The magic of three-tier pricing

A surefire technique for boosting profits

By Mike Jackson

Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2018

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Mike’s approach has helped sign people boost profits for over three decades

Thirty-two years ago, Mike Jackson wrote an article, “Price your work on three levels for easier sales”, for SignCraft. Those two pages outlined Mike’s easy sales approach of offering customers three options on most quotes: economy, basic, deluxe.

Immediately we started hearing from readers who were upselling their customers to betterlooking, more effective signs—and making more money in the process. It’s been mentioned in the magazine many times over the years by others who have put Mike’s approach to work successfully, and readers continue to tell us how well it works.

Some have said that thanks to Mike’s article, virtually no quote leaves their shop without an offer of two upgraded versions— from the basic yard sign on a stake to a 4-by-12-ft. monument sign. Others have told us that they found that over half their customers opt for an upgraded version since they use this approach. It consistently increases their sales volume without their needing to find more customers.

It may also be the easiest way to uncover the customer’s budget. Asking a customer what their budget is seldom results in an accurate number. Many customers seem to freeze, either because they don’t know how much they will need to spend on their sign or because they’re afraid to show their hand so early in the process. They may think that they won’t get their money’s worth once the sign maker knows what they’re willing to spend.

But Mike’s approach usually smokes out the budget without needing to ask the customer directly. By giving them three options—one of which is considerably higher than the other two—the customer usually reveals what they are willing to spend on the sign. And seeing examples of each of the three levels of signage helps them see the obvious benefit in spending more. You can quickly tell if their budget number is firm or flexible.

If you are lucky enough to have read about this easy, practical pricing approach in SignCraft over the years, you already know how effective it is. If not, now is a great time to start.

As one reader told us, “If Mike knew how much money I had made thanks to using his approach, he would probably want a commission!”—Editors

Mainstream companies of all kinds know that offering several options for a product increase their chances of making a sale, and often selling customers an upgraded product. Sign companies should be doing the same!

One of the most obvious examples are trucks and cars. “How much is a truck?” Despite the generic question, shoppers have the choice of light utility, standard duty and heavy duty. Choosing a standard duty? There are still options for six-, seven- or eight-foot beds.

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Mike and Darla Jackson operate Golden Studios in Loveland, Colorado, and do a variety of sign-related projects. Mike’s website is His email address is You can see more of Mike’s photos at and

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Douglas Brill
Douglas Brill
3 months ago

Trish from Middle Creek Signs here. We’ve been reading Sign Craft since we first began our business almost 30 years ago! We’ve got stacks of your magazine on our shelves, dog eared and worn from perusing over and over. Our son came on board a couple of years ago and has been bugging me to check out your on-line presence. I dragged my neo-luddite feet for awhile, but here I am, and glad I took the step!

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