Should I have a rate card?
July 5, 2014 1:41 PM Subscribe
I'm doing the ground work in setting up a small side business. This business would target a specific demographic with a defined subset of residential design services. I feel compelled to do a 'rate card' but I wonder if anyone here has experience with using a rate card as a service provider. Trying to figure out pros and cons and whether I've missed something. As a consumer, I think I'd love to see some up-front rates but I know that, realistically, it would keep me from hiring someone if I felt like I couldn't afford them (even if I could).
posted by amanda to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A little more info –
One category of the design services include exploration of whether you can do an addition or renovation on your home. So, code research could be one component. Creating a site map of the property to determine where the setbacks are and other issues that could alter your plan would be another level of service. Consulting on how the home interior might be restructured to accommodate a renovation would be another service. Doing an "as-built" set would be a high-level of service and might be a precursor to a real project -- however, I would stop short of doing architectural design services and would refer to a designer or architect for full development/construction of a design.
I'm also planning to offer interior space-planning. How to work within the footprint of your home to accommodate a new baby, a grandparent, a home-office, etc.
The reasons for doing a rate card would be to show A) how affordable the base level of services can be and, B) to avoid going in to situations where clients have no idea how much things should cost but definitely can not pay what I'm asking. On the other hand, I've hired professionals in the past where I've been nervous about the cost, met them, decided to take the risk, hired them, paid out very dearly in cash (in my relative opinion) and been thrilled with the level of service and came to understand how worth it they were. So, there's some salespersonship going on there – perhaps f I can get in the door, I can convince them of my worth and make some good money.
However, as this is a side business, I can't spend all my time going on fruitless sales calls. So, I'm thinking of offering a rate card – and maybe it's a rate range for the basic category of services and then being quite open about my hourly rate. Some people will tally that up and say they can't afford it. Other people may think what I'm charging is quite low and therefore I must not be very good. And, of course, I have the potential for shooting myself in the foot – agreeing to a rate and then realizing a project is just far more complicated than the flat rate. I think I can handle those situations with aplomb but, you know, it's not a fun conversation to have.
Please tell me your experience with rate cards and whether it's a good idea or a bad idea for a small businessperson.