As a customer, I would be gobsmacked if a supplier came at me for similar work with a price quote that multiplies my experience by 3.
I don't care how you explain it. I don't care how you rationalise it. X3 is a big amount that you can't justify with "I underpriced it last year so you are paying for my mistake"
It is never good to let a good client walk away.
Here is my take on the subject and how I would resolve.
- Last year was my mistake which the client enjoyed. My fault not his/hers. However I need to recover from that mistake.
- You will not recover in one fell swoop. It will take maybe two takes or more.
- I assume you want to either retain the client or retain the clients good books.
- I assume your style can be copied and slowly transformed over a couple of iterations so you are not really a monopolist at all.
- Work in your industry is swings and roundabout. Right now x3 maybe good but next year, you may be willing to do it x0.5 - depending on market conditions so retaining a customer/client is important.
Price the work at x 1.5. At a stretch x2 but I as a customer will baulk at x2. You will have to convince me to accept x2. Don't even think of x2.5
I, as a customer, will not give you time of day with x2.5
Explain nicely (you've got lots of nice answers above that works) that you made a spectacular mistake and underpriced last years work. You are trying to recover but you appreciate the clients' business and don't want to lose him/her.
Explain that point with as much force as possible. Let them know that the price was really a deviation from the norm in the marketplace. Hopefully the marketplace will bear you out.
You really can't do it at last years rate and will as a special consideration do it x1.5 or 1.75.
If that is OK with him, you can start as soon as possible. Throw the client a few bones (freebies if possible)
Let that stew for a while and if he decides that even 1.75 is too high, let him/her know that the realistic price is x3 but you will not take on such a job when a supplier x3 his next quote so you are putting yourself in his/hers shoes.
But you can't do it at the old rate. You will rather not do it. Let that sink in well.
I do cleaning and I have made mistakes like this. The good thing is customers know when they are getting a good deal and even when they are getting a "too good to be true" deal but I have never succeeded in jacking my prices back to normal levels with the second deal. It usually takes two or more additional deals.
The problem is that the customer is fixated on YOU, your pricing mechanism and will not entertain a x3 price increase. He will be happy to pay that price with a different supplier - just not you.
Why? Humans have all kinds of hangups but the strongest one is "fear of a rip-off"
How do they know you did not get a good deal on your materials, tools anything that can explain their irrational reaction to them and YOU are trying to cheat them?
You see it is all about YOU. Not them.
Good Luck and if you manage to get x3, do please come back and tell. Really. I will like to know. For my own experience and business strategy.