I Eat My Mistakes

I have a simple guarantee with my business, one which has cost me a fair bit. Over time, I’ve come across a few other businesses with the same type of guarantee, and I prefer to give them my business. The long and short of it is that I eat my mistakes.

What I tell my clients is that I stand behind my work – if they find an error in my work, then I will fix it at no charge. When working on a project, this may not be a big deal. After all, the project should have been budgeted to account for this, and if it wasn’t, there’s no reason that the client should be impacted. When working by the hour, however, this can be a significant cost, since the hours worked fixing mistakes are unpaid.

I recently had a pair of chairs reupholstered and asked what the guarantee on the quality and accuracy of the work was. I was told that before any work is shipped back to a customer, two fussy old ladies look at the work, and decide if it passes muster. If not, it is sent back to be fixed. If the chairs arrive back at a customer, and the customer finds an error, then they are picked up and returned to the shop, and the work is redone.

The catch is who has to pay the cost of redoing the work. I was surprised to discover that it’s the tradespeople, not the company, that pays the cost of mistakes. However, this makes perfect sense. The tradespeople will be paid to do the work once. If it takes more than one try, then the company won’t pay them, since they were paid to produce quality. They must finish the work on their own time now that they made an error.

My work is the same, to some extent. My clients are paying me to produce a certain level of quality and reliability. Yes, my cost upfront might be a little higher than the next person, but my price upfront is the only price. As a consumer, I hate hidden costs, where the listed price is one thing, but you have yet to meet someone who actually paid that. As a supplier, I do my best to avoid such fees, but the catch is, I may have to join those hidden fees with the base price.

All in all, though, my customers generally appreciate the fact that I do guarantee a price. It allows them to budget properly for the project, and they have a greater level of confidence that they will be happy with the final outcome.