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Don't undersell your services!

Providing a service is a business commodity. Therefore, whether you are a consultant, an attorney-at-law, doctor, public speaker, accountant, photographer, musician, hairstylist or tradesperson, you are an entrepreneur providing as much of a necessary, contemporary service as the conventional merchants and traders in haberdasheries and perishable products. However, unlike the latter, whose ultimate selling prices are largely determined by external factors such as supply chain costs, as well as other considerations such as supply and demand from their consumer/customer base, you might be comparatively unsure as to how to be fair and equitable with your reimbursement. In this regard, are some points you might want to note beforehand:

1. Type of client- Is your client an individual, a corporate entity in the public or private sector, or a non-governmental organisation, a public school, a faith-based organisation, et cetera? Granted, your time is your stock in trade, and you should not ever sell yourself short as a working professional. Nevertheless, you should not charge a standard price across the board, as there would be those clients who can pay more, as well as those who can pay less. Likewise, rest assured that there are times that what you gain by way of networking opportunities, favourable referrals, and experience can more than compensate for what you receive as reimbursement.

2. Type of service skill- Consider as well, what skill you bring to the table. Is it unique? Are you the only persons who can perform that particular service? Or are you the only one who has gained a strong reputation for doing it well? For example, does the proposed task require you to liaise on a one-on-one basis? Wil you be the exclusive service provider, or a specific service provider? Likewise, does the terms of engagement require you to serve as part of a team? Or do you have to collaborate with different individuals at different levels? Does the proposed project or task have a set deadline, or is it flexible enough that you can decide what deadline is both practical and fair to everyone?

3. The number of clients to engage- Although this point was mentioned earlier, it requires a bit more elaboration. Say for example that you are a hairstylist, photographer or tailor, and you have been approached by a bride or groom to provide your professional skills on their special day. Some determinants of your service charge would resonate with whether you would be engaging just the bride, just the groom, their respective bridesmaids and groomsmen, or their wider wedding entourage. Likewise, if you are a musician or DJ, you should ask questions that ably answer the expected number of persons and the number of hours required for your service. Remember, if they don't volunteer a response, make it your business (pardon the pun), to ask a definite question and get a definite answer.

4. Type of event that requires your services- This is a situation where cost variation might arise. For example, as a public speaker or consultant, an intimate meeting of approximately eight (8) persons should not attract the same cost as say a conference meeting in a hotel ballroom, as the techniques and skill have to be adjusted to tailor the audience, the message to be delivered and of course, the size of the venue. Likewise, what might be charged for delivering a virtual presentation or one that doesn't require overseas travel, would be different from foreign travel or even long-distance local travel, especially where you have to drive or otherwise make your own travel arrangements to and from the venue.

Always seek reimbursement that is fair and reasonable to your client and equally respectful of your skill, experience and time as a professional. Don't shortchange anyone.

Keywords: LinkedIn Local Caribbean, service, client, skills, event

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