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Money / Pricing strategy

Pricing for wimps: How to price for speed

Pricing for speed allows you to fit work in when you need it most whilst keeping customers happy with a more affordable service. Here’s how to do it right.

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The last article in this pricing strategyseries looked at how you don’t have to charge everyone the same price for the same product or service, and why you wouldn’t want to.

In this article I thought I’d write about a special example of this, which kills two birds with one stone.

It’s a tip that works fabulously for service businesses such as accountants, graphic designers, website developers and photographers.

And it’s called ‘pricing for speed’.

Most clients want their work done ‘yesterday’. Or so it seems. And this can be very stressful when you’re a one-man band.

But some clients can wait. They don’t offer to wait – why would they? But really, they don’t actually need their stuff right now, this week or even this month.

"Most clients want their work done ‘yesterday’. Or so it seems. And this can be very stressful when you’re a one-man band."

If you could move their work to fit into your quieter times – between big jobs, say – would that make your life easier? Yes?

Well how about offering the ‘non-urgents’ a discount for having to wait for their finished product or service? Your client gets the same job done, to the same quality and you get to fit the work in to a timetable that suits you.

What’s not to like about that?

Now, I do usually caution businesses away from discounting, so I realise this sounds contrary to my usual advice. But this isn’t a true discount: you’re not knocking the price down, you’re swapping part of the price for a benefit. You’re buying the flexibility around when to do the work.

If you like the idea of ‘pricing for speed’ then here are two important tips you need to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t publicise the speed discount. Keep it up your sleeve to use only when you’ve got plenty of urgent work on. You don’t want to give the discount without getting the benefit!
  2. Don’t replace the discount for ‘non-urgents’ with a surcharge for ‘urgents’. Although they are numerically the same, you’ll alienate your best customers. As humans we are inherently programmed to hate surcharges but love discounts.

What pricing strategy works for you? Could  pricing for speed work?

Read the full ‘Pricing for wimps’ series:

Julia Bickerstaff

is a business strategy, pricing and productivity expert. She is the founder of The Business Bakery, an organisation that helps women make a healthy income from their handmade, home-based or other intentionally small business.

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