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I talked last week with a young lady who owns a landscaping business on the East coast. She also does snow removal, which is a smart way to help pay the bills during the winter months.

She got a call from a guy about cleaning 300 feet of his driveway. When she told him what her minimum trip charge was ($300), she heard the world famous, “Your rates are too high!”

I’ve had other contractors call me wondering how to deal with the, “We can’t afford you!” responses. Ok, ladies, guys, once again. . . NO MORE GUILT FEELINGS ABOUT WHAT YOU MUST CHARGE YOUR CUSTOMERS TO STAY IN BUSINESS. You have families to feed, bills to pay and when was the last time anyone volunteered to work for you for free?

Now, if you want to provide a charitable service, be intentional about it – decide that you are donating your time to provide your services to someone (or everyone!). I don’t object to charitable work, as long as you realize that it is what you are doing.

Otherwise, when they tell you what they want done, you tell them what it will cost. If you have a minimum trip charge per job or per service call, tell them on the phone exactly what the charge will be. Then if you hear . . . “Your price is too high”, or “We can’t afford you” or “Please help me out” or “You need to be more aggressive in your pricing” or any of the other reasons you should work for less, you will know to pass on this opportunity. Let someone else do the work for their cost only.

Know also that you are smart to avoid getting involved with someone that will likely be very hard if not impossible to collect from after 2, 3 or more invoices. Because if they are complaining before you fix their hurt, what are they going to do after you have left?

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