March 28, 2019

Value pricing in reverse: mowing the verge

Sent by Jonathan Stark on March 31st, 2019

Reader Nick Tucker graciously allowed me to share the following thread from the Slack room for the 10-Day Systems Challenge.

For context, Nick’s first message is in response to one of the daily exercises. Namely, to “find someone to take over a task that you feel has to get done, but that you’d rather never personally handle again.”

Nick Tucker

A quick one for me - the only grass area left to mow is the verge outside the house. There’s a guy who comes in regularly to mow the lawns and verge for the rental properties next door. He mows one third of the verge section (ie up to our boundary). Next time he’s there, I’m going to find out how much he’ll charge to do the entire verge area. It’ll take him maybe 7-10 minutes, but I’ll happily pay him $30 maybe more to not lose the 20 minutes plus it takes me to get organised and go do it, plus the cognitive load of knowing it needs to be done by having not done it... !

Jonathan (not Stark, a different Jonathan)

If thats all the grass it also means you can get rid of the mower, mixed gas, save some space, skip maintenance...

Nick Tucker

Exactly - the space in the shed will make a huge difference (it’s a very small shed!!). :grinning:

Jonathan Stark

Yep. You’re not paying for his 7-10 minutes. You’re paying to save your 20 minutes, plus all the stress, planning, materials, shed space, etc

Nick Tucker

Grass mowing guy turned up today, so plan put into action. Had to use value pricing concepts to get him on board - he was struggling to see how he could charge anything sensible for 3 minutes extra work, and I could see him feeling like the only option was to offer to do it for free, but not wanting to do so. So I highlighted that for him is was 3 minutes, for me it saved half an hour. He immediately got that there was a practical amount he could charge because of that. He offered a fixed monthly fee, paid directly to his bank account, he’ll mow the verge whenever he comes and it needs it (usually twice a month, three times in spring). Cost? NZ$10/month (US$7)... and we’re both happy. Value pricing really is win-win, as @Jonathan Stark always says. And that extra time / space / mental freedom is worth soooo much more to me...

Jonathan Stark

Great story! I love it :+1:

Nick used value pricing principles to help the mowing guy understand that he (i.e., Nick) wasn’t paying for his time (i.e., the mowing guy’s time) but instead, a list of outcomes that he (i.e., Nick) desired.

Isn’t it interesting that the mowing guy needed to be convinced to charge more than he (i.e., the mowing guy) thought was fair even though the client was happy to pay?

I betcha there are plenty of readers on this list who are in the same boat.

Pricing psychology… ya gotta love it!