What happens when you charge for free things

My left front tire has a slow leak. At a local gas station . . . after filling the tire at the free “air station” I pulled around to put in the petro.  Even at the astronomical prices, I had to wait a moment for a vacant pump.  As the gasoline pump sucked on my wallet I gazed across the street at the disserted competitor.

Gas prices were the same at both businesses.  Both had the required “fast food”, soft drinks, and candy.  However, the one where I got my free air was doing a brisk business while the competitors across the street had NO ONE there to buy gas.  No one.  Not one car at any of their 9 pumps.

Then I thought, “Is the deserted station, which charges $1.00 for the “convenience” of pumping air in your tires with their ‘air station’, impacted because of customer perception?”

Can it be that simple?  That the customer feels certain resentment about a $1.00 charge for air when the competitor is free.  That the customer FEELS like they are being nickel and dimed. (Which would not be hard to do with the price per gallon of gas).  When all things are equal, is there an attitude that shifts the customer’s loyalty when customer FEELS like they are being taken?

This started the air-station research.

Too busy to fix my tire leak, I stopped at a local tire store for directions.  The behind the counter employee pointed out that I should fill up my under-inflated tire at their free air-station.

I asked, “Is your free air a good thing?”

“Oh yes!  It gets people to stop here, so our business becomes a comfortable destination.  When they finally get around to fixing their slow leaks. . . .Guess where they come?”

The days of charging for your expertise and knowledge are dead.  Google took care of that (grin).  As fast of things are changing, I can give away all my expertise and yet my clients will still call me to help them grow their business because they know I will have the skills they need for THEIR individual problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *