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Old July 29, 2000, 06:22 PM
Bob Beckman
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Default Re: Business: A corollary to THE CUCKOO CLOCK, MY BROTHER AND ME...

Great post Gordon, and something I encounter everyday in presenting seminars and selling the StoreRunner concept to small business. They'd rather save money and spend a lot of time, rather than pay a reasonable price for a proven concept! I try to stress Michael Gerber's aphorism - work ON the business as an entrepreneur rather than IN the business as soon as possible.

I learned a similar value of time lesson as a sophomore in high school when I took a janitorial job on Saturday mornings at a local cosmetology school. I was supposed to get there at 6 am and sweep and mop the place out. My hourly wage was $1.25 (better than $.25 but not much:-))

Like a good hourly worker, I was motivated to work as slowly as possible to make as much as possible. The longest I could stretch it was 8 hours, and I made ten bucks. The upside was the money and flirting with the students, the major downside was I lost most of my Saturday free time.

In a fit of desperate creativity, I made a deal with the manager to pay me a fixed fee of $10.00 no matter how long it took me. She agreed.

I kept that job thru my senior year and had it down to 45 minutes on Friday nights after dropping off my dates - sometimes the girls would help me! And the quality of the cleaning was no worse than after 8 hours (well, maybe a little in the back rooms and corners:-))

The lesson I learned was to always bid a job with a firm fixed price rather than an hourly fee (assuming you can truly scope out the effort, allow for unknowns, and build in a healthy profit margin).

Whenever I contract out to someone, it's the same deal - firm price with incentives to finish early and penalties for finishing late. My subcontractors like it, I like it and the client likes getting work done ontime and right.

But I do fix my own toilets when required!

Take care, Bob

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