Low Fee = Great service? Surely not

by Lee Onions

After recently returning from a client pitch (against 4 other agencies may I add), I listened to a client mention “quality”, “service” and “partnership” over and over again to then call me to say they’ve gone to the “cheapest”! This really got me thinking. How important is service and quality or is it purely just about cost?

The client claimed they wanted a recruitment partner they could grow with, whilst recruiting for a large volume of Engineers within a short space of time and made it clear that quality and service was of upmost importance. So I proposed that I spend time on each site and get to know the people within the business expose myself to the whole induction process so I can a) fully brief successful candidates and b) devise a pre interview questionnaire/trade test. The only thing I had left to do was to email my proposal including service and fees, something that probably should have been discussed face to face rather than via email but none the less, I emailed my fees, and awaited an answer. Soon after, I received a call to say that we were unsuccessful because we weren’t the cheapest? As you can imagine my immediate thoughts were what a waste of time! So I guess this begs the question, does service and quality really matter?


“I have clients who pay higher fees, but they choose to do so because of the service that they get and the piece of mind that they can leave me to do their recruitment.”


Don’t get me wrong I have clients who pay higher fees but they choose to do so because of the service that they get and the piece of mind that they can leave me to do their recruitment and receive a small amount of CVs all of which can do the job. I must have filled over 50 roles in the last 18 months alone and the relationship we have makes everything a lot easier. All the CVs are sent with a skills analysis thus making the interview process quicker and easier as it becomes more competency based and personality fit rather than having to establish a skill level. They also receive 2 working references, a good rebate period and their roles filled within a short space of time. They understand that they may be paying slightly more but also understand that they’re getting a service that is justifies paying the fees that they do.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times recruitment as an industry has been bad mouthed, most probably off the back of one bad experience and more than likely because they’d chosen the “cheapest” agency. Seriously, what do businesses expect, there are reasons why everything differ in price; cars, watches, clothing. We’ve all know heard the saying, you get what you pay for right? I believe this also applies to the recruitment industry. This experience has led me to totally rethink the FM Engineering pricing strategy and produce a structure, which I believe to be the first of its kind. We’ve created a structure which a business can tailor according to their exact needs, whilst keeping an eye on their budget, which is a god send to those bargain hunting business out there surely?


I’m keen to hear people’s thoughts....

Does service and quality really matter anymore?

What do companies expect for paying lower fees?

Is this just affecting the Engineering market or is this a wider issue?

Why do companies expect to pay less and still receive the same service?

What services would you pay a higher fee for?


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