There are times that I’m asked something like “why do you charge ‘x’ to write a simple letter?” (or webpage, proposal, etc)
While many professionals get annoyed when justifying their price, I have found that it’s really better to make the asker understand that they aren’t paying for the actual “work”, but for the results that the work produces.
Take my line of work for example: Let’s face it – anyone can put words on paper and write a letter. Or copy for a webpage. Or a marketing proposal. There’s nothing to it – press a few keyboard buttons. A child can do it.
But will it be read by strangers? And get you the result you want? THAT’S what you are paying me for.
This reminds me of a great story that’s been floating around the net’ for a few years (I do not know who to credit for this – if anyone knows, let me know):
“The huge printing presses of a major Chicago newspaper began malfunctioning on the Saturday before Christmas, putting all the revenue for advertising that was to appear in the Sunday paper in jeopardy. This was a big problem. None of the technicians could track down the cause of the malfunction. Finally, a frantic call was made to the retired printer who had worked with these presses for over 40 years. “We’ll pay anything; just come in and fix them,” he was told.
When he arrived, he walked around for a few minutes, surveying the presses; then he approached one of the control panels and opened it. He removed a dime from his pocket, turned a screw 1/4 of a turn, and said, “The presses will now work correctly.” After being profusely thanked, he was told to submit a bill for his work.
The bill arrived a few days later, for $10,000.00! Not wanting to pay such a huge amount for so little work, the printer was told to please itemize his charges, with the hope that he would reduce the amount once he had to identify his services.
The revised bill arrived:
$1.00 for turning the screw
$9,999.00 for knowing which screw to turn. “