Here’s a slight variation on a classic anecdote about pricing:
Guy takes his Harley to the shop. Says it’s not sounding right. Doesn’t sound like a Harley should sound.
Mechanic says she can fix it. She starts the engine and listens. She looks up and down the length of the bike for a few moments and then kicks it. The sound is back.
Mechanic hands the guy a bill for $200.
Guy says, ‘$200? For kicking my bike?’
Mechanic says, ‘The kick was free. The $200 is for knowing where to kick.’
When clients ask for new Web-site features or changes to existing ones, they often start the conversation with
Would it be easy to [fill in the blank]?
What they’re really asking is
Would it be inexpensive to [fill in the blank]?
Easy is relative. Easy for whom?
And easy doesn’t necessarily translate to inexpensive — nor should it.
Was it easy for me to fix our refrigerator when it stopped cooling? No way. I didn’t even know what to fix. But Mike, the local appliance repair guy with 25 years experience, diagnosed and fixed the problem fairly easily. His fee was not inexpensive.
The Harley mechanic and my appliance repair guy were using value-based pricing. (Seth Godin, in a wonderful blog post from 2010 refers to this as linchpin work. Do check it out — especially the anecdote about the engineering consultant.)
There’s a lot about WordPress development and consulting that must seem like kicking the bike. But before you grouse too much about your developer charging you for installing a plugin you could have installed with a click of a button, consider the hours and expertise she invested in learning which button to click.