You’ve seen them, those charts and cost comparisons on many, many (did I say “many”) colleagues’ websites trying to bribe clients into working with them because they are cheaper than employees.
Back in my early days, I even had a similar cost comparison. Egads! (Thank gawd we get smarter the longer we’re in business, lol)
The problem is that it’s not necessarily true that we are cheaper than employees.
Those of us who are accomplished and successful, who know our value to our clients, and who are running profitable businesses very often do cost more than an employee or at least the same.
But this is comparing apples to oranges.
And think this through…
If this is how you are enticing people to work with you, what kind of platform are you creating right from the get-go?
How difficult might you be making it for yourself when you realize you need or want to raise your fees?
How many clients might you lose because the relationship was based on you being cheap?
Are those the clients you really want and deserve?
I’ve said it a million times on here and it bears repeating:
Take all those cheap bridges and employee comparison charts completely out of the conversation. Remove them from your website and marketing.
Unless, of course, the solution you provide IS being “cheap” and “affordable.”
Then by all means, keep it on there.
The reason that we very often do cost more than employees is related to how the results of our work creates value for clients.
When clients are able to move forward and in turn grow their business, make more money, have more time for life — that is the value.
Don’t make the argument to clients that your fees are $X because of all it costs you to run your business.
That’s not their burden to bear. It’s not their role or their obligation to worry about what it costs us to be in business.
Focus clients on your value to them: the problems you help solve, the obstacles and challenges you help them overcome, what your work helps them achieve in their business, and what that might equate to in turn (e.g., more money, free time, ease…).
Isn’t that the solution you’re really in business to provide?
You know, I never thought of this before but you’re absolutely right. Thank you for an insightful article.
Thanks. I did post one of those charts on my website in the beginning of my business, but then quickly took it off. Thanks for reminding me why.
You make a really important point that your business costs are “not your client’s burden.” They’re also none of your client’s business; if you can run your business more efficiently and make more profit, you’re not going to advertise that, are you?
Clients want the results providers–of all types–offer. I think clients realize this more readily than we do, quite often.
I quite agree with you, Angie 😉
You’re right, too, about not making an argument to clients that your fees are $X because of what it costs to run your business. I made this mistake once. The truth is, I was undercharging this client when I first opened my practice and I increased my rate to at least bring it up to industry standards. (It was a significant increase and I knew I might lose her as a result.) So I tried to explain all this, but all it did was make her want to learn more about/pick apart my costs. It would have been much better to focus on what would have been of much greater interest to her: the value I provided in making the business run very smoothly without requiring a great deal of input from her.