Last summer, my family took a trip to see the Ape Caves near Mt. St. Helens. It was a lot of fun become amateur spelunkers as we explored this long lava tube. The kids had a great time and it wore us out completely.
Since we had planned to stay for an extended weekend, I had planned for us to visit the Ceder Creek Grist Mill the next day. This is an old grain mill that had been restored and demonstrated how they turned large amounts of grain into flour. One thing the mill operator told us during his demonstration surprised me:
The Mill owner was often the wealthiest man in the county.
It didn’t surprise me when I found out why . . . .
Farmers would bring their grain and pay the mill owner to grind it in preparation for selling to the area merchants. The interesting thing is that the farmers would bring the raw grain in large barrels or sacks and then refill the same containers with the flower that was milled.
However, when grain is ground, it actually creates up to 50% more volume than the grain itself. So if I mill one bushel of wheat, I will end up with 1.5 bushels of flower.
The miller would keep the extra half bushel and also sell that to the merchants. This was a standard practice and the farmers had no issue with the arrangement.
What are you creating that you are not getting credit for? Even if you don’t feel you should charge for the extra service – do your customers recognize the extra value they get?
I once suggested to a client that if they provide a courtesy service, they should still create an invoice and then discount it. This does two things:
- Helps you track and measure any inventory and how much you discount.
- Provides tangible proof to your customer the value they receive. Chances are they are going to see the receipt a couple of times before it gets thrown away – extra reminders that you are looking out for their best interest.
Don’t just create value – make it count.