Choosing and getting comfortable with a good fee is one of your most important tasks, and it requires examining a lot of your assumptions about money. Business owners give many reasons to charge low fees. Some of these reasons are valid, and some really aren't. Let's look at a few:
- Clients won't come and see me if I charge more than my competitors.
- I want people with less resources to be able to afford me
- Clients won't stay as long if I charge more
Let's go through those one by one:
1. Clients won't come and see me if I charge more than my competitors.
If someone is comparison shopping with cost as a primary factor, then that might be true. Are your ideal clients using cost as a primary factor? Don't assume that most of them are. In your work as a service provider, factors such as how much your clients like you and how they feel about the quality and effectiveness of your work are likely to be much higher than cost.
Sometimes the opposite is true. Many people believe that fee is related to quality. If you are charging less, many of your prospective clients will believe you are less capable of helping them. We know many amazing professionals charge very little, but you need to acknowledge the association between cost and quality.
2. I want people with less resources to be able to afford me.
This is the most valid reason to charge a lower fee, and if you are called to serve people with less resources, I honor you. I also have found that charging more allows me to give more generously and I can choose to give pro-bono services when it feels right. Consider reserving your lower fee exceptions for certain people you feel strongly called to serve. Consider charging enough that you have time to volunteer.
3. People won't stay as long if I charge more.
This is often true! And I don't see this as a negative. When you charge more, your clients are faced with the decision of how much they can invest in themselves. When your ideal client invests a significant amount of money in your services, they often invest more fully in the process. There is likely to be much less time you are working with them when they are not fully present.
The above are just 3 examples of the dozens of reasons business owners give for charging less. I invite you to question your assumptions and shine light on your blind spots. When your business is paying you well, you can take excellent care of yourself and you can continue to provide your unique services.