“Excuse me, sir? Excuse me, yes, hi. Could you tell me what you would charge to change my blah blah blah? Yes, my blah blah blah is bad, and I need a new one. Oh, $475 you say? OK, ahhh, WHY?” Why, indeed?! (You didn’t know that there was going to be a test, did you?) Yes, why; can you tell me why you charge $475 to change a blah blah blah? And don’t say “it’s not me, it’s my company/boss/wife”; this applies to everyone. Yes, even you.

For some reason no one seems to know why we charge what we do. Employees think we charge too much and that the boss must be making $8 million a year; employers think that they have to raise the prices because they’re going broke, and the customers think the prices are a little high, but you’re here now so you might as well go ahead. That is until you’re done, then they know that the price is too high, and don’t want to pay. Well, which is it? Exactly.

I don’t know why everyone thinks this has to be a secret. If it costs $250 per hour to do the job, then that’s what it costs, and be sure that everyone understands and is ready to explain it. Really though, there are two problems here. One, everyone thinks that the price should be between $40 and $75 an hour because “that’s the law of the universe”; and, two, no one really knows what it costs. Don’t look at me like that; do you know? What about the mortgage on the shop, and the paper clips, and the health insurance, etc.? You think you know, but when was the last time your company had a meeting to talk about what it all costs, and billable hours, and all of that stuff? I know; you just had a meeting last never. And, yes, I said billable hours.

I realize that you don’t want to do this. Kids don’t want to practice their multiplication tables either, but it would be a lot tougher to get through life without them. Trust me, your job will be easier when you recognize that you should be getting $550 for a new blah blah blah, but now everyone can explain why. Put it on paper, and let everyone know; or I suppose you could just say “yeah, I think the owner wants to buy another plane”. Yeah, try that.