My youngest daughter is finishing up the tail end of her bachelor’s degree, and has been taking a few online classes to help expedite the process. One of those classes is Economics, and apparently her teacher doesn’t explain some of the concepts in understandable ways, so my daughter and I have had several extended text message sessions where she thinks she’s asking a simple question and I end up having to explain something via text that would be better off in a phone call. The crazy part of this is that while texting the answers I get to think about how some of these concepts affect Amerivet Services.

One of the questions had been about Supply and Demand, and I guess for me it’s a matter of symantecs and how complicated you want to make it. For me, I try to keep things simple when applying supply and demand to my business. I look for people and businesses that need what I have to offer, and then find ways to educate them on the fact that I have that service available. Well, maybe it’s not as simple as I thought, but I really try to keep it straight up because I could easily over-analyze it.

One concept that isn’t straightforward at all is elasticity, or the possible price range of a product or service in a given set of conditions. The problem with this is that the conditions change all of the time good or bad, which is why it’s “elastic.” I always call it “what the market will bear” because at any given moment the services we offer could be worth a different amount than we regularly charge. Under certain conditions we can charge more for our services, and under others we’d have to charge less. Of course, this is all at a danger of under-pricing and scaring customers away because they think we’re incompetent, or over-pricing and making them think we’re being arrogant.

I have a thought or conversation about what the market will bear almost every day. When I’m bidding or quoting work I have to decide what the given market will bear and then decide whether it’s a market where I can make a profit while making a customer feel like they’d like a repeat performance…because profits are REALLY about repeat performances. If a company does a good job and makes a good impression doing it, then hopefully the customer will call them next time they need service, and maybe even tell a friend about the great experience they had at the right price.

The successes Amerivet Services has enjoyed have all been repeat performances, where we’ve been able to demonstrate our abilities to a customer and then have that customer call us again and again. When customers know that we can solve multi-layered problems involving many different trades, we become a valuable resource to them and suddenly our relationship becomes deeper than “a job and a check,” which puts a smile on my face every single time. I absolutely love encore performances because they’re the best proof that we did things right the first time.

One example is a great customer named Al. Al called me a couple of years ago to do some minor repairs on one of his seal coating tanks, and he’s been calling me ever since. Yesterday he sent me a text message because he had a leaky seal on the agitation shaft of his new storage tank, and I agreed to go help him figure out how to adjust the seal pressure this morning. While I was there, he mentioned a hyrdraulic leak and I fixed it as well. I didn’t fire up the welder even once, and yet Al was happy because I’d been able to help him solve a problem. He called me one of the tools in his toolbox…ha ha.

I believe that what makes me a valuable “tool” for Al is that when I go to help him solve a problem, I try to teach him how to solve it himself next time it comes up. You’d think that’s counterproductive because he’d eventually run out of problems that he doesn’t know how to fix, but in my mind this isn’t the case. You see, I’m reasonably certain that Al talks to other people, and when he talks to them he’ll say something like “hey, I know a guy that can help you with that.” To me that’s where business growth comes from, and each time this happens the market will bear just a little more.

Many thanks to Al and all of the other people who’ve been so supportive of Amerivet Services over the years. They’ve helped make elasticity land on the positive side time and time again.