Are people finding that customers expect a lot more in these times of austerity? My husband (he owns a blinds and curtains business) is constantly complaining that increasingly customers expect him to bend over backwards for them for very little profit. It is almost as though some people resent him making any money at all. They honestly believe he should supply a made to measure product, plus measure and fit it, for the same price that they can pick up a ready-made blind online.

But a customer this morning has absolutely taken the biscuit. Carl, like most blind companies, offers a budget range of blinds at 3 for £99 as a starting point. This morning he had a customer who expected him to close his showroom, drop everything and drive 20 miles to pick up the keys for an empty property,  measure up, take the keys back, make the blinds and then repeat the process to go and fit them. He was definitely not going to pay more than £99 for three blinds and by the way, he wasn't prepared to pay a deposit. He would pay for the blinds after they had been fitted and the keys returned.

Not surprisingly, Carl turned down this generous offer of work, but these sorts of scenarios are cropping up with increasing regularity. I know times are tight for everyone and we all have to look after our cash, but it does seem customers are getting pushier and cheekier. Carl blames Martin Lewis. What does everyone else think? Are you having similar issues?

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A haggle culture is seeping into the UK for sure. The key for business owners is knowing when to say no - saying no is empowering - so well done Carl! At the end of the day a favour is a favour and business is business. Slashing your prices too low can bring your reputation down with it, and the industry in which you operate. Not sure who said this but "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur".

That's a great saying Deborah. I'll remember that one.

I have put my prices up not cut them and to be honest I am doing ok. On the other side I am only converting 8% of my enquirers. another saying is not every customer is your customer.

I agree Deborah - it is about setting your boundaries.  Flexibility in austere times is all well and good, or at any time, but then people do push for more.   It is happening more and more and with cuts, organisations too expect things for nothing or very little - often forgetting business people don't get a salary but earn every penny they get!  Difficult time,  but boundaries help.   It isn't easy to turn away business which is what people think nowvery cheeky wanting his keys back and all done, with the potential then to delay payment (or am I being too cynical perhaps?)

As a new start-up, I find it hard to say no. I have found myself working for way less than my usual rate purely because I want some income. The trouble is, as you say, people expect miracles for peanuts. I blame Martin Lewis too! It is almost like people are expecting to be ripped off these days!

You get to learn about this and develop your own value in time (not too long either!).  Then you can keep checking other motivational and marketing tips that tell you not to reduce prices, sell yourself short and other ideas - you still panic, but it get's easier to bear! :)  I learn too.  People will really pay for what they want (more than need it seems!).  You have to place yourself right too, but in these difficult economies I think people are getting used to freebies in business support and other business options sometimes, and life too if they haven't had to try so hard in past!   IPeople seem to think if you're in business you are rich automatically - but we all have to start somewhere and go for years before we hit the mark sometimes.  Talking to artists who have worked for 20 years and are achieving now, or the last few years, made me think about this recently.   It will only get better the song says! 

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