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Pricing should be transparent

From time to time, I see a sentence that quite simply pisses me off. What’s that sentence? “Please contact us for pricing”. It’s dismissive, it’s arrogant, and it leaves me with the impression that you are looking to get as much money as possible from any prospective clients. If all you do is customised to the customer, I could understand it. If you’re selling a turnkey solution, there really is no defence.

It used to be that the answer to the question “how much is a Rolls Royce” was “if you need to ask, you can’t afford it”. While that is still – to some extent – true, Rolls Royce cars are also highly customised and personalised vehicles. On the other hand, a standard software suite is neither customised nor personalised, but they are often sold using a “contact us for pricing” model.

Don’t get me wrong; volume pricing is fine – and offering it under a “contact us for pricing” type model, while having a standard price list available is also absolutely fine. Offering zero transparency on your pricing level, however, just isn’t OK. What, then, can we do? We can say no. We can tell them they lost a potential sale, and move on.

After all – if SpaceX can list pricing for launching payload into space, there really isn’t much of an argument that others can’t do the same.

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