Sherlock Holmes’ pricing

May 25

If you’re a supporter of transparent fixed pricing in your freelance practice, you’ll enjoy the following exchange from the classic 1922 Sherlock Holmes story, The Problem of Thor Bridge 🤑

A billionaire client to Sherlock Holmes:
“Money is nothing to me in this case. You can burn it if it’s any use in lighting you to the truth. This woman is innocent and this woman has to be cleared, and it’s up to you to do it. Name your figure!”

Sherlock’s cold reply:
“My professional charges are upon a fixed scale. I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether.”

A billionaire:
“Well, if dollars make no difference to you, think of the reputation. If you pull this off every paper in England and America will be booming you. You’ll be the talk of two continents.”

“Thank you, Mr. Gibson, I do not think that I am in need of booming. It may surprise you to know that I prefer to work anonymously, and that it is the problem itself which attracts me.”

A few additional notes:

  • The client is actually introduced as a millionaire in 1922 currency, definitely a billionaire in today’s terms.
  • This particular short story also contains other remarkable dialogues, and the entire Sherlock canon is full of references to the unconventional professional ethics developed by the famous fictional detective.
  • Everything Doyle wrote about Sherlock is available in a single volume Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection from Audible, narrated by Stephen Fry.

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