September 21, 2018

The Value of Experience

Neeraj Bahal
Founder, Fasttrack Financial Planners

The Value of Experience

I am sharing a recent experience and learnings from it.

You might have read about the similar story on Facebook or WhatsApp but when something of this sort happens to us… is when we understand and give importance.

It was a normal day at office and as usual I reached at 9 a.m. While trying to open the door, to my surprise, the key wasn’t getting the right revolution so the door wouldn’t open. In my over-enthusiasm, to try and get things going, after a number of unsuccessful attempts and about 30 minutes, I successfully managed to get the key stuck in the keyhole. The key wouldn’t come out of the lock which was embedded in the door.

Frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t start my day on time, I went down in the search of a keysmith, who could help. Finally, I found one who would sit below a tree near my office. He came at about 10 a.m. and I was his 1st customer standing there, waiting for him.

I took him to office where the key was still stuck and requested him to help, he asked some basic questions, started working and within 5 minutes he managed to open the door. I asked him if there is a problem with the key or the lock set and he said no it sometimes gets stuck, I asked him how much I owed him for his services and he said Rs. 350/ -.

For him  I was his first customer and for me I was just relieved and wanted to start my day’s work so I paid. I paid his charges and took his number.

After a few days when I was shutting office, again the same thing happened and the door wouldn’t shut this time, again the same dilemma. It was 7.30 pm time to go home, tired and frustrated I was again stranded at night.

I called up the guy and fortunately, he was also about to leave, I requested him to come to office and help again. He came he saw he tried and within 3 minutes the key worked again.

I was surprised and asked again if there was any problem with the lock set to which he replied none. This time again he asked for 350 again and I was a little miffed and asked him a question which is very common

“Itna kyun bhai? Sirf 2 minute to lage kholne main aur main pehle bhi to paise de chuka hu! Same key hain same lock hain. Isme naya kuch nahi kiya tumne. 2 min ka 350 rupya???

(Why so much? It took just two minutes to open it and I just paid you this morning as well! It’s the same key and same lock. You haven’t done anything new, Rs. 350/- for a 2-minute job???)

And then what he said actually was a lesson in hindsight.

He said and I quote sir yeh do minute main kholne ke liye mujhe 18 saal ka practice laga hain. 350 uska charge hain”

(I managed to open the door in 2 minutes because I practiced for 18 years. I’m charging you for my experience)

Sometimes we always look at the price we pay and seek value in the services provide and always weigh time taken with the service provided. However, the most important thing we forget is the experience of the person providing that service.

Instead of being happy about getting free early and fortunately getting a person who was efficient I  started questioning the method.

He was a professional and had a particular skill set which he had mastered over a period of 18 years and it was that experience which allowed him to perform his job efficiently and it was not my place to question it.

When I speak to financial advisors they are always concerned that clients raise questions when a fee is charged the first time or on renewals. The most frequent question being, “ you have not made any changes to the portfolio, then why the fees?” Sometimes it’s not necessary to change if the journey is long and we are on the right path and all you need to do is monitor.

It is the experience of an advisor which is acquired by years of study and learning and gained by harnessing the skills that command that fee.

We don’t question a doctor for the medicine he gives or a lawyer for the fees they charge. The same way one should not question the person who one has been entrusted to handle one’s wealth?

To conclude, in our DIY world, we could always do things ourselves. This experience showed me that I tried, but I didn’t have the bandwidth or the requisite skill set and I wasn’t successful. Hiring a professional and trusting him with what he did was the most efficient solution to handle something I couldn’t. So whether it’s something as simple as fixing a lock or fixing one’s financial life it’s good to be informed but it’s always better to trust….

2 Thoughts to “The Value of Experience”

  1. Good One. Keep writing.

  2. Uttam Kumar sen says:

    Thanks for sharing the experience. It’s really helpful for self assessment.

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