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Is Cheap Best?

I was reminded the other day of something which one of my first video industry ‘guru’s’ told me; it wasn’t his original thought because he’d got from another talented professional, and no doubt it’s been passed down through several generations before him. Here’s what he shared with me regarding budgets:

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s also unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money – that’s all.

When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you buy the cheapest, it’s well to add something for the risk you take. And if you do that, you will have enough money to pay for something better”

John Ruskin (1819 – 1900).

The reasoning given by John Ruskin still holds true on many things, if you are paying very little for something it’s as well to be prepared to spend more to put right what didn’t work out the way you’d expected.

We get people coming to us who have decided to maybe film their own video materials because, of course, it’s cheaper; or they’ve gone for someone who is clearly a lot cheaper than the standard rate and, guess what, they didn’t get what they thought they were going to get! Getting good video shots really isn’t as simple as hitting a few buttons.

We don’t mind, since we putting things right earns us money, sometimes more than if we’d done the whole thing originally – but is a bit irksome, though seemingly more to us than the originators. I wonder why that is?


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