Charging for Image Consulting can vary from place to place and consultant to consultant. I am often asked by new Image Consultant how to go about deciding how to charge for services when you first start out. Often, they are afraid of charging too much and scaring new clients away, but at the same time they do not want charge too little and end up not making enough to make it worth their while.
This is a very understandable concern when you are first starting out in the world of consulting and something you should carefully consider. Below I have some great tips that can help you do the research before you decide what you should start charging clients.
The first thing you really need to know is how much money you need to make to keep your business up and running. This means all of the expenses your business incurs and how much you need to make to pay your bills.
Research the Competition
The next step is to research the competition in your market. You need to know what others are charging in your area for similar services. Do searches for things like Image Consulting, Image Coaching, Personal Brand Consulting or Coaching, Life Coaching, Style Consulting or Coaching, Personal Shopping, ect. I would recommend setting up a spreadsheet of all of your competition so you can keep track of them later as well. It never hurts to know your competition. This way you can check back in a year or so and see if any of them have raised their fees or closed down shop.
Take your expertise and education into consideration
Let’s face it, if you are brand new to the Image Consulting world, then yes, your fees are going to be lower than someone who has been doing this for 20 years, has written 4 books and speaks all over the world. So you have to take into consideration your amount of expertise and education. You can always raise your fees as you continue to add more education. This is why it will be important for you to continue to learn and add more certifications and expertise to your business whenever you can. With more clients and more feedback and more referrals you get, you can start to consider raising those fees.
Consider what you would like to be making
Yes, we would all like to be making million dollar salaries, but now is not the time to be unrealistic. Consider only what you need to make to get by. How many clients would you need this year to make things work for you? Do you have other work you are doing to pick up the slack while you are getting your business up and running? Maybe you have a second income in the home that is paying your regular bills and this is not something you have to consider right now. Everyone’s situation is different so you will have to take your own situation into consideration here.
Time to set the fee
Now that you have the four components you can set your fee. You know what you need to make to pay the business bills, you know what your competition is charging, you know your expertise and education, and you know what you’d like to make and how many clients you need to do that. With all of this information, you should be able to successfully set a client fee that makes you feel more comfortable.
Here is a quick example that might help out with your own calculations:
- My businesses expenses for my first year in business come out to be $5,100
- I found through research that the competition in my area is charging anywhere between $800-$2600 for a consulting package
- While my husband is currently covering most of the bills while I start my new business I would still like to bring in at least $10,000 this year to help out with household bills and cover a family vacation
- This means I need to bring in $15,100 this year
- If I can get 2 clients per month this would be 24 clients at the end of the year ($15,100/24=$630)
- Since $630 is way lower than most of the competition is charging and I know I am worth more than this I am going to start my fee out at $1,200
See how easy that was! It is not as hard as you think and often we just overthink it and underestimate our worth and our services. Once you have your fee set, set a date in your calendar for one year from today to review your fee again in the same way you did today and see if it is time to raise your fee. You can do this every year as you continue to grow, gain more clientele, more education, and more knowledge!