Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you can substitute the item for something of equal value but less costly? Hello TeKsavvy!
When we returned to Calgary in the summer of 2014 we need to purchase some basic consumer services. Those included such things as telephone and Internet access. My immediate response after contacting the local telecom providers such as Rogers, Telus and Shaw was chest pains and shortness of breath. Compared to Europe, the cost of Telecoms in Canada is jaw droppingly expensive. Fortunately, there is an immediate action drill for that.
Immediate Action Drill-Shopping
- When purchasing a large-scale or costly consumer item, always scour the market to see if there are is an equivalent technology that will achieve the same outcome at lower cost. The military has achieved this in numerous ways. A good example of this is the use of unmanned aerial reconnaissance. Sending helicopters and aeroplanes to gather information over hostile battlefields is a risky and costly proposition. A much more inexpensive option is to send a small unmanned drone with cameras to scour the potential landscape that can loiter at altitude for hours without the need to return to base to refuel, go pee or run the risk of being captured.
- When we returned to Calgary, there wasn’t a great deal in price difference between the major Internet providers for basic Internet cable involving 25 MB per second internet download speed. For example, looking at Shaw cable’s website today in late December 2014 they are offering a $30 per month package. The deal is $30 for 6 months which then reverts back to their normal price of $60 per month thereafter. Once you’re signed up with a telecom company, it is a nuisance to be switching companies. In the industry this initial discounted rate is known as a “loss leader”. It’s designed to trick you into paying a much lower rate, getting you to sign up for a monthly direct debit package, then 6 months later when the rate goes up you are very unlikely to switch providers. As a business, when you make it difficult for consumers to switch to the service, it allows you to keep your profit margins very high.
- You kids are smarter than that. You’re going to keep digging a bit deeper and not be taken in by the initial loss leader of the $30 a month “sucker rate” that quickly reverts back to their normal rate that is double that, and that’s what we did. We found another smaller company that most of our family had never heard of called “TekSavvy”. With TekSavvy, they don’t have a “sucker rate”, you get the real rate from day one and that’s what it stays at, which in this case is $39.95 per month.
- So what happens at the one-year point? If we went with Shaw cable our totals spend at the end of one year would have been $540. With TekSavvy the total spend at the end of one year would be $479.40, a modest savings but remember that once you sign up with a telecom company it’s quite likely that you’re going to stay there for a few years. But it is the end of year two where the biggest differences are made. At the end of the 2nd year with Shaw we would have paid $720 vs $479.40, with TekSavvy, a savings of $240.60 every year of after-tax money.
- And here’s the most interesting thing, in Calgary with TekSavvy you are in fact getting Shaw cable. TekSavvy is simply a reseller of Shaw Internet, so we are getting the same Internet supplied at a drastically lower price.
- Is TekSavvy all sunshine and puppies? Would I recommend the service for everyone? No, absolutely not. Although we are receiving Shaw cable by a different name and I am very happy with the service that is provided, I would certainly not recommend the service for my parents who are in their 80s. If something goes wrong and they need support, support is given predominantly via e-mail and you don’t have the same level of telephone support that Shaw cable provides.
- You can follow the same principle with numerous other products and services, I will review a few others as we go along.