When I was in college I ran a typing service. This was back when most people wrote rough drafts in longhand and typed the final drafts onto a computer…which usually required a walk down to the computer lab on campus.
I charged $1.50 a page which was pretty much beer money. I was an English major and most of the papers I typed were for business majors. The writing was atrocious: run on sentences, poor grammar, spelling errors, the works.
As I typed up the papers I would invariably fix some of the mistakes I saw…at least the most egregious ones. I know a number of business majors got better grades by hiring me to type their papers.
This was my mistake: in underestimating the value of my “value-added” work. If I could travel back in time I’d still offer $1.50 per page…as is. If you wanted your punctuation and grammar fixed that would be $2 a page. For $3 a page I’d tighten up your language, improve your grade, and you’d get into a better business school. (I’m not sure if that broke the college honor pledge, but until I get a working time machine I’ll table that concern. In fact, if I did get a working time machine, I’m not sure doubling my typing fees would be the most effective way for me to pay off the lease on my time machine.)
In any case, admission to a better business school is well worth the extra $1.50/page.
We often undervalue what we have to offer, or don’t include a value-add option. Instead, we commodicize our offerings. There were plenty of other competing typing services from other Skidmore students, and I was charging just about the same fee. Although fixing grammar mistakes seemed effortless to me, it was obviously difficult for many of my customers, and had value for them.
What added value can you include in your services, and what value does it hold for your customers?
Photo credit: Orange Acid