Anybody who has ever received a bill from a builder will tell you what an arcane, unpredictable and painful experience it can be. The job, within your budget when the estimate came in, seems to have blown out 500% by the time the final bill arrives. And the magic word, “variations” is the vague excuse for the ballooning price.

Imagine if the rest of the world charged like builders? If a comedian came up to you after the show and demanded extra money because she was funnier than usual, or the dude at the McDonald’s drive-thru demanded extra money because he paid attention and got your order right for once.

There’s no need to imagine because although we don’t like to admit it, a lot of vague pricing goes on. This leads to lots of questions before the job and haggling and tetchiness afterwards.

We do a lot of things at Stun that delight, surprise or just confound our clients. Many of them depend on the particular client but one thing that delights people across the board – our pricing is transparent and consistent. We put our prices up on the website and we stick to them. This surprises people. “It’s the same as on your website,” they sometimes say.

Why shouldn’t it be?

It’s no more difficult to price a service than a product. We all know what ingredients go into providing our services, same as a chef knows what goes into making a meal. So, we can cost our services in the same way as people price a sandwich or a holiday or a car.

Leaving yourself room to alter prices depending on the client means you start the relationship from a place where everything isn’t upfront. That sets a certain attitude to the client.

Telling the story behind your pricing is almost as important as being upfront about the prices themselves. The reasons that you give allow you to tell prospects a little about your business. Even if it’s just something as simple as, “we’ve published our prices because we’re upfront people.” It tells customers what to expect from you and something of who you are.

The other part of this whole transparency thing is that you need to follow through on both the prices and the reasons you give for putting them out there – because price is still often what grabs attention and when things are not as expected, it also causes a big letdown.

So, get those prices out there – tell a sharp and compelling story about why you’ve done so, and your clients will love you for it.

Who can fault a little honesty?