You’ve got your certification in one hand, your color wheel in the other, and you’re ready to take the professional world by storm! People are interested in your design services and you can’t wait to put your skills to use. There’s only one problem: you haven’t priced your services!
Many new professionals feel nervous about pricing their services and building service packages. It’s a fine balance between charging enough to make a living, but not so much that clients take their business elsewhere. Your packages should offer a full range of services without including ‘extras’ that your clients don’t need.
Putting time and effort into building great design packages and pricing them well is one of the most important steps to start your career off on the right foot! Check out these key steps for doing just that!
Step 1: Define your services
Dissect your talents and figure out what you actually have to offer your clients. Are you a professional organizer who specializes in eco-friendly design? Do you fare best when selecting furniture and décor pieces to brighten up a home? What extra services—such as lifestyle organizing or downsizing—have you been trained to do? Lay your skills on the table and analyze exactly what you have to offer your clients.
Step 2: Create appealing combinations
Now that you know what you’re capable of, assess how you should market each service. Choose combinations of services that go well together and build packages based on which combinations might interest your target clients most.
For example, as a professional organizer you can have different packages such as workspace/desk organization, a more advanced option that involves a service such as expanding storage solutions, and a third “full-service” option that involves organizing an entire room.
Having smaller bundle services that may rest outside of the larger scale services can be an additional way to tap into other areas of your expertise. For professional organizers, consider having a decluttering/downsizing package designed specifically for those who are moving homes. As for home stagers, why not have a package for reworking clients’ old furniture into new designs and another for going shopping with them?
Be sure to include a list of à-la-carte service, too. For example, Feng Shui clients may just want a consultation on rearranging furniture they already have. Or, if you’re an interior decorator, clients may just want to revamp their window treatments while keeping everything else intact. Making sure you’re not only offering rigid service packages will draw in clientele for other services and they may eventually want or need your large-scale packages. Don’t close any doors for yourself!
You should also consider the size of the houses and the surrounding lot when creating your packages. Larger homes would typically require more time, more hands, and more work than smaller homes.
Here’s where it gets fun: You’ll want to name your packages in a way that grabs clients’ attention while still being informative. Take the three professional organizing packages we mentioned above, for example. You could call them:
- Desktop Redesign package
- Closet Clean-up package
- The Makeover Magic package
Ideally, the more expensive combinations will sound prestigious, while the less expensive ones will have names that make them sound more basic. Especially since some customers may only just want your services for a room or two, it’s not a bad idea to look into providing discounts for multiple rooms.
Step 3: Research your local industry
You have to do your homework! Building packages is one thing, but actually putting a price to them is another. Your prices should be competitive, meaning that they’re similar to the “going rate” or the standard price in your area. Pricing competitively benefits both you and the rest of your local community.
- By pricing too low, you could drag the going rate in your area down by forcing other design professionals to lower their prices to compete with yours. This causes everyone to make less money. You might also risk being perceived as less experienced or unable to do your job if you’re not charging what you’re worth.
- By pricing too high, you could drive the going rate up. This sounds like a positive thing at first, but people won’t really make more money if local services become too expensive and clients lose interest in the industry.
Research other interior decorators, home stagers, feng shui professionals, and professional organizers with packages similar to yours and compare their prices to find the average rate.
Step 4: Consider your level of experience
Designers and organizers charging the “going rate” in your area might have been working professionally for many years. You’ll want to charge a price that gives your skills credit, but acknowledges your level of experience.
There’s no shame in being a beginner, but you’ll also lose clients if you charge the same price as the seasoned professionals even though you’re not quite on their level in terms of skill. You might charge just below the going rate when you’re first starting out, or just above the rate if you’re very experienced and in demand.
Step 5: Stick to your guns
Once you’ve established your pricing, have confidence in the value of your packages! Offering the occasional discount or the option to bundle packages can be a great marketing tool, but don’t haggle or bargain. Your price is your price, and that’s that!
If people learn that your price can be knocked down with a little persuasion, you might find many clients trying to short-change you and you won’t be making what you’re worth as a result. Respectfully decline bargaining attempts, restate your price, and remain confident in what your skills are worth.
Note: If you suddenly realize that all of your clients beg you to lower your prices, investigate your local industry again. Ask yourself whether you’re actually overcharging or whether people just really enjoy discounts.
It’s about balance!
There’s no one-package-fits-all, but you can have fun with it! Think about what kind of packages you’d most like to purchase if you were the client, and combine your skills to offer a really great service. Stick close to the going rate, respect your local industry, and respect yourself as a professional!