaper
  2. Are they time served contractor
  3. Am I confident they can service us
  4. Is it worth the risk

I like to build my network on LinkedIn with professionals that are like minded, and where we are both on the same page. Generally, it can always be worked out if the correct conversations have had a chance to happen and avenues explored to save money elsewhere. Not just because we have received a cheaper quote.

As contractors if we continue just to be cheaper than one another quality will go down, the skills gap will grow bigger and all that we have learnt will be worthless. Let’s not ruin the industry let’s make it better – invest in our staff and be more respected by our clients.

– Danny Edmonds