This is Melanie Jury’s inspiring story. If you would prefer to watch the full interview, you can find it on my YouTube Channel here: https://youtu.be/9X6LSo9FNo4
Melanie Jury started her bookkeeping journey in the mid 90s. Her family had a business, and she was bookkeeping for that company, which then led her into other companies.
Melanie then started her own bookkeeping business, but at that time, she was raising her children and didn't have very many clients. That was a good thing because she wanted to raise her children and be there for them.
Melanie’s company was all manual and desktop-based, there was no cloud software, and it grew very fast. So did the family business, and this meant she had to take a step back from her own company, let it go, and focus on the family company.
In the end, that didn’t really lead anywhere for Melanie, so she left the family business, and started over with her new company. But she knew her pricing was wrong, and that she needed to fix it. In an interview I had with Melanie in October 2021, she told me, “I didn't know what to do. I wasn't making any money, and I wasn't going anywhere. I knew I was doing something wrong. So, I reached out to the Canadian Professional Bookkeeping organization, and had a few discussions with them. And they said, ‘You're doing everything wrong; you need to talk to Mark Wickersham, and you need to be part of some different organizations.’ So, I started doing some research and started watching all of what you had available via Facebook or YouTube, and realized that this was where I needed to be.”
That’s when Melanie joined the Value Pricing Academy and started taking action. Now, she’s tripled her revenue in less than 6 months and finally has some money to invest in her company and in herself.
Melanie told me that the problems she had with her pricing stemmed from herself and her mindset. She said, “I think that as bookkeepers we are so conscious of pricing, and I was scared to charge too much. So, I kept increasing my hourly rate because I wasn't making enough money. Then I hit the $50 an hour mark and thought I couldn’t continue to raise my prices.”
Melanie realised she had to raise her prices. She used the Effective Pricing software to look at a bookkeeping pricing model and used that to come up with a new price for each of her existing clients.
Melanie spoke to her clients and gave them forewarning that their prices were going to increase, and she emphasised her value and worth to them. The result was positive. Her clients came back to her and agreed that she was worth it and that they’d been underpaying her.
Some of those clients Melanie doubled the price of, some she even tripled!
I asked Melanie how that repricing conversation went with her clients. She told me that she phoned her clients up, because they’re busy people, to let them know she was changing her prices. Then, when she’d done that, she sent them an invoice with their new monthly amount.
Melanie got her clients set up with automatic payments, so she is never waiting to get paid. She gets paid at the beginning of the month, before the work is done.
Melanie used Effective Pricing behind the scenes to come up with her new prices for her clients. She used it to test out new prices.
Then, even though she wasn’t fully set up with the software and ready to use it, she went ahead with her repricing. Melanie said to me, “I couldn’t wait to increase my pricing, so I just went for it. And I was confident. I have good relationships with my clients. If clients wanted to go, they would have to go. I wasn't going to be scared. And nobody left. In fact, I've gotten more clients.”
Melanie said the pricing conversation felt like it should be a daunting process, but when she actually did it, it wasn’t. She told me, “Sometimes you get inside your own head, and you make this big mountain out of a molehill, and it really doesn’t need to be that way. At the beginning I was a little bit afraid, then when I actually did it, I had the confidence, and my clients just went for it. They were all good. And I am happy. Very happy!”
On average, Melanie increased her average price by at least 50%, and told me that her revenue tripled!
When she was hourly billing her clients, extra jobs would suddenly come up, and she wasn’t tracking her time accordingly. Melanie said, “It’s so hard to do that. You just can’t keep track minute by minute, it’s too hard. Hourly billing is terrible!”
Melanie told me that, although she didn’t lose any clients in the repricing process, she did get pushback from one particular client. In the past, Melanie had let go of this client, but the client sought her back out because she’d gone through so many bad bookkeepers. Melanie took her back on as a client, but the client then had qualms with Melanie’s fixed pricing.
Melanie said, “I told her, ‘Listen, you can go, that’s okay, but I’m not changing my pricing. I will give you rewards – if you use things like Hubdoc or move to the cloud.’ But she hasn’t made any of those changes and she’s continuing to pay my amount, so I think she just needed some pushback.”
Melanie knew she was worth her price and told her client that if she didn’t want to pay that, she was free to go somewhere else with no hard feelings. Two months down the line, that client is still with Melanie.
I asked Melanie what the future held for her business; what the next few things she had planned were. She told me that she’s focusing on sorting organisational sections out in her company right now.
Then, she plans to get back into building her three packages. And after that she wants to work on her testing and the behavioural rewards she can offer clients.
Melanie told me she hopes to have all that in place by December 2021. Then she wants to create a virtual brochure.
Now that she has enough money to invest in her business, Melanie has just purchased a domain for a new website for her business, so she’s currently working on that too.
I asked Melanie how she feels about the future, and she said, “I’m so excited! I’ve opened my eyes to so many different things that are available to us, and we’re a lot stronger than we think we are! And I think the first thing is that mindset, you really have to get your mind in the right place to be able to do all this. I feel super empowered by doing what I’ve done on this journey. Learning from my peers has been great, roundtable discussions, being very community-oriented is all great. And we learn from each other’s mistakes. So it’s been a great journey and I’m looking forward to everything that’s in store for me.”
I asked Melanie what her top tips for anyone else on this journey would be. She said:
Watch the full interview with Melanie on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/9X6LSo9FNo4
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Wishing you every success on your pricing journey.
Chartered Accountant, Public Speaker and Author of Amazon No.1 Best Seller “Effective Pricing for Accountants”
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