When we first started our business, employed full-time elsewhere and looking for a way out, we were willing to work for practically nothing to build our portfolio and resume. Like many entrepreneurs, the desire to build our business was greater than our awareness of our bank account. Even more, it was greater than the value we put upon ourselves and our time. It’s pretty sad that we were looking at the rates proposed by third-world country contractors and were trying to compete with their prices.
After being asked numerous times, “Why is your rate so low?” we began to question ourselves… Why IS our rate so low? We realized that our lower-paying clients treated us with less respect than our higher paying clients, most likely because of the financial value we placed upon our services.
Suddenly, the desire to win projects due to low rates wasn’t as appealing. We didn’t want to win ANY project, we wanted projects in our preferred niches. We know we’re good at what we do we decided we ought to be paid more for it.
I admit that my jaw dropped the first couple times our proposals were accepted with our new rates. But it kept happening! And you know what!? The clients keep coming back for more work!
Raising our value of ourselves raised our value to our clients!
If you are an entrepreneur who is struggling to survive even with as full client-load, I would highly suggest re-evaluating your fees/hourly rate. Try raising your rates a little at a time and seeing what happens. We did this. First we raised them 25%. Then we raised them 100%. Now… Yea…
Notice I’m not telling you what we charge. That’s besides the point. YOU need to determine YOUR value regardless of what anybody else’s value is.
And if clients jump on you like kids on cupcakes, take it as a clue that your rates are too low.
Kim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture. In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting and writing.
Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “Top 10 Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.