On Transparency in Pricing

Many entrepreneurs who provide services as opposed to products are faced with the challenge of pricing. Even I have struggled with people working to negotiate prices with me. And you know what I’ve realized? Everyone wants to be paid what they’re worth but most of us (except the true entrepreneur) doesn’t want to pay what a service is actually worth. For example, one of my clients, Vince Jamael, is a professional groomer. When we were in college, Vince was the campus barber. He would charge guys $30 per month and provide unlimited haircuts. At the time, haircuts were going for about $10 and the standard for many men of African descent is to get a haircut once a week. So you’re really saving $10 a month. Not too shabby. But, as Vince got better, the demand for his service increased. Now, if you’ve taken Econ 101 (or ever watched the news), you know that, the higher the demand for a product, the more one can charge for it. So Vince ended that monthly plan program. Of course some people were disappointed but Vince realized two things: 1) He had a gift that he could making a living from and 2) He needed to go to school to become a licensed barber. So his prices went up. And people kept coming to him because, by this point, he had developed a reputation of being not only one of the best barbers in Greensboro but also in North Carolina, having won a major grooming competition in Charlotte, NC the summer prior to entering barbering school. Now, less than a year out of formal barbering school and two years after receiving his bachelors, Vince is a groomer with Adrian Fanus Grooming in Brooklyn, NY. He is getting the exposure (and pay) that he deserves. 

But I digress. I began that story to make the point that setting prices as an entrepreneur is difficult but you must be firm and transparent. I just changed my price list because of an increase in demand as well as realizing that I have years of success in professional development and branding experience. If I charge you $80 for a résumé or cover letter that gets you into an interview for a $40,000/year position, you should think you got a deal. The same is true if I charge a business a $300 monthly fee for managing their social media. The problem is, most people think that résumés and Twitter accounts should be free. And they are… if you maintain them yourself. But do you fix your own wiring when the lights in your home go out? No. You hire an electrician who posts set prices. And you pay them. Without negotiating. So why not pay an expert a set, non-negotiable fee to make add to your professionalism or your business’s brand?

If your employer tried to haggle with you about your already set salary, you’d feel as if he didn’t value your work enough to pay you what you were worth. Need I say more?


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