• Tom Lewis

“If You Think It’s Expensive To Hire A Professional To Do The Job, Wait Until You Hire An Amateur.”



Over the years, I’ve heard this quote from time to time but never thought too much about it until I became a business owner. Just recently it showed up again on my Facebook feed, coupled with an image of Leonardo DiCaprio, from the movie The Wolf of Wallstreet. Something that day made me investigate who the original quote actually belonged to. Oddly enough, the statement originates from a man named Red Adair, an American oil well firefighter who pioneered the highly specialized profession of extinguishing and capping oil well blowouts. Adair and his team are probably best known for extinguishing the oil well fires set by Saddam Hussein in Kuwait during the Gulf War in 1991.


Adair was obviously an expert in his field and set his price accordingly. He understood that his knowledge and experience had an inherent value that would actually save someone money if they would allow him to do the job right the first time.


The cost of doing it “wrong.”

What’s interesting about this quote is the fact that many of us don’t take heed of its simple advice until it’s too late. Everyone wants a good deal and to feel like they kept themselves from being taken advantage of, but quite often this approach can backfire on you if you’re not careful. Most people don’t value what they don’t understand, so they set their own “internal” price and find someone inexperienced to match it. Unfortunately, this can be a very costly decision.


When I relate this to my own business, advertising, I think about the folks that made the decision to use an inexperienced resource and what it actually cost them in the end. I’ll give you a hypothetical example: A company gets a “cheap” logo done by a family friend, that just happens to have a design application on their computer. The company uses the logo on their new signage, collateral materials, billboards, TV spots, print ads, etc. Later on, they find out that their name was already being used and trademarked by a competitor. They also realize that the logo they are using doesn’t look professional and the big investment they made in marketing failed miserably. So what do you think that cost their business in the end? It’s hard to put a value on the business they lost during that time, but I do know for certain that this type of expensive mistake can cost someone their business.


Go with what you know.

If you’re going to wheel and deal on something make sure it doesn’t have the potential to ruin your company. You have one chance to make a good impression, so make it count. Save that kind of bargain shopping mentality for bidding on eBay, or haggling at garage sales. I’ve seen some really smart people make some really bad mistakes in this area, thinking that they were saving themselves a few bucks. Don’t fall victim to this short-sided thinking, find an expert you really trust, ask a lot of questions, and allow them to guide you in a direction that’s beneficial to your business.


What’s been your worst experience after hiring an amateur?

Tom Lewis, Partner | Creative Director

With over 25 years of professional advertising and design experience, Tom has spent much of his career working with a variety of companies throughout the southeast. His client list includes Lenoir UNC Health Care, Maola Milk, Hutchens Law Firm, Wayne Community College, Craven County Tourism, Nash County Tourism Guardian Repellent, Equifax, Georgia Pacific, Primerica, Weyerhaeuser, The Atlanta Hawks, Randstad Staffing and The Shizzle Jerk Marinade.


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