What’s your worth? Five points to help you know.

This week, we look at an issue raised by our very own talented creative, Susann Langdale. As well as working for us here at Local News Publications for the past seven years, Susann is also a freelance graphic designer. You can contact her and be on the receiving end of her design magic by sending her an email – rhinbar.studios@bigpond.com.

The issue many owner/operators, like Susann, have is that it can be difficult to know what is a reasonable price to charge and what a client is willing to pay. For most people, knowing what they and their product or service is worth is often one of the hardest aspects about starting a business.

Here’s five points that might help you come to a price you are comfortable with:

1. Find out your competitors prices. Research your industry for other businesses similar to yours that are offering roughly the same service. Look for businesses with the same qualities you value. Then think about if you are doing anything extra that they aren’t. You can either use this to add a bit to your price, or it can become a great ‘value-add’ to your service. For example, an ironing service might offer free pick up or delivery, but charge the same as their competitor, thereby giving themselves an edge. Or, pick up or delivery can be optional for a minimal extra charge, which gives the customer the option to pay more or not.

2. Find out what your hourly rate would be if you worked for someone else. Given that an employer will have overheads that you may not, you can either charge the same and keep more in your pocket, or charge a little less and make yourself a slightly less expensive option for the customer.

3. Calculate what it took to get to where you are now. And by that, I mean write down how many hours/years you have spent learning your profession. How many courses did you undertake? How many seminar/conferences did you attend? What did it cost you in time, effort and equipment?

4. Which brings us to the fourth point – don’t undervalue your expertise! You are where you are because of hard work and dedication. While others were out at the movies, pub or laying on the beach, remember that you were studying and learning how to be great at what you do. Acknowledge to yourself the effort you’ve expended and factor that in to your pricing system.

5. Once you’ve set your price, try not to discount. It’s easy to say you can shave a bit off the price ‘just this once’ for a customer only to find they don’t take up your service the next time it’s full price. Where you can, value add. For Susann, that might be offering to design a letterhead for free when taking on a job to design business cards. She doesn’t need to reduce her price but can value add something that is relatively cost effective for her to produce.

None of us like to value ourselves higher than is reasonable and possibly miss out on business but on the other hand, it’s easy to undervalue what we offer and find ourselves working well into the night for a pittance. Most customers value quality over price. If a customer is too focussed on getting a discount, then they don’t value what you are offering and maybe aren’t the sort of customer you need or want.

Be confident about what you offer and the price you offer it for. If you value what you do, chances are you will attract customers who do too.


Susannah has been the co-owner of Local News Publications together with her husband, Graham, since 2006 but has been involved with the company since it’s inception in 1993. She holds the position of Editor and is known for being a spelling/grammar/punctuation tyrant. Susannah writes the monthly column Personally Speaking which appears in all four publications, and which grew into her own blog over two years ago (www.susannahfriis.com). Susannah also enjoys being part of the volunteer writing team for overseas aid organisation Destiny Rescue.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended as professional advice. The views expressed in this article are solely the views of the author.

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