Service Pricing Approach
When I first started in business, I copied the way trademark work is priced in the industry.
I don’t think it’s very effective. For example, as you quote a price per ‘class’, you have to let prospects know how many classes they need to get started. So, you’re doing some of the work before they’ve engaged you.
And as you charge further fees to oversee an application, you end up raising 3-4 invoices till the registration is completed. It’s administratively burdensome.
I’m amazed I followed that approach, and that it’s still how trademark work is charged for by most agents worldwide.
Clients prefer price certainty.
It’s perfectly possible to give a set price despite the unknowns that are inherent to trademark work.
Most clients need to apply in three classes. As long as you let them know how much additional classes will cost, it’s possible to offer a set price for the work.
You can get the work underway without needing to do work in advance to assess whether someone needs more than three classes. The vast majority of clients only need three or can make do with three if needs be.
Knowing what objections might arise when the registry examines an application, means we can include some or all the work likely to be involved to respond by offering Bronze, Silver and Gold pricing options.
Our Bronze level is for startups and those on a smaller budget. They get a professional application filed, in their own name. We don’t appear as their representatives.
Like that the client receives further communications from the IP Office directly. Often their application proceeds smoothly through to registration without further work. However, if issues do arise they can address them themselves or come back to us to get a quote if they need our help.
Our Silver and Gold level clients get more service. We respond to objections from the Registry, even if there are more substantial issues necessitating a letter or appeal arguing why the IP Office should allow the application to proceed.
Another benefit of different service levels is that you get to detail the work that would or would not be included. For example, we explain that none of the service levels covers the work involved in the event of a third-party opposition.
It’s an inherent risk of trademark work that an existing brand might oppose an application. Even if they have a weak case, you still incur additional costs unless you opt to withdraw your application.
And while trademarks are very important, they’re not the ONLY IP right businesses need to address. So, we include a mini IP audit to advise about other IP rights so clients can protect themselves on an ongoing basis. By addressing wider IP issues, a business will fare better when it sells the business later.
My positive experience of using different service level pricing, is the reason I opted to price the Brand Tuned-Up service using a Bronze, Silver and Gold approach.
How do you price your work?