The uncomfortable truth about pricing

My first day back in the office after COVID was also the first day of work for my cleaner. She's called Claire. 

Claire did a much needed deep clean (I have two small children who love glitter and stickers), and now cleans for us fortnightly.

One of the things I love about Claire is the little touches she adds. She folds our towels the way you find them on the towel rail in a hotel. One of life's simple pleasures. 

Claire charges an hourly rate. She messages me every time she's been to the house and tells me how much the bill is going to be. After paying her without thinking the first couple of times, I realised I was paying her about £13 per hour. 

So last time when she asked for £40 for a three hour clean, I told her I would be paying her more than that because she wasn't charging enough, and that she should put her prices up for the rest of her customers. 

She sent me a message to say thank you, with a lot of crying-with-laughter emojis. 

And the sad thing is that I don't think she will put her prices up because she doesn't want to lose customers to other cleaners. But what Claire doesn't realise is that she is more valuable to me than her hourly rate. On the day she visits, and for the rest of the week, I feel like we're on top of the housework. Things are cleaner than I can manage to get them while I'm busy mumming. Not just that, but Claire is the neat-folder-of-things and the finder-of-toys. The children love seeing the toys that had rolled under the bed arranged in cute positions on the pillows, and she does something which makes the carpets feel amazing, we still haven't worked out what. 

I know that there are bookkeepers out there charging a low hourly rate, or pricing in a way that allows them to compete with other bookkeepers on price. But there's something about your service that's different. Something about the way you do the bookkeeping, something about the way you know your clients' industry, something about the way you understand systems or can automate which makes you worth more than that hourly rate. 

I really hope you can see it. 

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