Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pricing Part Two - Raising Your Prices

Afraid to raise your prices? Well, you are not alone.

When it comes to fear, the only thing it is ever going to do for your business is hold you back from living your dreams. We must be stronger than our fears if we are going to make a living doing what we love.
this is what I think of pricing (I’m just like you!)
argh by s h a r i
(image: shari thompson via flickr)
I’ll be totally honest. I am not immune to these fears. I have under-priced much of my work for a long time too. After a long hard look at my own true cost of materials, time and overhead, I raised my prices in one of my shops by almost 20% in one day. No announcement. No excuses. No explanation.

Was I scared? Yep. I was at first. I wondered if my sales would cease to exist. I wondered if I should have said something first. I worried that maybe I was just fooling myself into thinking that I knew what I was doing. Blah Blah Blah. Fear sucks and then you have to get over it by just DOING it. (sorry, but Nike has a point there.)

I got over it by counteracting my fear with a large dose of REALITY: I realized that if anyone was truly waiting to buy my work then they would just have to pay a little more for it. They could also choose to email me begging for a discount explaining that they were saving their pennies for two years just to buy one of my pieces – and I’d probably give it to them if they asked nicely enough. But you know what? I sold something two days later with no problem or mention of my prices at all.

That proved to me that any imagined problems that I thought I was going to cause by raising my prices were just that: Make Believe!

You see, what I have learned and now know for sure:

The true value of my work is not solely based in the time and materials I use.
I also offer very high-quality handmade products with really great customer service. I always make sure to offer lots of communication during the process to let them know how much care goes into every single order. I work hard for my customers and they reward me by ordering their stuff from me — even though similar products are easily found on the same site for 1/2 the price!

Still not convinced?

Consider this:
Just WHO are the throngs of “customers” that you *think* you are sparing by keeping your prices too low?
  • Are they really buying dozens of items every week because you are underpricing your work? 
  • Are they emailing you all the time telling you how thankful they are that they can afford your work and please don’t ever raise your prices?  
  • Do they come out of the woodwork when you need them to or are you still struggling to figure out how to *reach* them?
  • And really: Where are they when you really need to make a sale? 
If you’re going to be afraid of raising your prices, then please do yourself a favor and do NOT blame your imaginary customers for holding you back. They are not the problem. You need to sit yourself down and figure out what your true fears are and counteract them with the harsh reality of the situation: You need to make a living at this and you must do whatever what it takes to get yourself there. (The “whatever it takes” generally equals Confidence in your work, by the way)

Oh, and IF by some strange happenstance those imaginary “customers” are in fact real, then look at it this way — You wouldn’t want them for customers anyway, right? I mean, seriously – who wants to sell to a bunch of selfish, greedy people who don’t value you or your work?

Not me! :)

Have you raised your prices recently? Share your pricing stories with us!

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  1. I own a cleaning business, and am currently in "stomachache mode" about raising my prices. My customers have told me I do unbelievable work, but could it be they just say that because I am cheap? Who knows, although, I do know I do great work, and I think my first year in business I just wanted to gain customers, so I offered my quality service at a low rate to make myself think I had a booming business. Boy was I wrong. I was losing/breaking even on every job, and even my employees were getting upset because they knew I was charging too little. Friday is the big day where I'm going to charge more for my work, I have the price all set out, and my competition's rates as well. I am charging way beneath them, and also providing better work! Go figure. This is business, and I guess it comes with harsh realities, and standing your ground like the article said, "standing by your work". I'll actually come back to this site with an update, and if it doesn't work, hey, I'll just have to start from scratch again! Keep on truckin, life's a garden, dig it:)

    Craig Kalucki - Owner, Clean Freakz Residential/small office cleaning company

    1. Hi Craig!
      Yep. Raising your prices is pretty scary. Especially when we think that there's a chance of being rejected because of our actions. But just think - by raising your prices, you're actually one step closer to attracting the clients that YOU want instead of the clients that want you just because your prices are low. As they say, "work smarter, not harder" - whoever they are, they were right :)
      Good luck with everything!
      Marlo M.

    2. Update: according to a Google search, the person likely to have originated the phrase, "Work smarter, not harder." is Christopher Thomas. But that's mostly internet heresay. I can't seem to find the original source. Anyone have more info on that? Thanks :)

  2. I'm having a funny reaction to pricing my art. In my previous incarnation as a hypnotherapist, EVERY time I raised my prices, I actually got MORE clients. Never, ever lost one due to a rise in price, and ALWAYS had more business after I raised them. I raised them to the point that I was confident I was giving a good value for what I charged, and that I felt my work was worth it. It took me about 2 years to get to the right price - always going UP. So why, oh why is it so hard to apply the same lesson to art? :)


What do you think? I really want to know! :)

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