illustrative graph of increasing revenues

4 Rules on When NOT to be cheap investing in your business

By Paige NeJame

I like to sleep at night. There are just some things on which I will not be cheap. I’ve found that saving money often causes unnecessary trouble, including warranty work and the distraction from the real work at hand – growing my business.

Here are some of my rules for when it makes sense to spend more upfront:

1. Invest in quality painters

If I want the best painters, I know I may have to pay more to attract and retain them. If I pay them less, I’ll likely be distracted by customer service issues and workers who don’t uphold my ethics. And if Murphy’s Law prevails, these annoyances will occur right in the middle of my vacation.

2. Invest in the best technology

For technology purchases, I check online for the products with the best ratings and then buy the highest-rated ones I can find, ignoring price almost completely.

Since technology automates repetitive processes, paying more for technology pays off very quickly. With cheap technology, I have to be prepared to arrive at estimates aggravated – not fresh and ready to service the customer.

A premium technology tool often puts me in a better mood, making me almost giddy about how easily I can finish a normally hard-to-accomplish task.

3. Invest in quality coatings

Of course it’s important to make sure we get the best prices we can based on our business volume. We do all negotiations on paint and supplies in our slower winter months when we have the time.

After that though, we make sure we are specifying only premium paints on every job, even when the customer is pushing us to bid lower. Again, what critical work will you be doing when you are interrupted by the avoidable problem of peeling paint?

4. Invest in office staff

Office staff is another important area in which I invest. Of course I can answer the phone myself – but if I do, I’ll be distracting myself not for the four minutes it takes to talk with a customer, but the extra 90 minutes it will take me to get back in the groove of the lucrative commercial bid I was doing when the interruption occurred.

Bottom line: Keep it in perspective

I’ve found tripping over dollar bills to pick up nickels is never a good idea. These four rules help me recall the real cost of “saving money.”

Paige NeJame is the owner of CertaPro Painters of the South Shore and Boston. Connect with her at

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