By Charles Davies
I noticed a while back that people tend to think there are only three options when it comes to pricing things like public workshops: a set fee, a donation or free. To prove a point, I wrote a list of 79 different ways of charging for a workshop.
With thanks to Lolly & Rob of McCann London for contributing numbers 70–79
1. Direct debit. Pay a pound a month. To be set up before the workshop. Cancel it whenever you wish.
2. Donation before you arrive at the workshop. By paypal.
3. Donation on arrival. You have to hand it over in a brown envelope.
4. £10. Pay on arrival.
5. £20. Pay when you leave.
6. Try to remember how much you last took out of a cash machine. Pay half that amount.
7. Pay 0.01% of your yearly wage.
8. Take ten objects from your house to cash convertors / a pawn shop / music and video exchange. Pay whatever sum you receive in exchange for those ten objects.
9. Just pay what it’s worth. You decide.
10. Just pay what it’s worth. The group decides, by consensus.
11. Pay whatever sum you wish, but you’re allowed to prescribe what the money can be spent on.
12. Pay someone completely unconnected to the workshop the sum that you would like to pay for the workshop.
13. Time the workshop. Choose a fee per minute. Pay that.
14. Count the number of times you speak during the workshop. Choose a fee per instance. Pay that.
15. Count the number of chairs in the space where the workshop is held. Pay that amount, in the currency of your choice.
16. Choose three companies that you like that are listed on the FTSE500. Find out the prices of their shares. Add up the prices of one share from each company and divide by ten. Take an average and pay that.
17. Pay your age. Divided by two.
18. Wait three weeks after the workshop. Get a piece of a4 paper. Write down your thoughts about the workshop and any impact it has had. Go and have a cup of tea / a biscuit / a walk round the block. Read through what you’ve written and then choose a sum. Pay that.
19. Have a talk with the host of the workshop. Find out whatever information you feel you need to make the best decision about what to pay. Pay whatever you wish, explaining how you made your choice.
20. Pay whatever you wish but try to write down in as much detail as possible exactly how you came to the number you settled on. As much detail as possible. Hundreds of thousands of words if necessary.
21. What was the last sum of money you remember receiving where you enjoyed receiving it? Try to pinpoint the feeling. Now attempt to gauge what sum would elicit that feeling in the workshop host. Pay that.
22. Pay nothing.
23. Write a list of the useful things you learned in the workshop. Count how many things there are. Pay £1, £2 or £10 per item depending on how useful they are.
24. Try to equate the value of the workshop to groceries. Write a shopping list including whatever items you wish in order to paint a picture of the value of the workshop. (You could represent mundane, practical value with some potatoes, moments of excitement with bags of sweets and moments of genuine revelation with purple sprouting broccoli). Put the shopping list into an envelope along with enough money to pay for the grocery and give to the workshop host.
25. At the end of the workshop pay whoever you wish however much you wish. The workshop host, other attendees, whoever cooked you lunch, yourself.
26. Whatever is in your wallet right now when you read this line. If you don’t have a wallet, however much change/banknotes/coupons you have wherever you keep your nearest stash of cash (pocket/kitchen table/piggybank). Pay that.
27. Pay the amount you would put in a birthday card for a 14-year-old relative that you don’t know very well.
28. Think of three events or workshops that you’ve been to recently (or ever) that feel in some way equivalent to this one. Take an average of their prices and pay that much.
29. Think how much you would like to receive if you had run the workshop. Pay that much.
30. Sign up for half-price on future workshops for a year. Pay whatever you wish for this workshop and £17.50 for this one-off ‘membership’ offer.
31. Find an estate agent as near to where you live as possible. Find the cost for a onebed flat. Pay 1/10,000th of this sum.
32. Give the workshop marks out of ten. Whichever number you choose, pay that amount (from £0 to £10)
33. Find out how much someone else is paying for the workshop and pay that. 34. Pay a third of what you earn in a day.
35. Make a donation to the charity of your choice. Send documentation of the payment firstname.lastname@example.org
36. Buy something off the Amazon wishlist of the workshop host.
37. For longer workshops (or, just if you’re moved to), combine 2 or 3 of these options.
38. Choose how much you want to pay. Find your nearest betting shop and put the whole thing on a horse in the next race. Ask for a tip from someone who looks like they’ve been in there a long time. (Don’t just pick a horse with a nice name.) If you don’t approve of horseracing, you can substitute lottery tickets. Or a casino. Pay all of your winnings to the workshop host.
39. Choose how much you want to pay. Find the nearest public bin and throw the money away.
40. Choose how much you want to pay. Use it to set up a trust fund for a young relative. Carry on paying in money whenever you feel like it.
41. Choose how much you want to pay. Get the whole sum in 50 pence pieces and spend an afternoon hiding them around the town you live in.
42. Choose how much you want to pay. Pay half to the workshop host. Find a postal address for someone you don’t know. Post them the other half, in a card.
43. £50 note, folded into a paper aeroplane, placed in a brown envelope, handed to the workshop host at the end of the session.
44. Choose how much you want to pay. Get that sum in cash. Take it somewhere beautiful. Maybe a park or a hilltop. Somewhere with a nice view or a sunny garden. Sit with the money for a while. Then bring it to the workshop and pay the host.
45. Choose an amount of money that feels like it’s just beyond what you can afford and pay that.
46. Choose an amount of money that you think would be an insult. Pay that.
47. Think of a way of choosing an amount of money that is not on this list and use that way of choosing to choose an amount of money. When you have done so, email the details to:email@example.com
48. Go to a bank and withdraw the amount of money you get out most often. Think of three things you would like to buy. Go buy them. Pay whatever is left to the workshop host.
49. Find a wishing well. Count up as much money as you can see. Pay that amount.
51. Choose the farmyard animal that you feel equates to the value of the workshop. Find out what the market rate is (wholesale, not supermarket prices). Pay that.
52. Work out how much your total wealth is. Include property, pensions, the value of all of your possessions if they were sold. Now think about the cost of a Snickers at your local newsagent. Choose an amount that feels right.
53. Choose an amount you wish to pay. Congratulations! You have been specially selected as one of our valued customers and you qualify for a special discount! We don’t want you to pay full price. We don’t want you to settle for a ‘token’ discount. Not 5%, not 10%, but 20% off. That’s right, 20% off. Simply take the number you first thought of and take 20% off that total and pay that amount.
54. Ring up before the workshop and propose an elaborate deal. Try to include as many as possible from the following list: barter, share options in a business you own, a ‘cash-in-hand’ trade-in, a mixture of cash and stock and bonds, a small percentage share in a foreign property. You may also include any other variant you can think of.
55. Choose two dates in the future. Pledge to pay a percentage of what you earn between those two dates.
56. Roll a dice. Multiply the number you throw by two. Pay that.
57. Before you go to sleep, try to think of as many financial transactions as you can from your entire lifetime. Think of every story you have ever heard that involves money in some way. Set your mind on having a money related dream. Leave props near your bed that relate to money: wallets, cheque books, cash, bank statements. Make sure you have a pen and paper right by the bed so you can write down as much detail as you can about the dream. Repeat this process until you successfully wake up having dreamt about money. Use the content of that dream to help you decide how much to pay. If you have any other interesting dreams in the meantime, write them down as well. Maybe draw some pictures of what happened and frame them and hang them up in your bathroom.
58. Ring up and ask how much the workshop actually is.
59. Ring up and explain how much the workshop should cost and ask for the most convenient method of paying.
60. Think of the last thing you sold that you had made with your own hands. Pay whatever sum you received for that sale. If you can’t remember ever having sold something that you made with your own hands, make something and sell it and pay that amount.
61. Ring up and ask if there is a concert or a play or an exhibition that the workshop host would like to attend. Buy two tickets and put them in the post or bring them to the workshop.
62. Ring up the workshop host and have a discussion about nice places to visit. They can be as close to home or as farflung as you wish. Arrange a suitable date and buy the workshop host a ticket to that destination.
63. Think of the most boring and mundane way of paying for the workshop. No messing about. Being sensible. A professional rate. Pay that.
64. Think of something you could sell during the workshop breaks. Maybe some craft or some secondhand books. Or cake. Or your services. Give the workshop host 30% of your takings.
65. Demand to be paid for your time. Email the workshop host stating your case and suggesting a reasonable rate.
66. Demand to be paid for your time. Email the workshop host stating your case and suggesting an unreasonable rate.
67. Ring up the workshop host and demand to know an unfulfilled dream or ambition. Pick an amount to pay and insist it be used as directly as possible to take a step towards fulfilling that dream.
68. Find your favourite suggestions from this list. Write down which numbers they are. Divide the total by 40 and pay that amount.
69. Bring a hat to the workshop. Do a whipround, collecting money from the other attendees to fund your attendance at the workshop.
70. Ring up the host of the workshop and ask what he would like to eat, then pay him in food.
71. Get five blank envelopes, in each of the envelopes put notes in denominations of £10 — £50. Allow the host to pick one after the workshop.
72. Times the number of people wearing red in the workshop by 10 minus the number of people with their ears pierced and pay this amount.
73. Put an amount of money in your pocket and ‘accidentally’ drop it by the host’s feet at the end of the workshop.
74. Pay two pounds for every time the word ‘workshop’ is used in the workshop.
75. Develop a smoking habit, work out how much a day you spend on this new habit, and then how much you’d spend in a week. Give up smoking right away and give the fag money you have saved to the host.
76. Gather together ten mates for an impromptu party down the pub, avoid paying a round. With this money you’ve saved pay for the workshop.
77. A bit like a sponsored spelling test at school, get people to sponsor you for attending the workshop, pay with this donated money.
78. Busk for thirty minutes before the workshop.
79. Dress a mannequin up as one of those living statues in covent garden, leave it there while you attend the workshop, afterwards go and collect all the money the tourists would have put in its hat, pay the host.
Charles Davies offers Creative Money Training for founders and entrepreneurs who would like to be more adventurous in how they incorporate money into their work. Also, Creative Money Training for Couples, which is as potent and hilarious as it sounds. Both are available in person in Amsterdam or London or Brussels or also very happily conducted through the magic of Skype. Find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles is the mind behind Very Clear Ideas, a process to help entrepreneurs find clarity in their business and life decisions. Watch Charles' interview live at our Summercamp 2014.