I’d would like to find some hourly rates/pricing tables for our industry by state. I would like to know comparisons so I can be better prepared. Do you have anything like that? –AC
This is a great question, not because I’m going to answer it in the way you might expect (although I think you’ll still find my response helpful), but because it gives me another opportunity to discuss value and what we’re in business to do.
Every year since 2006, we have conducted an in-depth annual survey of those who are specifically in the business of ongoing administrative support business… not secretarial services; not virtual staffing agencies/VA teams; not web designers; not transcriptionists; not bookkeepers; and not every other kind of business out there that insists on confusing themselves with what we do.
Ours is the ONLY industry survey to do that. You will find a couple others out there purporting to be industry surveys that in my opinion are meaningless crap. They’re crap because they include anyone and everyone doing anything and everything.
How on earth could results collected from literally anyone and everyone without any kind of discernment whatsoever yield any kind of meaningful, relevant, representative, helpful information for you? They can’t, and that’s why they are crap. And they are especially crap when they are conducted by industry outsiders and those who aren’t even in our industry and who don’t understand what we actually do and are driven purely by financially motivated self-interests.
Those surveys don’t help anyone in our industry, especially when the information is skewed and accurately represent the real industry. How is including in the survey someone’s part-time telecommuting subcontractor who isn’t running a business of their own and who charges $7 an hour reflective of what you do as a business? How does including web designers, bookkeepers and all kinds of other non-administrative support businesses that are project-based with completely different business models help the solopreneurs like us who work in a monthly, relationship-based model? They don’t!
Those other so-called industry surveys also don’t help our industry because they give out incorrect data to the media and others who are in a position to educate (or miseducate as the case often is) our marketplace. Why anyone would waste time pariticpating in them is beyond me as they are only contributing to the very problems and misunderstandings with clients they constantly complain about.
That’s why we endeavored to conduct a legitimate, meaningful, specific and relevant annual study that would not only give our industry real, more accurate, professional and representative results, but also yield clues to where business knowledge is lacking in the our industry compared to other service professions and how we might step up our game collectively.
nce you get one of the surveys, you will be able to see the kind of rates people are charging in our industry, how much money they’re making annually, where they are from, etc. However, we don’t extrapolate results based on who is charging what in what state, and I’ll tell you why.
We don’t do that because it doesn’t matter. First and foremost, our first priority as a professional organization is to help members become better business people. If something isn’t consistent with that core tenet, then we aren’t going to talk out of both sides of our mouth and provide information that we think isn’t helpful to you, or worse, may harm people or lead them down paths that aren’t going to be successful.
Specifically, your rate should not depend on what state you live in. You have no geographic boundaries when it comes to finding and working with your target market and ideal clients. Your value is your value. It doesn’t change because you live in Timbuktu, Ohio. Your value is based on the need you fulfill for those clients in your target market, the problems you solve for them (and what that’s worth to them), and how your work allows them to move ahead in their businesses.
Look at it like this: If your work allows a client to write that that book, create those passive income streams, get more speaking gigs and ultimately have more time and space to make more money, that’s your value. So don’t shortchange yourself!
Geography and what others are charging is of no relevance to you or your business. It has no bearing on how to smartly price your service. You, your business, and what you offer to your target market is going to be a unique value different and separate from anyone else. That value is going to be the same no matter what the geographic location so never use that as an indicator in setting your fee.