What is $60,000 worth to you?

By Dawn Shuler

dollar-signAs Mark is from Sitka, Alaska, and we plan on building a home there in the future, I’m following Sitka current events and (gasp!) politics.  Recently, a news story came across my stream on “Five ‘surprises’ about Sitka’s economy.”

I’m not going to go into the surprises; you can read the article if you care.

See, a planning consultant was hired for $60,000 to assist the Sitka Planning Commission with gathering community input. Not only did she gather information, and report on it, like any good consultant, she also gave recommendations.

What I actually found surprising were the comments about the consultant and her fee over on Facebook group where the article was posted.

Someone commented that if the $60,000 were for a yearlong assignment, that fee was reasonable.  But if only for a few months, then it wasn’t.


That’s the part that gets me. Isn’t the information itself worth the money? And are you telling me that someone would actually be happier if it took her a long time (12 months vs 3-4 months) to compile that data and give the report?  Really?

These commenters are basically equating value with length of time to produce something.  The longer it takes, well, then, the more valuable the product must be.


Mark told this story of a train engine technician who was called in to fix the train.  After an hour of looking around, he took his hammer, banged it on some section of the engine, and bam! The train engine fired up!

The railroad executive groused. “Why did we pay you $10,000 to fix the train? All you did was hit it with a hammer!”

The engineer replied, “Yes, but I knew EXACTLY WHERE to hit it.”

Another point: there’s a meme going around on Facebook with this text:

When you purchase a class or a service someone is providing, you aren’t just buying an hour or more of their time.

You’re purchasing

  • The dozens of books they’ve read
  • The thousands of hours they’ve studied
  • The many experts and elders they’ve sat under to learn
  • The years of life experience they’ve had in practical application
  • The hundreds of mistakes they’ve made to help you not have to make the same mistakes
  • The thousands of dollars they’ve invested in various trainings, certifications, degrees, etc.
  • The work they put into the marketing, videos, or space rental to create an environment you feel safe in

Consider carefully before you tell a teacher, a coach, a speaker, or a healer that their service or product isn’t worth the price you’re paying.  You don’t know the price they’ve paid to offer it to you.

So, what’s $60,000 worth to you?