Are You Ever That Guy Who Could Care Less About Quality?

You hear this type of thing on IPVM quite a bit:

Cheap security systems sold by clueless, cut-rate online merchants to naive, bottom feeding DIY'ers are making it increasingly hard for anyone trying to sell quality over price these days.

DIY'ers have extreme tunnel-vision when it comes to price, could care less about quality, and cannot be convinced them that there is more to a good deal than lowest upfront cost, til they fail of course.

Basically DIY'ers are idiots.

And when you hear the comical and derisive anecdote about some penny-wise but pound-foolish customer, you inevitably wonder: "How can anybody be so stupid?"

But sometimes maybe we are that guy too. In my case I am a confirmed plumbaphobic. I have a deep and possibly genetic mistrust of all things plumbing related. When the plumber needs to come to the house, I want him to do the 'absolute minimum' he needs to do fix whatever has broken and leave.

While waiting for the plumber, I will often dismissively announce to anyone in earshot, various anticipated price estimates of the job, even though I have no actual clue what it should cost.

"It's gonna be $1400 minimum, probably more like $2000."

If they try to up-sell me on quality, I shut them down. When they tell me "your pipes won't last another month", I laugh. But sooner or later I won't laugh...

I'm fine with electricans and landscapers though, not sure why plumbers are a problem, but I think it might be beneficial to selling to understand the mentality behind it.

Anybody else have something like this, maybe with car salesmen or realtors or lawyers or ??


Several months ago a member of this board posted a thought on this subject, and the more I considered it, the more I agree. That person that is focused only on cheap, the DIY'er, was never going to buy from a dealer anyway. There is a market for everyone, or as a motorcycle friend of mine says, there is a seat for every a**.

I have a friend who owns a lot of commercial property. He is a wealthy guy, and as you can guess he got that way by choosing carefully where he spends his money (in other words, he can be a real cheapskate sometimes).

Not too long ago somebody wrecked the automatic door in his parking garageā€”to the tune of $10,000 in damage. So he decided he needed surveillance set up to find the responsible party next time. He got a quote from an integrator and of course thought it was way too much. I don't know what it was, but let's say it was $5,000. He tells me (with great pride) how he went to Costco and got a $1,000 system and he and his facilities guy self installed it. He's happy with the quality, and it works.

Moral of the story is, given that surveillance is just an expense to him, he's not going to spend more than he has to. Since the system "works" for him, he doesn't know what the quality differences are between that and the professional system. So as far as he's concerned, it's not a "low quality" system. From his point of view, the dealer/integrator was just out to screw him.

Keep in mind, he's an architect by training and he designs and builds (as a general contractor) a lot of very high end houses and commercial property in the area. He knows what quality is when it comes to construction. And he is known for being uncompromising. But he's not a security professional, and as such his needs are moderate--if the system records and plays back a reasonable picture then it works good enough for him.

This industry has been going through various types of classic "disruption from below" for many years. As the lower cost products continue to increase in quality and capability they will continue to win more jobs in which the customer only need enough quality at a low enough price to get the job done when their "job" does not happen to be professional security. There will always be need for dealer/integrators to satisfy the complex situations and provide professional equipment/services. But those will continue to get pushed up-market not (only) because the DIY-er can't appreciate quality, but because the products will continue to increase in reliability and capability to satisfy the DIY-er's moderate level of need.