Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

Fuel for Thought

Good, Fast and Cheap

Good, Fast and Cheap

By Greg Huggins
Posted Mar 14th 2017 8:34AM

A simple diagram says so much. What do you offer? What do you expect? What does your customer expect? As a consumer we might seek the unattainable, which is all three, but you can only pick two. As a business owner we know you can only give two, or you can give three, but it will most likely not be sustainable.

Good(or Great), Fast and Cheap. Pick two and only two. If you offer good and fast service, it comes at a price, which is not cheap. If you offer good and cheap service, it most likely will not be fast. Lastly, if you offer fast and cheap service, it will likely not be good.

Good and Fast

Good and fast is excellent service for the customer. Many customers seek this type of service, but if you provide it to them cheap, it will take a toll on you and your business. You and your equipment will wear out quickly and the cheap rates will not cover the costs. If good and fast are what you want to offer your customers, then cheap does not get to come along for the ride.

Fast and cheap

Fast and cheap is another combination customers seek. Getting it there quickly and for the lowest price is appealing to shippers, but the service may not be any good. Fast and cheap many times come with questionable equipment and may not be reliable to complete the task. Fast and cheap leaves no time, or funds, for routine maintenance and repairs to the equipment. Fast and cheap will keep you busy, but not necessarily profitable.

Good and cheapGood and cheap. These two can coexist, but not with fast. If you offer good and cheap, it may take multiple good and cheap loads at the same time to make a profit, therefore fast is out of the question. It will take more time to pick up several good and cheap loads and more time to deliver at multiple stops. While good and cheap may work together for you, don’t go too cheap or all the time spent at multiple locations will not make it worth the effort. A week spent on good and cheap loads, with the additional fuel and wear and  tear on your truck, will cut into any profits you might have made if these factors are not considered. 

What’s the best choice? It depends on your particular business and your goals.

Cheap with either fast or good is rarely the best choice. Understand your true costs to operate and charge accordingly. Cheap may put a few dollars in your pocket now, but in the long run you will just be getting farther behind. Your costs to operate will vary from others, so cheap to someone else may work for you, or vice versa, just so long as you understand what your business needs are to operate.

Good and fast would be the best choice, but only if your customer understands the costs associated with this type of service, and is willing to pay for this type of service. It is not cheap, or at least it shouldn’t be cheap. While there are a lot of shippers who focus on cost alone, there are many who understand quality transportation has it’s costs, and is worth every cent.

In the end, it is your business and you must make choices.

How do you want your customer to view you? If cheap is your answer, there are shippers for you, until you fail and they find a new cheap truck and driver.

If you give quality, that is to mean good and fast, you will find more customers who are looking for your service. Sow the seeds for a reputation of quality transportation services at a fair price, not cheap, and you will reap the rewards of repeat customers.

See you down the road,


A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.

Michael LeBoeuf


Please sign in or sign up to post a comment.  Or sign in with Facebook.