I’m a business owner. As such, I incur costs from providing services to my clients, from banking fees for every transaction I process, to hosting fees for backing up my client’s sites before and during development.
An extremely important way that I build trust with my clients is that when I tell them a price, that’s the price they should pay. Sometimes less, but never more.
We’ve all experienced something similar to this situation: you sign up for a $40/month cell phone contract, but by the time they’ve added on line rental, roaming, credit card fees, voicemail, fees and taxes, your original “deal” isn’t quite the bargain that it sounded like.
This practice is all too pervasive today. In an effort to drive down prices and to give the appearance of a good deal, businesses are coming up with more and more creative ways to tack on fees and additional services which should all be included in the base price.
Perhaps it’s the industry I’m in, where price isn’t quite so important, but reputation and experience are, that I can afford to mark up my prices to cover my costs, but ultimately the customer is going to pay these fees whether you include them in your base price or not. The difference is the impression they get when closing the deal. On the one hand, the customer gets what they pay for at the price they always agreed to and are happy. On the other, they have the promise of a good deal, only to get more and more disappointed as they get closer to finalising the transaction, resulting in a customer that begrudgingly accepts the less-than-stellar deal and from the very beginning of your relationship with them, are dissatisfied with you.
This can apply to a whole host of applications, but I feel the same way about tipping your waiter/waitress and applying taxes on top of the cost of a product (I’m used to, and prefer, the British way of including taxes in prices so that the price on the shelf is the price you pay). It could even extend to shipping: have you ever been seconds from completing a transaction only to get gouged by a $12 fee for ground shipping? Seriously – just include the cost of shipping in the cost of the product and make things simple for your customers (and build their trust and loyalty in the process).
Let your price be your price.