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By Robert Bly

One of the toughest questions beginning and experienced service providers wrestle with is: "How much should I charge?"

You probably have a standard fee, or range of fees, you want to charge (or have been charging) your clients. But is it the right fee?

The amount of money you charge--and how you present this fee to your potential clients--plays a big role in determining whether you make the sale and get the project.

Charge too little, and you diminish your prestige and importance in the eyes of your client. You also diminish the perceived value of your services and dramatically reduce your own earnings.

A low fee may get you a contract you might otherwise have lost, but will you be happy doing the work for so little money?

People who sell products don't worry about this too much, because they can usually make it up on volume. But when you are selling your services, you are also selling the finite amount of time you
have available to perform these services. In fact, time is your only money-making resource, and there's a sharply limited inventory. So you can't afford to give your time away too cheaply.

On the other hand, charge too much and you may price yourself out of the market, losing out on jobs to other service providers who charge less.

Setting Fees That Bring You Maximum Revenue

Because each industry is different, I can't go into a comparison of the hourly rates or project fees others typically charge in your profession or trade, how clients or customers in your market are billed, or give a detailed course on cost-estimating for each type of service.

That's beyond the scope of this article. And if you've been in business for any length of time, you already know these things about your own industry.


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