That's a great question, Luckiest! What you experienced happens often in businesses based on services and not physical and tangible items. A person would not expect a painter to provide an estimate to paint a house without knowing how large the house was, the type of paint that the customer requires, and any other variables such as ornate trim, etc. I will also be interested to see what our members say when approached without project or client specifics to the question, "What do you charge?".
Great question Luckiest. I get the same question all the time. If I know nothing about their business, what they've already done as far as content and social media, etc. I can't even figure out what they need done, let alone a price.
So, I use a little humor. They ask, How much do you charge? I answer 1 Million Dollars up-front, then look at them as if I'm serious. Then when they realize I'm joking, I explain what I need to know before giving them a price and offer a free consultation where I promise not to tell them any more corny jokes.
Seoservicepro, do you do the pregnant pause like Doctor Evil and say, "One... Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilioooooon Dollars?"
Yeah, I'm old school and like to have a little fun when people ask for pricing. But more like, Only 1 million dollars, Isn't that a great deal?!!!!
You never give an amount. It will always be the wrong answer. You simply tell them that you would have to look into their business and see what accounting services they need before you can give them a quote. You could then ask them when it would be convenient for you to visit them and go over their situation. After that, you can give them a quote. If they won't sit down with you and review their needs then they really aren't interested in your services no matter what the price.
If all else fails, ask them what they are paying now and how much they would expect to pay. You might get a surprise. (They may be paying too much!)
As you know, I am an accountant. It drives me nuts at a trade show or network event
when someone looks at my card or flyer and asks "What do you charge??"
They don't know much about me or what I can do. I also don't know what type of work they expect.
They want numbers.
If you give them a number or an amount it is always wrong.
There are ways to deal with these questions without letting yourself get drawn into a bad position.
Maybe members of this Community would like to share suggestions or their experiences??