Sure you can sit down and have a value discussion. However that’s often not practical. The customer doesn’t want you to come on site to discuss a Crystal Report or Visual Integrator job that might be perceived as a simple task.
I’m also skeptical about the “Value Bill” advice. I think it’s opportunistic and unethical in some situations. It’s also impossible to streamline in an organization. One person’s value is another persons “two second question”.
Probably could debate this all day and not agree.
In the interest of being able to adopt fixed pricing – what I found works for me is to have what I’ve termed a “pricing menu”.
I went through the most typical “ala carte ” requested services and came up with a “starts at” price.
For most customers the start at pricing — is the price.
For the other 85% who delight in asking a price — and then adding “oh but will it include… ” [insert laundry list here] — “start at” gives me wiggle room.
Also I have had problems that many customers want quick verbal quotes. Going to a full out proposal is often not practical no matter what they teach you in class. I believe my practice thrives because I am able to respond quickly to customers. Waiting three or four days to schedule a meeting for a routine request is for me not practical.
So here’s how I’ve been doing pricing of routine requests. I created a pricing menu and now if a client (or more often someone on the Internet) requests a quick “hey what would it cost” …. I have a standard guideline to review and reply “in most cases our pricing starts at ” … [insert price from list]