Have you ever heard the expression convenience is costly? Probably not as I’m pretty sure I just made it up, but I’m sure you have at least thought it a time or two. A while back my husband and I went grocery shopping and I put some pre-cut pineapple into the basket, he looked at it and then he looked at me and said, “If you go and grab a pineapple from the produce section, I’ll cut it for you…there’s no reason to pay this much money for pineapple” to which I replied, “oh, okay.” It was not that I was buying it because I liked the packaging; it was because I was unwilling to deal with cutting it myself. If he was offering to cut it that was fine with me—the point was I didn’t have to do it.

That’s the catch with convenience, you don’t have to do the work yourself, but it’s not cheap. A gallon of milk at a convenience store is expensive but it saves you the time of having to round up the kids and drive over to the grocery store.  You could drive to pick up your clothes at the dry cleaner or you can have them driven to you, for a nominal fee of course. The point I’m making? Convenience costs…period. If you are unwilling to do the work yourself, that’s fine, but you must be willing to pay the cost of convenience.

Maybe your to-do list is looking a bit long this month and one of the action items on that list is getting a higher ranking on Google. You could spend valuable time writing quality content, and exhaust hours researching the most relevant keywords for your Google AdWords account, or you could pay a service to do it for you. A great service will make your job easier and produce the results you’re looking for by utilizing experience and the industry know-how you may not be familiar with. That could make the extra cost worth it alone, add on the fact that you didn’t have to do any of the leg work yourself and I’d say you’ve made a worthwhile decision. Convenience may be costly but if it can alleviate stress, give you back your time, and produce worthy results, it is a cost that can be justified.

A rule of thumb to bear in mind when looking for a service is as much as convenience can be costly, so can quality. Don’t go cheap if you can help it. It may seem like a good idea to go with the least expensive service and maybe it is; just be sure to do your research and ask questions about how they are able to offer the same services as the next company but charge a significantly lower rate. When making your decision, inquire about what they offer in terms of quality, expertise, and deliverables; it may be that their price is lower because they don’t offer everything you’re looking for. Also, there is always the possibility they will do a less-than-satisfactory job leaving you to sweep up behind them, and I think we can agree there is nothing convenient about that.

As a consumer paying for a service, you should expect no less than a trustworthy, customer service-oriented company that is up front about all costs and that keeps you in the loop as your contract progresses. Accountability during the course of the contract is key; otherwise you might end up with a lot of questions and no answers in the end. Convenience is a service and since you’re paying for it, be judicious when choosing the company that best suits your needs—a little time and research goes a long way. Not every task you have will need to be done by somebody else and doing the work yourself isn’t always an inconvenience, but speaking for myself, having somebody else do the brunt of the work for me can be a real blessing. Especially when it comes to the tough stuff, like marketing and pineapple!

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