Resolve to Let Clients Set Your Price


I’ve been using my “You Decide” fill-in-the-blank invoice, for over a year now.  In that time, I’ve found time and time again that my clients pay me more than I would have charged them.  And, in situations where clients demand a fixed price, I’m quoting them much higher prices (coupled with a money-back guarantee) than I would have before my invoice experiment.

Even though I’ve been doing flat-fee work for almost a decade, I used to (even subconsciously) focus on the time it took me to do something.  Now, everything I do is focused on delivering the biggest “bang” for my clients, knowing that the “bucks” will come.  I don’t track phone calls, preparation time or limit meetings, and I don’t charge for materials, travel, meals or other expenses.  In short, I trust that my clients will take care of me if I take care of them — and they always do.

In 2010, I’d encourage you to resolve to let your clients set your price — at least once.  Ask a trusted client to list all the services they’d like you to provide for them.  Suggest unlimited phone calls, regular meetings, document reviews, etc.  Provide all these services to them for a month’s time.  Then, ask them what they’re willing to pay for all the work you’ve done.

You may find your clients value your services more than you do.

3 Responses to Resolve to Let Clients Set Your Price
  1. Upwardaction
    January 12, 2010 | 5:45 am

    Very cool. I’ll give it a try for an upcoming proposal. Interested to see what happens!

  2. RizzoTees
    March 11, 2010 | 4:10 pm

    This still freaks me out! But talking to you about it, I have to think this is a major selling point to your clients

  3. Tomasz Stasiuk
    April 27, 2010 | 11:42 pm

    Matt, I read your writings about this before. But, I am concerned on how this impacts repeat business. I am concerned about the negative emotional impact of a “pay what you think it’s worth” model.

    As a customer, I feel that this puts the onus on me. Rather than having a definite price, I have to figure out what the service was worth. It also puts pressure on me not to appear cheap, which is aggravation I do not need. As a result, I might pay more than what I think the service was worth; but, I would resent having done so. If there was an option of providing return business, I might go with a competitor that does not put me in this position.

    I think a slight tweak relieves this pressure: present the customer with an invoice fully describing the services, time spent, and the final cost. However, at the end include a statement which reads, “this is the value we feel we provided. You can raise or lower this amount to whatever you think is fair.

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