The death of quality

I received a text message from a prospective client the other day— it’s how its done these days my daughter tells me — needing an electrician. It read, “we need an electrician, how much do you charge?” There was no enquiry about my experience, licensing or insurance just the bald question on price.

As a tradesman who actually cares about his clients, the quality of his work, fully licenced and insured, and insists on using quality Australian approved products; it was a disheartening text message.

For crying out loud, you want a stranger to come in and work on the most expensive investment you own based on price?!

Perhaps we should ask doctors and surgeons to offer a discount and see where that leads. Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t shop around for good prices, but not at the expense of quality and safety. Especially when dealing with electricity.

For too long we have been manipulated to accept mediocrity as the norm. We get angry when we purchase a ridiculously cheap product from a ‘Mega Store’, only to find when home, a part is missing, its already broken or it lasts for only two weeks. Did we actually want quality but didn’t want to pay for it? In our hearts I think we know it’s rubbish, but we buy it because it’s cheap. Unfortunately it wasn’t really all that cheap in the end, hey?

I used to own an electrical repair company. We were service agents for many products that you all know. These companies are good at producing shiny appliances that break during their warranty periods. These crafty manufacturers were using warranty agents to rectify the problems with their crappy appliances, doing R&D on the fly for them and not covering costs. We gave them all the flick and told them why.

Don’t get me started on built in obsolescence. Did you know that electrical tool motors have an hourly life rating? So if you buy a cheap drill or a pressure water cleaner it can have a life as little as a few hours. Some water cleaners can only run for 8-10 minutes before needing a rest or you’ll burn it out. Cool huh? You will be back in a month or two to buy another piece of junk for your garbage bin.
As a tradesman, I know that the only way to make a job cheaper is to cut the quality of the products or workmanship.

Look at LED lighting as an example. Cheap versions of these products are flooding the internet, market stalls and retailers and they are often under-performing, unapproved and even dangerous. I recently received a trade publication warning us that these products can block TV signals, disrupt mobile phones and Wi Fi signals, disrupt central locking systems on motor vehicles and present a fire risk through dodgy electronics.

Quality folks is the key. Ask questions before you jump in and buy a product or service on price alone. So be aware and take care. Don’t let quality die.

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