Knowing ones worth is not always an easy thing, as it is informed by many factors. Experiences in our formative years and the subliminal messages that society feeds us are predominant in our minds.
However in business we need to be able to stay detached from our personal side and objectively see ourselves deciding our worth based on our knowledge and skills in our chosen fields.
Winter has engulfed us over the last week and it had given me a moment to reflect on this matter.
It’s not often that I get a chance to visit the local test centre due to the type of work I do. I’m lucky if I see the inside of the test centre five times a year.
However the last time I was there I encountered quite an interesting situation.
It was a Friday afternoon and there were a few tests in progress so the waiting room was fairly full. After a congenial hello and nod to my colleagues I took a seat in the corner to wait for my pupil whilst he was on test. I wanted to complete some of my outstanding work in the time I had.
Slowly I became aware of a conversation that was unfolding, and I started to half pay attention.
The local ADI’s were talking about how busy they were and what they charge, now my half listening turned into full on attention this was quite interesting.
I’m sure you’re thinking how’s this interesting?
Well let me tell you.
An ADI who (for confidentiality I’ll call John) was telling his colleague how he was fully booked up until February 2018 and couldn’t take on any more work, so the other ADI (who I’ll refer to as Bob) said “you should put up your prices, what do you charge”.
John said £25ph, well listening to this conversation was a PDI, a trainee driving instructor (I’ll refer to as Dave) who was also waiting for his learner to come back from test. He interjected happily “I’m charging £30ph and I’ve got a full diary”.
Well, I know it’s winter and it is pretty chilly but the air in the room turned decidedly frosty! John looked visibly upset he wasn’t best pleased, are you not on a trainee licence? Yes, said Dave
“How the hell are you able to charge £30ph, that’s just wrong, your not even fully qualified!”
The conversation progressed in a heated fashion and my head was emulating the head linesman at a Wimbledon final.
I sat there watching the whole situation unfold and decided to slightly raise my head above the parapet, with “in life we charge what we believe we are worth”
Well I also received the look of death from John and Bob but Dave smiled an approving nod towards my direction. I wasn’t really saying it to upset anyone but I’m sure that day I did.
I feel that a customer buys more than just a product, it’s more the experience and who is to say what you are charging for your experience is wrong. It’s a consumers choice where they go, and what they feel like spending their money on.
I could understand John and Bob’s point but there is no real guidance on driving lessons and charges, it is a free market which is governed by an individual’s idea of their worth. It should not be determined by another’s value of your worth for that would always be lower than what it should be.
What to one is a useless stone, to another is a priceless diamond it is in the eye of the beholder.
Maybe the focus shouldn’t have been what Dave was charging and maybe we should look more at what John and Bob’ charges were and think about why they had come up with that figure.
It is a strange situation where a trainee can charge more than a fully qualified professional and still be in demand.