I have seen some recent comments that suggest that anyone charging "high" prices has questionable ethics.
Let's look at that a moment.
I once considered taxicab rates to be outrageous. Then I met a few drivers. They were living in extremely marginal conditions; many were only surviving because they had other income (pensions, etc.). Some were actually living in their personal cars.
In other words, those "outrageous" rates were barely enough to support a man at a minimal level, and keep the car running. That meter rate had to cover the overhead (taxes, insurance, etc.), the dead miles coming to pick me up, etc.
When I look at my own driving 'expense,' I tend to only think of the gas I burn, forgetting all those other things.
Our business is the same way. It's going to cost us to keep that truck running, to pay our bills even when the phone is quiet, to cover the unexpected expenses, to make those sales / permit / planning / warranty calls.
Even under the most optimistic of conditions, you are lucky to have 20 billable hours a week. What this means is that you need to charge $40 / hr just to cover your paycheck, and keep that truck running. License fees, bonds, social security, permits, insurance, accounting expenses, etc., are all added to that figure.
Now, when you see a nice ad for that other company, the one with the new vans, the spiffy uniforms, the big office along the main street ... where do you think the dollars for all that comes from?
A higher rate, that's where.
Why do thay spend this money? Because their experience has shown that the 'good' customers will gladly pay to have a "real pro" come out ... rather than have someone who looks like he lives along the river push his rickety jalopy into the parking lot.
Heck, you show up like that, the customer just has to wonder if you're really qualified. Lack of respect means business trouble. Hillbilly Hank then gives a low price- and the customer thinks "there's no surprise!"
Now, lets take a hard look at the work we do. And who we do it for.
90% of our work is pure vanity. That is, the customer would get along just fine without it - ask any Amish farmer!
Our customers almost always earn more than we do. just look at their cars and homes!
Optional work for the weathy... why should I cut them any slack? THEY ought to give ME a break!
[This message has been edited by hackelect (edited 11-20-2006).]