Price: Market Value and What You Are Worth

The 4 P’s of Marketing Yourself: Price, Part 4

By Catherine Lang-Cline

When I freelanced, I had to charge enough to get paid what I was worth, plus cover the slower times, plus remain competitive. It was the same when I tried to find a fulltime job. I knew that I wanted to make sure I made more than the last place I was at, but then again, how much was too much? There was always the concern of frightening people away.

One of the hardest things to do is to set your rate or salary because you need to decide how much your time is worth and how much you are worth. Luckily, there are a number of resources to get yourself aligned with what the going rate is. Starting with getting a job; is a great resource because you can plug in your location, your experience, etc. and get a rough estimate as to what people are making in your area and in your area of expertise.

+ If you are coming from an hourly environment, do the math! Your hourly rate ($) x 40 (hours) x 52 (weeks) = annual salary! This can also be worked backward if a salary is thrown at you and you are curious as to what you would be making hourly.

If you are trying to set a rate as a freelancer or when starting your company… well, here is what we did when we started the business… we added up all of our bills to determine how much we needed to make. So, let’s throw that in as an option;

+ Add up all of your expenses for home and work and maybe a little for saving. Instant annual salary! No matter what, you need to make that much money to stay in business.

+ Check out what other people are charging. Simple as just asking. Maybe even ask the client, such as; “What do you normally pay for these services?” It doesn’t mean that is what you have to charge, it just lets you know what they will pay. It’s also a great time to talk about how you can do better and offer more value at a slightly higher price.

+ Remember to factor in everything. Time it takes to drive to a client, phone, paper, plus your level of expertise, etc., etc., etc. The last thing you want is to charge just for your time while all of the other expenses are eating at your bottom line.

+ Stand as firm as you can with price. You know what you are worth, you know what you need to make. Just know that when you discount, you are losing money. Ten percent off of a $1000 project means that you just gave up $100. You do that for 10 clients and that is $1000.

Sell the expertise not the price.

+ Cheap is cheap and will always be cheap. If someone is just looking for the lowest price they are probably not going to be the best client because quality does not matter. Don’t sell yourself short, you know things. When I freelanced, I had a great resume to back me up. Experience cost money. If someone doesn’t understand that, they have yet to get burned by it.

The most important thing to remember is that once your price is out there, your salary request is made, it takes a while to make a change and ask for more. Go in early with the right number. Don’t go in with the belief that you can prove yourself once you get started and then ask for more money unless you are prepared to wait months or years. If you do need to recalculate your price, talk about the new responsibilities you have or did not see at the beginning. Talk about how the project is taking more time or make it clear at the beginning that you will charge more for numerous changes. Discuss what new expertise you are bringing to the table, how reliable you have been, how effortless it is to work with you. All of these have value. Get paid what you deserve to be paid.

This post is part of a series— The 4 P’s of Marketing Yourself