When clients are prepared to pay more

March 30, 2020

When clients are prepared to pay more shares one of the many important findings in the beatonbenchmarks20 reports. These reports cover the larger firms in the accounting, built environment and consulting engineering and law professions in Australia and New Zealand.


From time to time beaton examines the relationship between how clients view the nature of the work done for them on a spectrum from complex to routine and their willingness to pay more than their current level of fees for the same work.


The beatonbenchmarks20 survey ran from October 2019 to January 2020. It replicated questions from earlier years on the circumstances in which clients indicate they are willing / unwilling to pay more than the level of fees they currently pay. 


This year, with over 15,000 ratings from clients of professional services firms in Australia and New Zealand, we found approximately one-third of clients state they are willing to pay more than the level of fees they currently pay, as the chart below shows.

The one-third average varies with the mix of work and other factors. For example, 56% of law clients describe the work done for them as complex whereas only 39% of built environment and consulting engineering do so.


What these findings mean for clients


Examples of what these findings mean for clients include:

  • For complex work, the higher willingness to pay more reflects the higher value and risk of the work to the client. Therefore, expect firms to be less willing to reduce price because, as beatonbenchmarks subscribers know, for clients technical expertise and quality are more important drivers of value and risk management than the level of fees. 

  • In New Zealand there is much lower willingness to pay more for routine work compared to Australia. This is probably the result of greater competitive forces and stronger price-down attitudes of NZ clients.

  • There is opportunity for clients to more clearly segment work along the complex–routine spectrum and negotiate price accordingly.


Complimentary copy of this short report

Clients and firms who would like to receive a complimentary copy of this short report on What Clients Are Willing To Pay More For, should contact a member of the beaton account service team or email george.beaton@beatonglobal.com. 




This research was undertaken before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings reported here should be interpreted in the light of worldwide health and economic concerns. 

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