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  • Writer's pictureHermione Gardiner

Challenging the great fee debate...

Updated: Feb 23

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk an opinions flying round that the low fee other property management agencies are charging has gotten out of control.  The same conversations are coming to me in my coaching sessions.


Frustrations when a prospect went with a cheaper agent, or when a current client leaves for a cheaper option…


I’ve heard people saying that it must be the tight economic conditions, or that the other agent is an asshole for offering cheaper fees, that it’s cheapening our industry, or that the clients are tight arses that musn’t see the value in us, that we should hold firm on our fee and CHARGE OUR WORTH no matter what…. 


“Charge your worth” is good advice when someone is learning to value their own services but it doesn’t hold up as the only factor to consider when you’re growing a business.


Your worth as a human is infinite. That doesn’t mean it’s good business strategy to set your prices, sales strategy and offering on that alone.


Especially when as an industry, not a lot of focus is put on creating a premium offer... I see a lot of talk about charging premium prices but very little about delivering premium services.

And those who do actually offer a premium service I think typically there is often a failure to articulate that premium value (in a way that matters to the client) across their marketing and sales process.


Because people will and do pay premium prices for all kinds products and services every day (despite tough economic conditions) but they only do this where they can see clear value or benefit to them,


Where a client or consumer can’t see a difference, benefit or experience that matters to them, they’re always going to make a decision based on price.


Once upon a time there was a clearly distinguishable premium version of property management from some top players in the industry, but I do think the rest of the industry has caught up that there isn’t enough differentiation between standard service and premium service.


Similar websites, similar reviews, similar social media, similar manual process to book an appraisal, similar dialogue and email templates, similar pitch process, similar fee structures and brochures, even similar points of difference.


And sadly fee has not always been directly correlated to great experience, how many landlords have signed up to a premium offer only to feel massively burned by the investment? I dare say many.


That means somewhere there’s a breakdown in the fee advice strategy based on solely charging your worth. And we’re missing the conversation around how to create and sell a premium offer to the client if our business strategy is to command higher fees.


I say “if” here because there are many successful business models that are not based on being the premium option, some of them being very clever business models.

Perhaps that agency you’re mad at for charging a cheaper fee has a different business strategy to you (I’m sure the taxi industry felt the same way when uber came into the game, however uber ran at a loss for many years and now is the largest taxi company in the world...)

How do we fix this? Moving the conversation to business strategy (including how to sell and deliver premium services), not just energetics and scripts.

You can charge lower fees if it fits your business strategy.

You can charge higher fees if you know how to sell to your prospects based on value, emotion, social proof and creating premium experience.

And either way offers you a chance to “earn your worth” when you learn to leverage scalability in your business model.


So let’s de-centre ourselves from the pricing conversation and re-centre strategy. Yes you are worthy of all the income you’re dreaming of, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing to consider when pricing and selling your services.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


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