By Jessica Fuchs (Ocala Chapter)
So you’re taking the plunge and going solo. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to pricing your services. The beauty of this, however, is that each entrepreneur can structure fees in a way that best suits his or her needs.
1. Work on retainer. Public relations and marketing consultant Ginger Broslat prefers working with clients on retainer and embedding herself in their business, often having a desk at their location and attending their meetings. “I hate time tracking and billing. So I negotiate a monthly retainer with an estimated number of hours,” she says. Ginger typically opts to set a new client contract for three months and renegotiates after that period.
It’s important to define your scope of work clearly and specifically when working on retainer (to avoid endless requests from clients for work outside of what you were originally hired to conduct).
2. Outline capacity with a strategic plan. Strategic marketing consultant Nate Long bases his fees on capacity outlined in a strategic plan created with each of his clients. “With the capacity model, you have predefined goals you’re going to accomplish for a set fee. If it’s taking you too long to get something done, then you need to figure out how to work better/smarter,” he says.
3. Set hourly or project rates. Be careful not to undervalue yourself. “A common mistake [I see people make] is basing pricing on salaries,” explains Karen Swim, president of Words For Hire. “Independents can be more expensive [on an hourly basis] than employees because clients understand they are hiring someone for immediate results and expertise.”
4. Don’t be afraid to ask around. Kellye Crane, founder of Solo PR Pro, suggests asking your fellow independent contractors. A lot of times people will tell you their rates. Think about what agencies are charging for their work. Don’t sell yourself short.
When starting an independent practice, people often think they have to start low because they are new. But remember, you’re not new to the world. It doesn’t matter that your experience was in the corporate sphere. You’re coming to the marketplace.
Editor’s note: This is a shorter version of a post written by Jessica Fuchs for the FPRA Annual Conference blog team. Read the full post here.