© 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to capture the richness of customer perceived value by determining its benefit and cost dimensions in a complex service setting. Perceived value is argued as equivalent to value-in-use; that is value that emerges for or is created by the customer. Design/methodology/approach – A series of in-depth interviews was conducted with a diverse group of clients of financial planning services as well as with financial planners in Australia. Findings – Six benefit and four cost dimensions of complex service are identified, namely expertise, education, motivation, support, relationship and convenience benefits, as well as monetary, time and effort, emotional and lifestyle costs. The results also indicate proposed outcomes of these dimensions, along with relevant moderators, leading to a broad conceptual framework for future empirical validation. Originality/value – This study contributes to the sparse conceptual development of value perceptions, or value-in-use, in a complex service context. In particular, the authors identify the benefit and cost dimensions, specifically addressing aspects of value that are linked to the long-term relationship between provider and customer. The authors also develop a conceptual model of value, including both outcomes and situational moderators of the various value dimensions. Finally, the conceptualization of perceived value is discussed with respect to the value co-creation literature.