Could You Ever Tell Customers, “Pay Me Whatever You Like?” (Constant Commentary Blog)

I travel every week, and I often schedule a car service to go to the airport. The last several times I’ve hired the same older gentleman, who is charming without being overbearing with conversation. (I don’t like too much chit-chat.)

When we get to the airport, I always ask, “What do I owe you?” And each time I get the same response: “Pay me whatever you like.”

The first time this happened, I was a little taken aback. I thought my driver was joking. But when I asked him again and got the same answer, I realized he was serious. What would you do in a situation like that?

Because I know what the approximate fare to the airport is, I pay that amount, plus a nice tip. But I’ve been curious as to why my driver doesn’t quote a price, and I wondered how others respond to him.

Last week I had enough time before my flight to inquire.

He explained he enjoys studying people. By giving his clients the opportunity to pay him whatever they like, he gets to observe the psychology of mankind.

“Are people usually fair with you?” I asked.

“Yes. Almost everyone pays about what the fare would be anyway. Some people are more generous. Rarely, do I get someone who stiffs me,” he explained.

Think about your customers or clients. Would you feel confident enough to allow them to pay you whatever they like?

Doesn’t it make sense that if you meet or exceed market expectations that your customers would be happy to pay a fair price — or perhaps even a bonus? We’d all like to think so, but do you have the courage to test that assumption?

Unless you’re in an extremely unique type of business, most buyers should have a general sense of what the fair market value of your product or service is. Would they honor that? In many respects, it’s a way for them to rate the quality of your product or service — voting with their checkbooks, so to speak.

I realize it isn’t practical for most of us to actually put this to the test. But the next time you send an invoice or quote a price, think about my car service driver and ask yourself, “If my customer could pay me based on the value they received, would my price and theirs be the same?” Makes you think, doesn’t it?

I’d love to know if you’d ever test this for yourself, or what you would do in my situation.

Read the original post by Susan Wilson Solovic at:

1 Comment
1 Like

"Pay Me Whatever You Like"

May 6, 2011 04:46 PM by Susan Moore

Tina - fabulous experience you shared.  Although I have not had this direct experience, I have on many occasions asked a client to establish a price for a project to me based on what it is worth.  So my line is more like "what is it worth"?  The reason I do this is, 90% of the time they give me an worth value more than the price.  

Thank you for sharing!

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