Understanding the Value of Time: The Ploy of the Service Industry
Time and the Service Industry
Whether you're aware of it or not, the service industry is all around us. From lawn care to plumbing to graphic design and more, just about anything where somebody does work for you is part of the service industry. One of the biggest issues with being a part of the service industry is getting all parties involved to understand the value of time, and that time spent needs to be compensated.
There are things that we all hate to do: mowing the lawn, cleaning, shopping, car repairs, etc. Or maybe you don't hate these things, which is okay too. The question becomes how do you decide if you should do these kinds of things yourself, or if you should pay someone to do them for you. The simplest solution to this question is to do the math, and figure out what your time is worth.
One Way to Value Time
Think of it this way: you might be an hourly worker, who makes a cool $25 an hour. This is, at a basic level, what your time is worth, and can be your baseline for calculating the answer to the question above.
Let's suppose you need your lawn mowed. You've got a couple acres of land to mow, and overall, it will take you around two hours to complete. That means that, without extraneous variables, to mow your lawn costs you $50. This is where you decide if finding someone to do the service for you is worth it for you, by seeing if you can find someone to finish the task (in this case, mowing your lawn) for under $50. If you can, and you believe the job will be done up to your standards, it's definitely worth a smaller portion of your time to find this service industry professional and hire them to complete the service.
Unfortunately, it's not always a matter of dollars, cents, and time. Maybe you have all the extra time in the world (say, you work from home or make your own schedule). You've done the math based on your wages, and financially it makes little sense for you to pay someone to mow your lawn, but you just really hate mowing the lawn. So, from a quality of life standpoint, it might make sense for you to hire someone to mow the lawn, even if it's not quite as financially viable as doing it yourself. This is okay, too.
Applying our Newly-Found Value
Now, how do we apply this to the service industry? Well, for starters, it's vital to understand that everyone and every service company values their time in a similar way to the mathematical method above. For instance, here at Armor, we offer our services at a base-level of $120 an hour. Plainly put, this means that for every hour any of our employees work, they should be able to bring in $120 of raw income. Now, you might be thinking to yourself that this number seems high or even unreasonable, but there's a reason for it.
When it comes to a business, the other way to value your time is based on the employees' skill set. If the employee is trained, has certifications, has experience, or a plethora of other qualifiers, then their time is arguably worth more than someone who is entry level. I mean, this is the reason that employees get raises from their companies as they develop their position and become more efficient. This is one of the major factors businesses use in determining their time's value and is the reason that Armor's hourly rate is $120.
That hourly rate can be broken down to value each-and-every minute of our technicians' time. With some quick math ($120/60min), we see that each minute is valued at $2. This is an important thing to understand, especially in the service industry. Many people aren't aware that each of those minutes is something that CAN and SHOULD BE charged for. The employees took the time to gain the skills and become more efficient, and you're asking them to accomplish a task within their skill set, so their time should be valued.
A Common Misconception
This leads to another misconception about the service industry: time spent talking, advising, and answering questions is also a portion of that hourly rate, even if it seems like it shouldn't be. If you walk into a roofing company and begin to ask them the ins-and-outs of how to do a roof correctly, what materials to use, best practices etc., they're probably going to charge you. This might seem ridiculous, or downright like they're taking money that isn't theirs from you, but think about it: if they advise you on the best way to accomplish the service tasks for which they get paid, they're probably not going to get hired by you to accomplish this job. You might very well take what they've taught you and try to do it yourself. Sure, maybe the quality of work won't be the same because you aren't the professional. Whether you intended to or not, you took money out of that business's pocket, and therefore, money out of their employees' pockets, which they use to feed their families and afford necessities to live comfortably.
Now, this isn't to say that the service professionals aren't there to assist you. These people are supposed to be some of the leaders in their industry, with the knowledge that takes real-world experience and training to receive. Most of the time, these professionals are more than willing to help with a few questions or a quick advising on what you should do. But consumers should be aware that these companies get paid for the knowledge they have, their ability to apply it, and they very well might ask you to pay for additional advising passed what they are comfortable giving out for free.
What this article culminates to is the idea that everyone has a value on their time. Whether your employer sets that for you, or you have another way of coming about what each hour of your day is worth, we all have an idea of what we are comfortable valuing our time at, and we all know what we will turn down if we are offered it (who wants to work for $0.07/hour, right?). This is true when you walk into a shop for a service as well, from the consulting about the problem to intake to fixing the problem, each moment of this process takes somebody's time, and they have every right to ask for and receive compensation for their time, however minuscule the task may seem. If you as a consumer aren't comfortable compensating someone for all of their time, it might be time to reconsider employing a service company to complete the task for you, and you might rather do the task yourself.
Time is our most finite resource, with each and every one of us having a limited supply. We should all be able to feel like our time is well-spent, well-compensated, and shouldn't need to feel like getting value out of our time is a chore. If you don't feel like your time is being fairly compensated, then it's probably time to find another way to be more adequately fulfill your time.
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