Price vs. Performance
I had an interesting experience the other day. As I waited for my wife to meet me at a convenience store near our offices (but not our customer) that I frequent on a regular basis, I had a few minutes to look around. The store was not busy at that particular time, and I used the restroom. It was not exactly sparkling--in short, it was filthy. As a matter of fact, the entire place is seemingly never clean. The tile grout looks like it has never been scrubbed. The floor mats are disgusting. I usually don't care about floors so much. During the winter, dirty floors are not that rare. But the bathroom is another matter. I cannot stand dirty bathrooms. I doubt anyone can. I snapped a photo:
As I continued to wait, I couldn't help but snoop. I took a look into their storage and supply room...and there they were--several items of the same product line we provide our clients. Knowing that this is a regional chain, I wasn't surprised. I am sure that they squeeze the margins of their supplier in order to cut costs since, with a budget as big as theirs, every penny counts. But here is where I paused to reflect upon the irony of the situation. A large corporation buys cleaning products in bulk at a probably low, low price and assumes that the bottom line is improved. Here's the rub: How much profit are they leaving on the table from prospective customers who refuse to go there because of the perpetual grungy appearance? I have no way of knowing, but it has to be worthy of consideration. I am sure that this establishment benefits from its advantageous location, but how many customers will flee when a competitor moves in down the street? I know I will.
So, in the end, is this company really saving money? They buy superior cleaning products, but place them in the hands of untrained (or unconcerned) staff, and get nothing as a result. We train our partners to acquire expertise. Roughly 3% of the cost of cleaning comes from product. The other 97% is from labor. It would be wise for all of us, regardless of industry, to more closely look at real vs. perceived costs, and to look at some expenditures as investment, rather than costs.