What is value?

A patient of mine once shared with me a funny anecdote about value. He had received a high quote for some work he was having done around the house. When he asked the contractor about it the gentleman’s reply was something to the effect of “You’re not paying for the wood and nails, you’re paying for the swing of the hammer.” Basically you get what you pay for and truly skilled work is valuable. I don’t know how common that saying is, but it was the first time I’d heard it and I love how it puts perceived cost and value into perspective.

I’ve often asked myself what is relationship between the words "price","cost", and "value"? How do we as Acupuncturists provide value to our patients and how does that affect what we charge for services? Do you treat tons of patients and charge next to no money, or do you treat a very small number and charge them extremely high prices? There’s no right or wrong answer. Many Acupuncturists come to different conclusions that are correct for them. Factors that go into this decision for me include:

1) What's good for the longevity of Acupuncture as a profession?

2) How does my body hold up physically when seeing a lot of folks per week at a low cost (175+ visits) or a very few (20-25 visits) at a significantly higher cost?

3) Which is the best for the patients that come to see me? And what allows them to get the best results here at my shop compared to anywhere else. (The most important factor in my opinion).

While putting myself through school I've worked both ends of the pricing spectrum in not only Acupuncture, but also manual labor, restaurant work, strength coaching and even graphic design. Does something being low cost mean it's a good value? Does something that costs more mean it's worth more? Patients of Acupuncture have a lot of choices in New Hampshire and ultimately have to decide for themselves. I believe value is the intersection of quality and price. How often do we buy something based off of cost alone only to be disappointed in the product or service? The bliss of a low price tag is often quickly replaced by the sting of realizing you did not receive the expected benefits. Furthermore how often have we had the temporary high of spending a large sum of money only to be disappointed in the amount of happiness you extracted from what you spent the money on?

"Price is what you pay, value is what you get"-Warren Buffet.