Communicating Value and Price

I’ve been a big fan of Merlin Mann for several years now.  As I was checking out his website yesterday, I found his pricing page cheekily titled: Do You Charge Money to Do Things? Here’s how Merlin describes his pricing scheme:

For most all of my speaking, consulting, and advisory work, yes: I do charge a fee, plus expenses. And, candidly, I charge kind of a lot….  I learned a long time ago to only work for or with people with whom you have mutual admiration and respect—and who already think you’re valuable and great at what you do. In my experience, the folks who expect you to make a case for your own value make for terrible clients. They may be good negotiators and nice people, but working for them is a gut-wrenching travesty. And I don’t do travesties.

With all that said, I do a fair amount of (private, unpublicized, non-ribbon-based) work with non-profits and other deserving groups. And, no, I normally do not charge for this work. So, If you’re working for a good cause or represent an organization that’s trying to do something you know I care a lot about, please ask me. No promises, but I’ll do what I can with what I have.

So, yep. “Expensive” or “Free.” It’s a fee schedule that works.

I think it would work well on a firm website, and provides an important reminder every lawyer should have on their desk: “The folks who expect you to make a case for your own value make for terrible clients.”

2 Responses to Communicating Value and Price
  1. Catherine Mulcahey
    October 21, 2010 | 11:55 am

    Appropriate timing for me. Yesterday I took in a pro bono case and turned away someone who offered to pay me 20% of my usual fee. link to

  2. Transideation
    January 14, 2011 | 12:11 pm

    To me there is a difference between good diligence (picking the right lawyer and selling my expertise) and low-balling my fees.

    The first is making sure I am the right fit and have the skills and style that matches with the client. Great.

    Th second is saying–I understand you are the one I need but I want to get you for cheap. It is THIS client that causes havoc and will be a billing nightmare.

    I am happy to make a case for my value but if I do it, don’t try to get that value for bottom dollar.


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