I know there is a lot of back and forth on the forum about whether or not you should post your prices on a website and it seems there are quite a few forum members who are interested in your input. There are probably a lot of variables why you should or shouldn’t.
I for one do not post prices: 1. My main reason is I don’t want calls from potential customers who are price shopping (I focus on people who are willing to pay a premium) 2. By posting the price I would be defining the value of a job at X while the customer may be willing to pay Y. (if the posted prices says it will cost them $350 but in actuality they might be willing to pay $450) 3. There is only one other legitimate window cleaner in town, so when he fails to return calls guess where they come? This gives me an opportunity to price the work higher than I normally would.
When it comes to pricing I rely less and less on counting windows and more on “what is the customer actually willing to pay”. It comes down to comparing new jobs to others and giving the customer confidence that they won’t find a better person for the job.
Interesting. I go back and forth on this issue as well.
I count windows mainly because I need to know how long it’s going to take me.
But recently I start promoting 10 windows for $99 (some restrictions apply) and man people get excited over that number. It’s my regular price, but it’s memorable and easy to figure. Plus, I really like doing the smaller houses because I can knock them down like dominoes. The big houses mess with my head but I just say 15 windows $149, 20 for $199, etc. It scales pretty easy and it’s all about presentation.
I might put a ribbon on my website for my “special” but in general, I just won’t post prices.
Although, I have been considering just having set prices for specific things. Like track cleaning add $25. Bathroom mirrors add $15. Etc. Just simple numbers, simple add ons. As compared to $1 per track or $5 per mirror or whatever. I just want to make it easy for the customer to say, “Give me some of the $150… oh I shouldn’t, but give me a side of track cleaning at $25… and heck why not, add the bathroom mirrors on as well.”
I think at least some indication of pricing is helpful, however all encompassing or not it is
it can be done by just stating the minimum, from $X
it can filter out those whose budget/goal is definitely lower than $x
I think no price gets the lowball people just as much if not more since they want to know cause now they like you and want you and are hoping you’re lower than discount bargain town. which then leads to having to deal more “that’s crazy high!” responses than anyone wants to deal with.
I know when I’m shopping online going thru a lot of different websites, some indicator of pricing is helpful and expedites
but maybe its just me and your area sounds unique with only one other competitor, lol
In a round about way we can put ourselves in line with electricians, plumbers, painters, and they don’t typically even post their hourly rate. We don’t see electricians posting prices for changing 1,2, or 10 light bulbs, or a plumber posting a price for unclogging a toilet, granted they are more complicated trades. I recently did a job and turned $100/hr on it, if I would have actually priced it per window I would have been at my normal $65, a good example of the x vs Y perception. If I said I charge $100/hr I definitely would not have gotten the job.
if one has a niche and is perfect for it, that has the biggest draw for the right person, price is just the next step
if one is a commodity me too window cleaner with price first, then all those fears have more validity since the only differentiation in that enviroment is price. This is why some aspects of Angie’s List, and the new Amazon service set up seem more exploitive of vendors encouraging and setting up a race to the bottom
^own the conversation… that’s what i liked the most about that too. i’m not afraid of that conversation. so why not embrace it? why not aggressively pursue it? just get it out in the open and face it head on.
as much as we all like to believe otherwise, the percentage of buyers who devalue the price component of a purchasing decision vs the other components (professionalism, convenience, community feedback) is significant. open pricing pre-qualifies, speeds decision making (even impulse spending which is like a golden egg for a service based business), and simplifies your quoting process.
IDK, this concept always seemed like a slippery slope to me. I don’t mind the idea of going into a fancy restaurant and seeing “market price” listed on the menu, but if I found out I was charged more for my filet mignon than the guy at the next table, simply because I was wearing a nicer suit, I’d be pretty miffed.
My philosophy, is no one should have to pay more than our standard rates, unless we’re going above and beyond the normal service for them. That might mean an emergency weekend booking (50% premium), or going out of our way to accomplish the job. If I determine that I need (or simply want) to make $100/hr instead of my current $75, that means one of three things: 1) increase prices 33% across the board, 2) increase my efficiency 33%, or 3) choose some mix of the previous two. There is no fourth option where I decide that I’m just gonna hike up the price on customers who seem like they can afford it. But that’s just me.
If I feel like the average blue collar joe will have difficulty paying my higher prices, I figure out ways to make it easier on those individuals. On occasion I’ve offered discounts for people that are willing to “stage” the house for us: removing screens, storms, etc., and moving all furniture for us. That will save us considerable time, so the discount doesn’t cut into our bottom line.
Now this isn’t to say that I think everyone should have set per-window prices like we do. Some business owners prefer to consider more variables in their pricing. But I personally feel that “willingness to pay” shouldn’t be one of those variables. It can certainly be considered when it’s time to offer add ons and the like, though.
//soap box rant
I like having our prices posted. I think it cuts down on price shopping callers. And as far as I know, we’re still the only ones in our area who list our prices, so it provides some differentiation, as well.
the other day a price shopping customer calls and the first thing that comes out of his mouth was…
“how much do you charge per window”?
I said “it varies!”
he said…“Just give me a ball park number!”
I said…“from 25 cents to a dollar”
he hung up soon after so I assume he was either price matching another window cleaner or maybe trying to get into the business.
if he would have stayed on the phone long enough I would have told him that I add $300 for the transportation fee.
I did a side by side comparison a few years back with 2 websites for my father in laws cleaning business - one listed prices & the other didn’t and each had a different contact number so we knew which site the enquiries came from.
The site that listed prices generated more calls - not a huge amount more, but enough to be noticeable. The site that didn’t list prices converted more customers, despite getting less contact.
We found the people who had seen the website with prices were more likely to be looking for “the best deal” and often only wanted a one-off clean, but the customers from the other site were more likely to become long term clients.
After 18 months or so we removed the price calculator from the site entirely & never looked back.
Very interesting results. My takeaway from this is that everyone should try split testing. Every market is different, and this is the only effective way of dialing in on what people respond to in your respective market.
Chad can you expand on how your website pricing philosophy works? I see you don’t take one-time customers so how do you guarantee they will keep coming back? 95% of my customer are all repeat, but obviously you are onto something I should try… How many new customers do you even take on? I’m assuming if someone drops their service they’ll be replaced by someone on your waiting list?
I have a minimum charge for outside only of $270 and $370 for in/out. I am always honest with potential clients before I put them on my waiting list. I let them know I have a minimum of twice a year. It is not fair to them if I only go once a year. By going twice a year, they enjoy clean windows all year long. There is no guarantee they will keep coming back. I have been very fortunate over the years. Once I get a client, I don’t lose them. I do not take on any new clients. I am working as much as I want right now. If I lose a client, they will be replaced by someone on my waiting list.