A friend of mine is a licensed Justice of the Peace. He performs weddings throughout the year, and from what I hear, he’s pretty amazing at it. He doesn’t just go through the motions, but he creates a special ceremony for couples.
The other day, he brought up an interesting conversation – pricing. He wondered the best way to charge for his services. He didn’t use specific numbers, but essentially, he charges $500, while another guy he knows charges $495 (or something along those lines – the point is the “00” versus the “95”). He asked two of us what we thought of that and which price we liked better.
Even though $495 is clearly cheaper, I immediately said $500. Why? Because to me, charging $495 felt like the person was trying to be tricky. “No, I don’t charge five-hundred dollars! See, the number is in the four-hundred dollar range! Four, not five!” When really, there’s not a whole lot of difference between $495 and $500, especially when you’re considering it among all the other costs of a wedding. To me, $495 is what you pay a salesman. $500 just feels like a standard rate that someone is charging me.
I can’t explain it. In theory, I would prefer to save $5 whenever possible, but I was immediately skeptical of this person charging $495. Why does he need to use such tricks to get me to hire him? The guy charging $500 is clearly stating his price. He’s not using any technique to make me think he’s charging less. He has set his rate and that’s that. And when it comes to something like performing my wedding, I don’t want someone who is trying to be sneaky with their pricing. Because I’m not concerned about the price, I’m concerned about the ceremony that the person will perform.
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