Talking about money isn’t easy. But as a professional, there are few things more important than being able to settle on a fair price with your customer — and to get the conversation back on track when things get complicated.
Here are three tips for a smooth productive price talk, from the Top Pros who know.
1. Do Your Research
Setting a price that works depends on a number of different factors, from the cost of your materials to the level of demand in your area. If the prices in your area are a mystery to you, Thumbtack’s pricing data might be a huge help. It’s an easy way to wrap your head around average national prices in your industry, as well as at in your zip code.
“You need to be priced competitively. Often clients have a number in mind, so knowing that number and what your competition will charge is important for picking a reasonable in your rate,” says Top Pro resume writer Tiffany Cruz.
2. Adapt Your Pricing Over Time
Understanding where your company is in its development — i.e. just starting out, growing or in maintenance mode — is crucial to understanding what you can and cannot realistically ask of your customers. No matter how incredible your services are, few customers will pay high ticket prices on a service that hasn’t been well-reviewed.
“In the beginning I figured that offering a high-quality service meant charging top rate prices. Of course, we didn’t have any jobs under our belt so that wasn’t going to happen. I brought the price down to a reasonable rate to get my name out there and business has been growing ever since,” says Jonathan Johnson, whose photo booth company has been hired 200+ times since opening its doors on Thumbtack.
If you’re still building your reviews, you might consider pricing at the lower end of your market, like Jonathan. As your company grows, those prices will go up naturally. According to Top Pro stylist Jessica Rae Miller, who built her business from scratch using Thumbtack, you shouldn’t be afraid of losing customers when you increase your customers. If you’re being smart about it, raising your prices will actually open you up to a whole new pool of potential clients, who are willing to pay for the extra service and expertise.
3. Provide a Price Upfront
The earlier you start discussing price with your customer, the more comfortable and natural that conversation becomes. If your business uses standard pricing that doesn’t change from job to job, put your pricing front and center in your quote message. If on the other hand your pricing is complicated, you might try getting on the phone with your customer as soon as they reply to your quote.
For Top Pro house cleaner Paige Rounds, following up on every request is key. The moment Paige hears back from a customer, her company, MaidPro Wichita, schedules an “onboarding call.” The 10-minute chat covers everything from timing, (the company uses three-hour windows) to products used, and finally: price.
“We have one-time cleans, recurring cleans, and then a range of add-ons (windows, ovens, fridges). We make sure all of this is clear to the customer before we schedule an appointment. We don’t want to show up expecting one number only to discover they expect something totally different,” says Paige.
Customer Tip: Price Openly and Put It in Writing
According to Thumbtack customer Kara B. who hires professionals for a living as the director of operations at a large hotel in Los Angeles, you know a pro is trustworthy once you’ve seen a full breakdown of their price. Kara won’t even considering hiring a pro until she’s seen exactly what’s included in the estimate.
What’s more — she gets it down in writing. “I always message back and forth with customers in the Thumbtack app when working out the details of a job, so everything is accounted for in one place. That way I have something to refer back to if there is every any confusion on price.
Looking for more ways to increase your business? Learn how to market yourself with these tips from Thumbtack’s Top Pro marketers.