A perceived value refers to the perspective or opinion of a customer towards a product or service, according to thebusinessprofessor.com. The truth is that your potential customer decides how much they are willing to pay you before you ever get to the door when you arrive to deliver the estimate. You don’t have to like it. But not liking it won’t make it any less accurate. Before you ever even knock on the door, they have determined an acceptable price range for you in their head. People don’t mind spending more as long as they believe they are getting what they pay for. How much of a role does perceived value play?

This isn’t my opinion. These are facts, and there is plenty of research to back them up. Perception of value plays a role in what a customer is willing to pay. If you do not think you are being judged at every turn, well, you are just not observant. First impressions are what it is all about, and first impressions are all about the presentation. There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to charge >10% more than everyone else in your area if you have the knowledge and value to back it up. We get the most excited about the gifts with the fanciest wrapping paper.

If you clean things for a living you should arrive in a clean vehicle

People have been conditioned to expect a service vehicle to bear the company name and logo. Why? Because all company’s do. Anything less than that sends the message that the individual who just pulled up in their driveway may not be wholly committed to what they are doing. And the more the vehicle has been covered in logo and design, the more devoted to the business as a career. It doesn’t matter if it’s true. The only company that shows up at my house without a branded vehicle is Uber.

Showing up to a meeting in a vehicle that’s old and rundown may make the company look unsuccessful…

Motus
Part of a tech’s responsibility should be maintaining a clean vehicle that is washed weekly

similar article Becoming a Boutique pool service company

Whose truck is in the neighbor’s driveway?

Your clothes and grooming are next up on the list the second you step out of the truck. A non-company T-shirt and a pair of crocs will not lend toward a higher wage. A clean company shirt free of bleach stains is ideal, and a collared shirt with a logo is best. Khakis or khaki shorts may not be in style, but they beat out any other type of pants you could wear apart from Dickies. Sneakers are acceptable, and trump flip-flops every time. Service professionals wear uniforms, and it is hard not to be perceived as ‘less than’ if you do not.

Inappropriate uniforms communicate to customers that the company is careless and inefficient.

Nelson, Kathy & Bowen, John. (2000). The Effect of Employee Uniforms on Employee Satisfaction. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly – CORNELL HOTEL RESTAUR ADMIN Q. 41. 86-95. 10.1177/001088040004100221.

So easy a pool owner could do it themself

Your cleaning equipment and test kit are next up for scrutiny. This isn’t a ‘test strips aren’t as accurate’ conversation. I don’t believe nowadays that is entirely true anyway. I have other reasons for preferring the drip to the strip, but these deal more with the increments of measure and the inability to test for calcium hardness. Still, the tools you carry should be of higher quality than those the customer owns, and the last thing you ever want to do is provide evidence that the homeowner could just as easily clean and maintain the pool themselves. Your test kit should look intimidating and complex like there must be some training required. Emphasizing craftsmanship is a proven method of increasing the customer’s perceived service value.

when the perceived value of a product or service increases, the company can choose a higher pricing strategy and thus increase its profit margins and sales

Groupe Marketing International

I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation

Joan Jett might not, but you should care about your reputation. This weighs heavy on this topic, and nothing you do or say, wear or ride when you visit a potential client is going to change the preconceived value of you, your product, and your company. An excellent reputation commands a higher dollar amount, and a good reputation does not, and a bad reputation doesn’t even get you the phone call.

If you are considered the bottom of the barrel choice in your neck of the woods, it will not matter what you wear or drive unless you intend to fix it. A reputation can be repaired, but damage control takes a ton of work. Some companies specialize in reputation management. But, unless it is disastrous, you can probably fix it yourself. A little philanthropy wouldn’t hurt here; actually, it would only help no matter the word on the street. Asking for testimonials for your website and google reviews (from people that like you) would also be a huge help.

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Are you leaving money on the table?

Does this mean if you’re not doing these things, you’ll have to charge less than the going in your area? Maybe, maybe not. But, it does mean that you will not charge more than the average rate in your market. You didn’t start your own business to be average. A service company owner should want to offer service second to none, and maybe you do. But no one is going to want to pay what that’s worth if it’s all dressed down and packaged in a plain brown wrapper. If you look expensive, people will expect to pay more. Perceived value will always play a role in the dollar amount you can successfully demand.

By Rudy

Rudy Stankowitz is a 30-year veteran of the swimming pool industry and President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants

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