Can you value price training?

Terri Wilson of Offcierge, Inc writes:

I am not a CPA but instead support CPA firms with my QuickBooks consultancy. We actually share our office with a firm. I have been moving toward the value pricing model for my projects but am stuck on one issue. I can’t figure out how to deal with training time. I have gone to selling a day of training but I still think that isn’t correct. I have thought of setting up programs of training but I am not certain that that best serves the customer’s needs. Currently we train on their system with their data and documents. My issue is that (of course) some folks are very fast learners and other folks, well, not so much. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks for your question Terri.

Pricing training can be quite a challenge and not knowing you entire situation I am going to have to make some assumptions based on your email. However, I think there are some potential answers built right in your question.

First, having a fixed price for a training class is not necessarily a bad idea. I would however add some restrictions (or scope) around the training, for example, training up to five (or some other number of) people per class with an additional charge per person beyond the base. The class is of fixed scope based on an agenda, so if it takes four hours or eight, it does not matter as long as the material is properly covered.

Second, for the, shall we say, digitally challenged, I would build in some feedback system that allows for you to test to see if knowledge was successfully transferred during the training. The mechanism I have used is called a test script. You design a set of specific tasks that the user should be able to perform after the training. As they complete each step they check it off the list. When the script is successfully completed, they sign off on it. Having this in place protects you in the event that someone comes back requesting more training as covered under you original agreement.

Third, you mention that you are customizing the class, this is great, because you are differentiating your training from other more generic offerings, and as a result you should command a premium price over standard classes.

I hope this helps. I would be interested in what my fellow VeraSage colleagues have to say about this as well.

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