Don’t Be The Cheapest Option
I was a guest speaker at the Kevin Rutherford CMC seminars from 2009 to 2013. I didn’t just teach while I was there, I learned. These classes were as much about business as they were about trucks. Kevin would say “Don’t be the cheapest option…be the option that provides the most value.” It wasn’t until I had a business of my own that I fully appreciated what that simple statement really meant.
Just after I started DCS I went skydiving. Skydiving was not my idea. My wife and some of her nursing friends bought a Groupon deal online for skydiving. The deal was $150 per couple to jump from 13,000 feet. I wouldn’t be wearing a parachute…instead I’d be wearing a man and he would be wearing a parachute. I hadn’t gone skydiving before and wasn’t sure if $150 was a good price or not. My wife was excited about the price but as we got in the Cessna and started our ascent, I started wondering how they were doing it so cheap. $150 dollars to pay for fuel, aircraft and equipment maintenance, then whatever’s left gets split among two skydiving instructors, the pilot, and the two guys who inspect and pack the parachutes. So... the guys who packed the parachute that would save me from certain death couldn’t have got much more than 15 bucks. When it was time to jump, I stepped out and stood on a small plate welded to the landing gear under the wing of the plane and looked down. At that moment I decided these guys weren’t getting paid enough for the work they were doing. Once I was back on the ground, I bought some photos of the jump. The photos weren’t cheap but I wanted to give these guys a little more money for their work. I might be way off with my estimations of how much these guys are making because I’m not familiar with the skydiving business but I’m happy to pay a little more if it means they don’t have to make any compromises.
When I google search DDEC ECM repair occasionally, I’ll see paid advertisements for extremely cheap ECM repairs and programming. The cheapest options are offered by eBay guys or companies that have had fifty thousand verified 5 star reviews but have only had a website for about three months. It’s not hard to become the cheapest option. You just have to be willing to cutmore corners and take more shortcuts than anyone else. Damaged ECMs can take a full day or more to fix and experienced electrical technicians aren’t going to repair circuit boards for minimum wage. The same thing goes for good ECM programmers. In addition to knowing the software and electronics, ECM programmers need a mechanical background to develop better programs and those guys don’t work for peanuts. Underpaid employees don’t have to worry about making mistakes if a better paying job is waiting right across the street. Trying to do things too cheap in a service industry not only hurts your competition but everyone in your profession including inevitably the reputation of that profession. I’ve been seeing DDEC programming that’s so messed up that the owner thought the ECM was damaged. I’ve even seen a program that was a mix of an 11.1 and a turned up 12.7 and was half set up for a Freightliner and half set up for a Volvo. The owner of that DDEC said “Well. That guy was only $100” Good thing he wasn’t packing your parachute.
Fernando DeMoura, Diesel Control Service.