Easy Pricing Strategies to Determine Your Rates
Pricing strategies are something you need to learn in your business. This might just be the most stressful decision(s) you ever have to make: what to charge?
- You’ve got the competition to consider…yikes!
- Your own skill set, and what you perceive to be your skills (yes, this is different from the former for most of us)
- What your market will pay, your location, and a host of other variables.
Working it out can feel like a hurdle you can’t quite get past.
Of course, there are some strategies you can employ. One popular method is to use a plain ol’ calculator (if you still use one of those). Here’s an interesting article on rates used in 2017. Please understand…this is only a guide, so don’t think you need to use this information explicitly or your business will go down the tubes!
Having a general guideline will quickly tell you what you need to be charging to reach your income goals, and it’s a great place to start.
But what about all those other questions? Creating a solid pricing structure requires you to do a little more digging. Clams anyone? Yeah, in all seriousness with your starting number in line, take a look at the following:
This might take a little detective work since a lot of coaches and service providers don’t publish rates. But if you pay attention to their websites and social media, ask a few discreet questions, and get on their mailing list, you can figure it out. I show my rates as “Starting At” prices because every job is usually different.
Be realistic about who exactly your competition is though. Don’t undervalue or over-sell yourself. In other words, make sure you’re comparing yourself to another provider who shares the same skills, market, and tracking record, rather than simply looking at who you strive to become. Kinda important…you can’t charge say $100.00 an hour if you’re just starting out…duh!!
In some fields, this is easy. There are certifications and educational programs that allow you—by virtue of having achieved them—to charge a certain rate. If you’ve followed this path, then pricing will be easy for you. If not, take a solid look at what you can legitimately claim as a skill. Just remember, this is your business so don’t think that you have to settle for charging less than your worth.
Look, too, at your track record. Have you proven yourself by helping former clients (and do you have the testimonials and case studies to show for it)? Have your former clients moved on to bigger and better Service Providers after working with you? These are all reasons to consider a higher price range than you might have first thought about.
rate1 rāt/Submit noun plural noun: rates 1. a measure, quantity, or frequency, typically one measured against some other quantity or measure. “the crime rate rose by 26 percent” 2. a fixed price paid or charged for something, especially goods or services. “the basic rate of pay” synonyms: charge, price, cost, tariff, fare, levy, toll; fee, remuneration, payment, wage, allowance “an hourly rate of $30” verb 3rd person present: rates 1. assign a standard or value to (something) according to a particular scale. “they were asked to rate their ability at different driving maneuvers” synonyms: assess, evaluate, appraise, judge, estimate, calculate, gauge, measure, adjudge; grade, rank, classify, categorize “they rated his driving ability” 2. consider to be of a certain quality, standard, or rank. “he rates the company’s stock a “buy.”” synonyms: consider, judge, reckon, think, hold, deem, find; regard as, look on as, count as “the scheme was rated effective”
In the game of setting rates, it’s your market that has the final say. As any first-year economy student can tell you, the price of anything lies where what the buyer is willing to pay meets what the seller is willing to accept. This is an interesting fact, just ask any other Service Provider on the market today.
If your goal is to give newbies a helping hand and lead them down the path to success, that unfortunately means you can look forward to low paying gigs. That’s not a bad thing—everyone has to begin somewhere—but it does need to be acknowledged.
If, on the other hand, you’re target market is more established and economically stable, then a higher fee isn’t just warranted—it’s a must. They will expect a higher price, and will not find value in the lowest-cost provider of anything, whether it’s coffee beans or business coaching. LOL!
Finally, don’t forget that pricing is never set in stone. It’s flexible. If you find you’re attracting the wrong market (or no market at all) you can always change your rates. Working too hard for not enough return? Raise your rates.
It’s your business. You get to call the shots. If you are allowing your clients or other Service Providers to decide what your rates are going to be, you are only doing yourself a disservice. This is such a HOT TOPIC right now. Do your research, but DO charge what you’re worth!
If you ARE looking for a Service Provider please contact me HERE. I would love to help you with your business.
Please comment your thought below. I would love to hear what you think!
Art of the Discount
What…A DISCOUNT? Are you kidding ME? How can I stay in business if I’m giving a discount? I can hear you now grumbling, sighing, telling yourself that well maybe if I did that, I’d make some more money, I would have more clients…and so on.
dis·count ˈdiskount/Submit noun 1. a deduction from the usual cost of something, typically given for prompt or advance payment or to a special category of buyers. “many stores will offer a discount on bulk purchases” synonyms: reduction, deduction, markdown, price cut, cut, rebate “students get a 10 percent discount” verb ˌdisˈkount/Submit 1. deduct an amount from (the usual price of something). “current users qualify for a discounted price” synonyms: deduct, take off, rebate;
How to Never Lower Your Rates Again
It’s happened to every service provider and coach at one time or another—probably more than once.
You offer a proposal or contract, only to have your potential client respond with, “That sounds great, but I can’t afford it.” Wawawa…
So what do you do?
For a lot of coaches and service providers, their first response is to lower their rate. After all, they reason, she really does need my help. Plus its good karma, and she’ll talk about me with her friends, and refer business to me later. Unhuh…
Maybe, but more likely than not. What you do end up with is a client who takes far too much of your time. For less money than you deserve. You wind up resentful, and wondering why you aren’t earning the living you know you’re capable of.
I want you to make a promise to yourself right now that you will never again lower your rates to appeal to a client. Doing so devalues your services, makes the client less likely to follow through, and worse, makes you feel terrible later. You are listening to me, right?
Now, I’m not saying you can never offer special deals
But I do want you to change how those offers are made. Here’s how it works.
If your coaching package includes:
- 1 45-minute call per month
- 1 email per day
- 1 in-person meeting per quarter
- and 1 mastermind retreat per year
And your potential client claims to not be able to afford your asking price of $1,000 per month, rather than offering to reduce the price, you offer to reduce the price and the package. Right?
So the offer you make to her now includes everything BUT the mastermind retreat. Or everything BUT the in-person meeting every quarter. Doesn’t that make sense?
You have not lowered your rates so far that you feel used, but at the same time, you’ve worked with her to create a plan she can afford. It’s a true win-win for both of you.
The same technique can be used for any type of coach or service provider unless you’re charging strictly by the hour. If that’s the case, take a look at how you can reduce the number of hours you need to invest while still providing value. Yes, sounds simple no?
For example, rather than offering four one-hour calls, change your plan to just two calls, with email follow-ups. She’ll still get plenty of value, and you’ll free up some time by inviting email questions rather than blocks of time on the phone. This is so simple…right?
So, the next time you’re asked to reduce your rates for anything, take a close look at how you can also reduce the work you’ll be doing. That way you’ll never feel as if you’ve been taken advantage of, and your clients will still get great service.
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Please leave a comment below and let me know if these suggestions are helpful to you and your business.
Stop! Before You Raise Your Rates…Do This Instead
In every entrepreneur’s life, there comes a time when you simply have to raise your rates. Yes…it’s true! I know..it’s hard to discuss your rates.
Maybe you’ve been in business for years without a pay increase. Or, maybe your skills have recently improved through a new training course or certification.
Or you just want to attract a higher caliber of client. Yup…I just confessed to this the other day. (Hanging my head…but unashamed!)
rate [rāt] NOUN rates (plural noun) a measure, quantity, or frequency, typically one measured against some other quantity or measure: “the crime rate rose by 26 percent” a fixed price paid or charged for something, especially goods or services: “the basic rate of pay” · [more] synonyms: charge · price · cost · tariff · fare · levy · toll · fee · remuneration · payment · wage
Whatever the reason, it pays to have a plan in place before you make your big announcement. So, here’s the plan…you do have a plan right? If not…
Here’s where to start.
Take a look at your current clients. Will you raise their rates as well? ummm… If the answer is no, then you have to consider if keeping them will be worth your time. Or, if you’ll feel resentful at the amount of (lower paid) time you are spending with them.
Resentment can build up, so be wary of this. It’s better to raise their rates than providing substandard services due to hidden anger. YES, you can actually get angry over this situation.
If the answer is yes, then you have to prepare yourself for potential fallout. And this is a reality you need to face, right? Simply put, there are some clients (you likely know who they are) who will balk at a price hike. What??? How dare they right? I’m just sayin’ it could happen!
They’ll threaten to leave. They may actually leave. OMGoodness! Are you prepared for the hit your wallet will take should that happen? Now…what do you have to say about that?
Consider when your rate increase will go into effect. Today…tomorrow…next week? This might be different for each client, depending on when/how they’re paying you.
A client who is on a package plan might not see an increase for 3 months or more, while a monthly client might be shocked to find his or her rate is going up in a week. Please don’t do this to them, or the word might get out and you will lose all your clients. Especially if they’re from referrals! OH NO!!!
Please – give your clients at least a 30-day notice of the increase. They will need to budget for a higher expense and just might shop around for a new virtual assistant if they choose to. Remember…they can do this…so don’t be surprised if they do.
If you’re a little flexible and want to gain a few new clients, you might think about creating a last-minute offer. What a great idea huh?
Announce that your rates are going up on [whatever date], then offer to let X number of new clients lock in your current rate if they sign a contract right now.
Sure, you’ll still be working at your old rate, but with a few new clients on the roster, your cash flow will definitely improve. This is SMART thinking if I do say myself.
The most important thing to remember about rate increases is this:
You have to feel good about the prices you charge. If you think your rates are too low, chances are good that they are.
Raising them will not only make you feel better, but it might just let your current and prospective clients know the value of your services as well.
So…what do you really think about raising your rates? Let me know in the comments below won’t you?
Hope you enjoyed reading…
Let me ask you this…do you need a Virtual Assistant? If so…you can contact me here. I’d be more than happy to chat about what type of services I provide. Just need to fill out a little ol’ form. Thanks…I appreciate that!
How to Discuss Rates Like a Pro
Does the topic of money make your mouth dry and your hands sweat? Mmmm…Do you dread that point in a conversation when someone says, “So what do you charge?” Oh, how I hate this and I’m sure you do too! Just what ARE your RATES anyway?
So, you are not alone in this situation. Because most of us have difficulty talking about money—especially when it comes to quoting rates for our own work. Honestly…just what are you worth?
If you’re going to be successful in business, you have to get over it. Yup, you heard me right! GET OVER IT!
So, here are a few of my suggestions:
The first rule for declaring your rates with confidence is simply to practice. Talk to yourself in the shower. Tell your dog what your rates are. Stand in front of your mirror and say, “I charge $XXX.00 per hour.” Or…”I have 3 different packages you may select from.”
The more you say your rates out loud (not in your head) the more natural it will be for you.
Even if you’re on the phone or writing an email, smile when you say your rates. Your tone of voice changes when you smile (as does the “tone” of your typing) and that tone can convey confidence and authority, not to mention professionalism.
3) Avoid Being Indecisive
Listen to yourself as you speak to potential clients. Do you say things like, “Well, normally I charge…” or “Actually, my rates are…” or “Do you think that $XX.00 will work for you?” REALLY???
These (and others like them) are all indecisive ways of talking that do not instill confidence in your client, and worse, they make you sound like you don’t believe in yourself. This is true, and you should except that fact my friend.
Rather than squeaking out a timid, “Um, I charge, like $1,000 per month,” straighten your back, smile, and say, “My rate for VA Services is $1,000 per month. Where should I send your invoice?” And then…
4) Be Silent
When we’re nervous or feeling intimidated, we tend to talk. We want to fill the silence with something, anything, just to avoid having to sit there uncomfortably and wonder what the other person is thinking.
But guess what? He or she is just as uncomfortable with the silence, and psychologically, the one who speaks first is at a disadvantage. So when you’re talking pricing or rates, please avoid the urge to fill the silence (especially because you’re most likely to try to justify them) and let your potential client take the time to respond.
Will speaking with confidence always land you a new client? Nope! But being able to share your rates in a clear voice will help potential clients know that you’re confident in your skills, and consequently, that you are the right virtual assistant for them.
Speaking of…I know the perfect VA for you…ME! You can contact me HERE! I would love to help you with your business. And yes, we will be discussing my Rates and you can see what services I offer HERE!