How to price special projects that come up without notice

value pricing Oct 17, 2016

3 tips for pricing one-off jobs

When deciding how to price projects such as annual accounts it’s relatively easy. It’s repetitive, predictable and we are able to create a package solution to suit that makes it easy to price.

But what about when it’s a one-off job? How best do you price it then?

Here are 3 tips to help you do it more effectively:  

Tip 1 – Establish the value to the customer

The one-off job, or special job, is just that – it’s unusual and so pricing for it is unusual too.

The first step therefore is in quantifying its value to the customer. What is it that they want you to do and – more importantly - why do they want you to do it?

Getting the answer to the second question will help you in determining the benefit to them of what they are asking you to do – and therefore the value to them. It may be subjective but that’s fine.

You need to create a picture of what’s at stake. That will help you work out your pricing.

Tip 2 – Create options

As I’ve said above once you know what the customer wants to achieve then you better know how you can help them.

It also means that you can add in different levels of exactly how you can help them, and then price them appropriately.

You may think that the one-off work model doesn’t suit this three-tier pricing structure.

But it does.

Once again you need to create three different options and, with a bit of creativity and thinking that’s possible whatever the situation.

For instance the client wants a cashflow forecast. At a basic level that’s just what you do for them. Yet when you ask why they want it then you understand their business better. In this example, the reply may be that they need to buy new plant and machinery so want the forecast for their funding attempts.

Now, beyond just the cashflow forecast, you could offer them a middle tier option where you go to a meeting with the bank manager and talk them through the cashflow forecast.

Alternatively, as a top tier option you could help with other funding opportunities or a grant finding solution.

Once you’ve given the client three different options you’ve given three different prices – and more than likely the client will go for one that’s more expensive than just the basic level.

Tip 3 – Create milestones

Most of the time the above approach will work. But sometimes, by the nature of it being a special project, it won’t. The outcome is uncertain and can be dependent on a number of factors so therefore how do you price accordingly?

If that’s the case break it into milestones.

And price accordingly.

For instance you could create a package solution pricing process for getting to the first stage. Then you say to the client that once you’ve delivered that then you can get together and look at second stage options. You tell them that you won’t be able to price it just yet because it depends on the outcome of stage one.

So remember- for big projects simply break it down.

That’s how you price for special projects that come up without notice.

Find out more about how to price for special projects than come up without notice by watching this video.

You can watch the video here.

Every month I provide free online training helping accounting professionals get results from value pricing. If you want to get access to that free training click here to register your place on the list of people I invite.

Wishing you every success on your pricing journey

Mark Wickersham
Chartered Accountant, public speaker and #1 best-selling author of
Effective Pricing for Accountants

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