It’s actually not as easy as it may seem to figure out what kind of pricing structure you are going to using when running your marketing consulting company or firm. It doesn’t matter what kind of work that you are performing most veterans will tell you that it’s never a small task coming up with a competitive pricing plan for your consulting business.
Now there are a few dilemmas that come into play in this kind of situation for most consultants. There are a few reasons why you want to avoid charging a ridiculously low fee. One reason is if you do charge too low the work won’t be as enjoyable. You’ll keep wondering to yourself why you asked for such a low price because in the back of your head you know your time is more valuable. Another big reason is that it can really hurt your brand image as people will see you as a low cost solution even if you offer professional services.
Now the flip side of that coin is charging too much for your business consulting services. If you do this especially at the beginning of your career you definitely will scare away a lot of clients. You won’t have as many opportunities thrown your way strictly based on budget concerns that many companies out there have. You also can damage your reputation because many people will start to see you as a company that overcharges and that kind of information does spread around business communities.
What you want to do is find a happy medium and decide on a pricing structure that works for both you and your consulting client. One way to do this that is popular is to offer an hourly rate for your services. What I would recommend in this case is come up with a fee that you would feel comfortable receiving for each hour of your work day. Don’t ask for too much but don’t low ball yourself either. Most mid level consultants start there fees at a minimum of 20 to 25 dollars per hour.
Another way that you can charge for your consulting services is on a project basis. If you are good at estimation then this might work very well for you. The problem with this is most people are not. For example you look at a web design project and think it will take you 20 hours. When it’s all finished and done the overall project including phone calls, meetings, emails, design, etc took you about 45 hours. You end up losing a lot of money this way. Charging a project fee is good for consultants who have already been in the profession for a while and are very good at judging how long any given project will take.
What ever route you end up taking for deciding what to charge for your consulting fees don’t make it a quick decision. It’s an ongoing process that will evolve and change with time until you eventually find the perfect balance for your business performance and pay.