Our ‘pricing model’ is simple: we will design and build you a website and give it to you as a gift, and we trust you to gift us back what you think is a fair value for our work.
The idea is a very ancient concept called a Gift Economy. It is an idea based on mutual trust and gratitude. It’s something we think we need a little more of in our world, and we are willing to bet my time and energy on it.
Trust people — they’ll surprise you.
— Ron Shaich, co-CEO and founder, Panera Bread (after opening several locations featuring gift economy pricing)
We understand this concept might seem a little different, but the model works very well. It is the basis behind open source software, Wikipedia, Creative Commons, non-commercial scientific research, and file sharing.
Around the world, there are restaurants that run exclusively in a Gift Economy, including several Panera Bread stores here in the United States. In chapter 21 of his book “Sacred Economics.” Charles Eisenstein describes health care clinics in California and Oregon, dozens of restaurants from coast to coast, music groups including Radiohead, and even a law firm in Chicago, all successfully operating in a Gift Economy.