Today’s Post by Skip Cohen
Okay, so the idea for today’s post came from a garden hose. I was at Home Depot and needed a 50 foot garden hose, no big deal right? I bought the cheapest one they had. Unfortunately it kinks every time you move it in any direction but a straight line and then you have to go back, untwist it and if you’re lucky you’ve got water pressure again! It was a complete waste of money and tomorrow I’ll go buy a decent hose!
Well, that got me thinking about how photographers spend their money on gear, albums, lab support and other services. There are way too many of you who make your purchases on price rather than quality and efficiency. If you make your decisions on price alone the products you purchase won’t be worth any more than my garden hose!
So, looking at the gear and services you’re going to purchase in the months ahead let’s come up with a check-off list of questions to ask.
- Whatever you’re about to purchase, gear or services, will the purchase make you a better photographer or business owner?
- What’s the lifespan of your purchase? If it’s gear, is this something that’s soon to be outdated and replaced by new technology? If it’s a service, does the vendor have enough depth in their product line to give you the support you need?
- What’s the ROI? ROI stands for Return on Investment and it’s applicable to everything you buy. How quickly will you the new product or service you buy pay for itself? Some products/vendors save you time. That “extra” time you pick up will allow you to spend more time marketing yourself and in turn help you create a stronger revenue stream. A particular workshop you want to attend might seem very expensive, but will you pick up some new skills to help you increase sales?
- What’s the quality of the product or service? Whatever you buy, if it’s gear, is it going to be in the shop for service more than it’s in your camera bag? If it’s service from a vendor, what’s their reputation? How do they handle mistakes, etc. It’s not a perfect world, but if you buy products without a regard for their quality your money is being wasted and so is your time.
- What’s the warranty on the product or the reputation of the company providing the service?
It’s a simple point and so important as you make the rounds to the various conventions and trade shows. Do your best to not be swayed by price, but by the quality and reputation of the products and companies you consider working with. When everything looks terrific and you’re ready to make your purchase or work with a new vendor, listen to your inner voice and sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct.
And remember the words of a small sign in my kitchen, “Life’s too short to drink cheap wine!”