I wasn't able to find this on google. Maybe there's a term for it.

Is it effective to use a nominal or small fee to weed out non-serious buyers? Or does it backfire by turning away legitimate buyers?

I'm thinking about using a $2.00 or a $3.00 fee to get a phone number to even discuss software help services.

So far, when I just put my phone number out there, 1% are legit and end up paying $200 / hr. 99% just want a free tech support phone session.

So my idea is to stop posting my phone number, but post a link to a page to pay the fee which then upon success, shows my phone number.

I'm thinking people who just want to waste my time or get something for free won't do it, but people who really need help and are willing to pay for services will.

Does this have a name? Will it help me or hurt me?

  • 1
    What type of service/product are you selling? It would have to be a very niche market for people to pay to contact you when they can contact competitors for free..
    – D Stanley
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 19:08
  • You could always do a test. Create a new marketing campaign that does what you propose while also keeping your current marketing. Then compare.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 19:18
  • 3
    Feels off-topic here, but seems likely to hurt your business. I don't expect to pay to discuss doing business with someone. Your branding/advertising seems to be confused. The question is, why do people think they can call you for free tech support when you charge $200/hour for your services?
    – Hart CO
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 19:42
  • What would be the formal service you give the people that paid 2$? "thanks for 2$, but I'm not going to help you" might not be taken well, and get you in some lawsuits potentially.
    – Aganju
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


That strikes as likely to not be received well. For a lot of people, "small enough amount that it seems small compared to the main charge" is going to ring their scam alarm bells. For this and other reasons, a larger fee can be better than a small one: if you say "You have to pre-pay for the first 15 minutes ($50)", that's a direct fee-for-service, as opposed to "I think so highly of myself that I require people to pay money just to get my contact information". You could also require them to have a credit card on file, and then you can charge them if they waste your time. That does run the risk of chargebacks, though. You could also set up a web portal with an automated system to get information on their problem. That will serve several purposes: you can see whether you can fine-tune it to detect when someone is more likely to be "legit", you can start the call with some idea what the problem is, and you may be able to get the less serious people to not call, either because they're satisfied with the answer the website gives them, or because you are able to give them the impression that they won't be getting free help.

  • Not a bad idea. I have to mull this over for a day or two, and see what other answers, and mark an answer. Thank you!
    – toddmo
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 20:38
  • It didn't work. No one responded.
    – toddmo
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 15:31

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