Good, Fast, Cheap: A New Take


Good, Fast, Cheap: A New Take

by Joe J Thomas

Good, Fast, Cheap - Pick 2
There’s an old project management saying that states: “Good, Fast, Cheap – Pick Two”.
The implication is that it is impossible to have a project that embodies all three qualities (good, fast and cheap).

Using this saying, we are faced with the following possibilities:
1) Good + Fast (with the cost being high)
2) Good + Cheap (with the delivery time being long)
3) Fast + Cheap (with the quality being low)

I’d also like to include a “Pick One” option, which would add these to the mix:
4) Good (high quality, regardless of time and cost)
5) Fast (speedy delivery, regardless of quality and cost)
6) Cheap (low cost, regardless of quality and time)

As a Voice Actor, I am acting as an independent business owner. This gives me the freedom and the responsibility to determine the quality of my product, the speed of delivery, and the pricing. However, in reality, the choices I have made in my business do not allow for all six options.

Good” is a given. Quality is an essential component of my finished products. I would not lend my efforts or name to anything that is sub-par. The rest of the project is dependent on this trait. “Quality is not negotiable”.

Cheap” doesn’t live here. I don’t provide bargain-basement pricing, no matter how much time you give me, or how little quality is called for (see above). Lowering prices just to get a job tells others that I do not value myself or my product. The pricing I give is competitive based on the job and the market.

Fast” refers to speed of delivery. I see this as a function of the amount of work needed to make a quality product, married to the other projects that are on my current schedule. I do make every effort to meet customer deadlines, including working odd hours and weekends. But there is a minimum amount of time needed for each job to be completed and still maintain quality standards. You can’t cook a 25 pound turkey in an hour by turning the oven up to 5,000 degrees.

These leave me with only two real options:
*) Good
*) Good + Fast

Both options provide a high-quality product, competitive pricing, and delivery speed based on the work and my schedule. If a fast delivery is needed, and it is possible given the project and my schedule, then I will adjust my schedule to accommodate, with no price adjustment. I see this as a way to show good faith in the possibility for future work, rather than an opportunity to raise the pricing.

So, what happens when someone wants a discount, or needs it faster than I can provide? I will politely refuse the work and refer them to other providers. It’s the only honest solution, and is “good karma” in the long run. Hopefully they will appreciate both the honesty and the referral.

How do you run your business?

Originally published in “The Pickup: A Newsletter For Voice Actors”, July 15, 2014 issue.
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7 thoughts on “Good, Fast, Cheap: A New Take

  1. My GOODNESS Joe Thomas… This is artful sir. Darn, this piece delivers! What a wonderful introduction to your website. You’ve quantified something here that really struck home with me. The printer is humming… Thanks!

  2. Good piece, Joe. My experience with good faith and karma returns in this industry have generally proven to be vaporware. There have been exceptions, but few.

    I agree with your method although I’d follow that course to be pleased to look at the man in the mirror each morning.

  3. Pingback: Good, Fast, Cheap: A New Take - Joe's Dump | Vo...

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