We'll take the premium option please

Philip Morgan

The wildfires here in Sonoma County are contained, it's been raining for the past week, and the focus now is cleanup of the burned-down houses.Each burned-down house generates literally tons of debris, and that's before you account for potentially removing the heavy concrete foundation. (TIL that houses weigh ~200 lbs/square foot for single level homes, ~275 lbs/square foot for 2 levels and ~350 lbs/square foot for 3 levels!)I also recently learned that there are basically 2 options for debris removal. You can agree to let the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) do it for you and they'll bill your insurance company up front for the work, or you can hire a construction contractor to do it for you. The FEMA option is less expensive, and because the homeowner doesn't ever see a bill for it, it's "free" to the homeowner. The hire-a-contractor option is likely to be more expensive for the homeowner, and they have to orchestrate the project.Finally, because the opt-in deadline for the FEMA option was yesterday, I learned that about 80% of homeowners went for that option.Looks a lot like the good ole' 80-20 rule in action.I don't have a lot of data to support this, but I believe the same applies to markets. 80% of the professional services buyers out there are going to go for the cheaper option, whatever that is. No wonder there's a race to the bottom!But that still leaves 20% of the market happy to pay a premium rate to get something they value more than low cost.I know this might sound a bit crazy, but friends of ours who lost their house in Santa Rosa are not going with the cheaper FEMA debris removal option because they want more control. They want "bespoke fire debris cleanup".Maybe the foundation on their house can be saved? FEMA won't take the time to find out; the FEMA contractors are optimized for speed and low cost, so they'll pull out the foundation regardless. A private contractor can afford to take the time to do it right because they're not operating on a large government contract.Their property is on a hill, and they're concerned that the FEMA contractors might tear up the terraced landscaping as they do their thing. The private contractor can work more slowly and less "efficiently" in order to take better care of the landscaping. (Oddly, their house burned down but all the oak trees on their property were essentially untouched by the fire.)There are tons of benefits that you might offer so that a "top 20% buyer" sees strong value in your more expensive offering.So as you're assessing a market, make sure you get a sense of whether you're dealing with a "bottom 80%" or a "top 20%" buyer. The bottom 80% buyers might seem like an unattractive market (because they are!) but the top 20% buyers might be very different to work with.Want help improving your positioning or marketing? I offer a small group program to help you do exactly that: http://positioningacceleratorprogram.comClick here to get more info on this program sent to your inbox: /inquiry/positioning-accelerator-program/-P