Good, Fast, Cheap: Which two are best?

Usually you can only have two of the three qualities we all want in work we need done. Out of good, fast, and cheap, which combo is best?

Construction WorkerWeb designers, car mechanics and building contractors can all tell you the same thing: if you want it done right, it won’t be cheap. This doesn’t mean you’ll be paying on it for the rest of your life, but the higher price you pay to have something done well is going to be far better than the price you pay to have it done fast and cheap.

What every project comes down to is a choice to leave out one of three options. You have to decide if you want your work done good and fast, good and cheap, or fast and cheap. Let’s go over each one to find out how they differ.

Good and Fast isn’t Cheap

Getting your project done quickly usually means pushing other projects out of the way. Since it needs to be done with high quality in mind, it will require more attention. For this, the project will have a higher cost. I’m not saying it will cost you a kidney, but when the person doing the job for you is asked to prioritize the order, you will generally be charged more. It makes sense because they are going to have to devote so much time to your project instead of to the others who were there before you.

The cost associated with good and fast is usually worth it. You want your work done well, and you recognize that the cost involved will benefit you in the long run. That’s why you pay the higher fee. You want to be sure the work is being handled correctly, checked and double checked. Less headaches are better.

Good and Cheap will take longer

While good and fast will put you at the front of the line, good and cheap will usually bump you further down. If you ask a mechanic to fix your car and want it done right but cheap, he may not let the higher paying customers wait on your car just because you were there first. High cost is usually prioritized in businesses simply because that money is what keeps them in business to begin with. Without it, they wouldn’t be able to provide any services at all.

Because he bumps you down his to-do list doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about your needs. The reality of it is that he’s also trying to find the cheapest way to take care of your needs and make your car work correctly. That also takes time, and when the available money is low than you usually have less options to choose from. In this case, your mechanic may need to do some digging to find a way to get your car back to you in pristine condition without using his usual avenues of repair.

Fast and Cheap isn’t worth it

If you want to get something done right, pay for it. Don’t think that getting it done fast and cheap won’t cost you anything more. The end result isn’t always worth the amount of money you saved by going this route.

I had a client a while back who wanted me to fix a few things on her custom CMS. It was developed by someone who charged her very little and promised everything. When I got into the files, I found a tremendous amount of problems. Security issues were everywhere, code was severely outdated, and in at least two files I found that the code was lifted directly out of the popular forum software, PHPBB. What made that part so bad was that the pages themselves weren’t even doing anything—they were just there for no reason!

I see job postings on boards all over the web that want a quality product delivered to them. They are usually swarmed with people claiming they can do the job for peanuts, often undercutting the legitimate prices posted by competent agencies and designers by 90% or more. Trust me as someone who has had to fix these issues time and time again, do not fall for these scams. It will cost you more to have them fixed than to have it done correctly the first time.

Staying Within Your Budget

Unless you won the Powerball Lottery, you’re likely going to have a set limit for how much you can spend for something. I understand that, as do other businesses. That is why we generally have a variety of options that we can work from.

When it comes down to doing something Fast and Cheap, some of us won’t go that route. I understand that because you don’t want to give the client something that is going to make you look bad to them and everyone who sees it. Your reputation is on the line with each piece of work you produce. When it comes to a website, the client’s reputation is also on the line because visitors will react to the website owner, not the designer. If there is a problem such as browser compatibility issues or security problems, they will blame the website owners and skip off to the competition in a few mouse clicks.

In short, the key here is to buy the best that you can afford. Everyone wants to save money, but don’t sacrifice quality for it.

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