Are you a taxi driver or a chauffeur?

I was on a call with a potential partner the other day (hey, Annie!) and she made an excellent point that really stuck with me: a lot of service providers seem to think that they can start charging premium prices for their services simply by raising their rates!

And then they wonder why they're not getting any new clients.

Have you noticed this around you? Here are some of the ways in which you can notice that someone is not truly a premium service provider (even if they charge premium prices): 

1) They're still using a "google.com" email ID for their business. Or worse, YAHOO!

2) You get on a video call with them and you see them working in a cluttered room with a bright blue IKEA plastic bag, a cat, a million papers and dying plants in the background. In their pyjamas!

3) They're still manually scheduling all their calls. And sending you 6 emails to book a time. 

4) They suck at follow-up and you never hear from them after the first call.

5) They don't stick to deadlines and don't have clear expectations laid out for you. 

6) They don't have a contract or scope of work. And they don't make it easy for you to get them signed online. 

7) They call themselves a "freelancer" or do multiple "side gigs" without going all in on their area of expertise. 

8) They charge premium rates - because DUH, they're "worth it". 

Do you see a pattern? It's like they're acting like a taxi driver - but expecting to be paid like a chauffeur. 

What they don't understand is this: going from a taxi driver to chauffeur is not about raising your rates. It's about raising your game. 

To be a chauffeur, you need to:

  • Drive a fancy car
  • Not drive like a lunatic
  • Be pleasant to interact with
  • Control your road rage
  • Wear a suit
  • Open the door for the customer
  • Help your customer with their bags - before and after the trip
  • Arrive on time
  • Make sure your car smells amazing

And THEN you get to charge 5X the price that a taxi driver charges. It's because the experience is 5X better.

You see - you can't half-ass a premium brand. Every detail matters. If you're going to go premium, then go all the way. 

If you can't go all the way, just find a non-premium niche for you to shine in. That's totally fine. People have become millionaires and billionaires doing just that. (Think ramen noodles. Not premium, yet totally popular.) 

It's much better then half-assing a premium brand - because your clients are not dumb. The ones that pay for a chauffeur can smell a taxi driver's cigarette stench a mile away. 

xo, Satya