It is the classic dilemma: you want to have great service, done quickly and for a cheap price. But the laws of physics only allow you to have 2 at a time and here is why.
Here are the combinations of 2 choices at a time:
- Good and Fast
- Fast and Cheap
- Good and Cheap
Whether it is the study of law, how to price freelance work, or project management, the laws are the same – you can only pick 2 at a time. One exception seems to be cooking, but only when I am not in the kitchen!
Let’s review these choices from the perspective of a craftsman who builds custom homes.
Take the first combination: “Good and Fast”. This is a great selection because you get great work done quickly. The craftsman who constructs a well-built custom home quickly will have decades of experience, having learned where he can take shortcuts that will not affect the quality of the finished product. This level of provider knows that the market will pay him a higher price, hence he is “Not Cheap”
We now move on to “Fast and Cheap”. In this case, your custom home is put together quickly and for a lower cost. Quality workmanship for something as complex as a custom home cannot be rushed, and experienced craftsman know this. When he cuts the wrong corners or does the bare minimum to complete the job, you don’t end up with “Good” results.
Finally, we have “Good and Cheap”. In this case, you get a nice custom-built home but at a lower cost than the market drives. This means the craftsman will work on the home as time allows, allocating his scarce (and high-priced) time to other projects that will pay him more. You get your great home at a cheaper cost, but it will take a lot longer to get it done.
The bottom line: Good, Fast or Cheap: Pick 2. Do not try to fight it. The laws of physics will not allow you to win. The earlier you realize this in life, the easier it becomes to make decisions because you understand what you are giving up in your final choice.