Friday, August 1, 2014

Pricing and Payments: Packages vs. A la Carte

Here's another one from the Resume Writers' Digest mailbag!

Question from Alison:
I just recently listened to your presentation on Ask Better Questions and found it to be most informative — especially to a newbie such as myself just starting the process of develpment of my resume business.  

I would like your feedback on just how you went about structuring your fee schedule.  

What do clients seem to be drawn to: a fee set for each step of the process or an all inclusive package and most importantly which form provides you the best revenue source?

And finally, in what methods do you accept payment? And at what point during the crafting process is payment expected?

Here's my response!

Hi, Alison!

All great questions!

I collect a lot of data from colleagues to get a "big picture" about the industry, and I'll direct you to some of those resources on my blog that address your specific questions:

I had a link to this worksheet for Determining Your Resume Writing Rates in one of the blog posts, but I wanted to draw your attention to it specifically:

If you want to see the survey data and get a profile of an "average" resume writer (including pricing info), sign up here:

As for me, here's how I handle pricing:

I ask the client a series of initial questions — including whether they're updating an existing resume or starting from scratch, how long ago their existing resume was updated (if applicable), what their job target is, how soon they need the resume, how they plan to use the resume, etc. I also ask for their email address and tell them I'll send them information about my services, samples (sometimes!), and a custom quote.

Based on the information they gave me, I quote them an individual project price (usually as a range — i.e., $349-$399, plus Omaha/Nebraska sales tax if it's a local client) for a resume and cover letter. I also look at their LinkedIn profile (if they have one) and provide an additional quote for LinkedIn profile development (which includes my 8-day "Leveraging LinkedIn For Your Job Search" program). 

I base my pricing on a $55/hour rate, but I don't include that information in the quote — instead, I might calculate that I'll spend 1.5 hours on information gathering, 4 hours on writing/draft development, and 1 hour on project finalization. That would be 6.5 hours @ $55/hour or $357.50. So my $349-$399 quote covers me if it takes as long as I expect ... and a little bit of wiggle room if it takes longer.

Because I've been in business writing resumes for almost 20 years, I have a pretty good idea of how long it will take me to write that client's resume, based on the existing information I have from them, what I think I'll need, what they already have (existing resume vs. starting from scratch) and their job target.

I collect a $100 deposit up front (via check or PayPal) and the balance is due when I deliver the resume draft. Some resume writers do a deposit like I do, some collect 50% up front, and some collect full payment up front. I like the $100 deposit approach because it covers my time to put together their custom questionnaire, but if they don't get back to me with the completed questionnaire for a while (or at all!), I'm not having to worry about me owing them services. (In Nebraska at least, services that are paid for but not rendered are technically considered to be "unclaimed property" and should be turned over to the state after a certain period of time.) I send the questionnaire via email when I receive the deposit (I don't wait for the check to clear the bank before sending the questionnaire).

You can certainly offer a la carte options (i.e., resume for this price; resume and cover letter for this price) but I find that the package approach is attractive to the customers I work with. They get a resume, cover letter, reference page, and letterhead template for one price. As I said, LinkedIn profile development (headline + summary usually) for an extra fee. 

The most important thing is for YOU to decide what YOU want to do and then take ownership of it. It doesn't matter what "every other resume writer" is doing, or even what other resume writers charge. There have been a couple of folks who have jumped right into the resume writing industry and started charging $1000 for a resume and cover letter within their first year. It's your business... it's up to you!

Hope that helps!


PS -- Be sure to sign up for at least a Free Level membership on so I can share additional resources/ideas with you. I also offer a Bronze membership for $10/month with LOTS of great benefits (special reports to help you be more effective in your work and in your work with clients, ready-to-go content you can use with your clients, access to recordings/transcripts of previous teleseminars I've done, etc.). Sign up for either here:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Best Resumes For $100,000+ Jobs (Book Review)

What is it with our clients and $100,000+ jobs? I ask my almost-senior-level clients how much they want to be making, and inevitably, it's $100K.

Wendy Enelow says the magical figure is "a goal to strive for if you're not already there. Bottom-line, everyone wants to make $100,000 a year. If you're already there, then you want to work with someone who specializes in working with $100,000 folks."

Well, if you don't already know what a $100,000 resume looks like (or even if you've already created a few of them yourself!), Enelow's latest edition of "Best Resumes for $100,000+ Jobs" might still provide some food for thought. (Originally published in 1997, this version -- 2001 -- includes all new text and all new resumes.)

The reason most resume writers will purchase the book, Enelow notes, is "it's a great cheat book — (it) gives you lots of ideas for wording, formatting, style, presentation, etc."

One of the particular strengths of the book builds on another Enelow book, "1500+ Key Words for $100,000+ Jobs." The keywords section in the "Best Resumes" book is a great idea-starter.

While the actual "instructional" section of the book is very short, that is actually a plus for resume writers. Our hope, of course — as it is with any resume guide written for job searchers — is that individuals will buy the book and then fail in their attempt to replicate the superior efforts of our professional colleagues who write and contribute to these books.

Enelow has taken this "wish" one step further, including contact information for resume writers (members of the former Career Masters Institute, which she founded). For those job searcher readers who do get stumped, your name (if you were a CMI member at the time) is close at hand.

"The reason I included member (information) was strictly promotional — to get them business," Enelow says. "This way, they (job searchers) have all the contact information right in their hands."

Second Edition ($24.95)
by Wendy Enelow, CPRW, JCTC, CCM
Impact Publications

Originally reviewed in the July/August 2001 issue of the Resume Writers' Digest newsletter

Friday, July 25, 2014

Creating a Career Membership Site (Part 2)

Yesterday, I mentioned a "Little Monthly Payments"-based membership site as a way to add passive income into your resume writing (or career coaching) business. While monthly recurring income is one of the best benefits of starting a membership site (getting 100, 200 or even 500 members paying you on a monthly basis for information — even at $5 each, that's $500 to $2500 a month), I wanted to share a couple more benefits.

The second benefit is expert awareness. Within the "gates" of your membership site, you can offer a wide variety of content. In addition to articles and short reports, you can do teleseminars, videos, and interviews. The more content you put into your membership site and the more members you have, the more your content and recommendations will be respected. There's no faster way to brand yourself as an expert than by creating a membership site. All your future content, products, and services will have a lot more clout as a result.

Third, membership sites offer backend sales opportunities. The income from a membership site doesn't stop with monthly membership fees. There are plenty of opportunities to make additional income from your site. You can turn members into resume/coaching clients, you can sell group programs and group coaching, and you can also re-package part of the content used in your membership site and sell it as a standalone product.

Fourth, it's never been easier to start a membership site, even if you don't have any technical expertise. If you're already using WordPress on your blog, you can use Wishlist Member to create a password-protected section of your site (they have lots of free training resources to show you how!). Or use a self-contained site like WildApricot (which is what I use for to host your "Little Monthly Payments" membership site.

I've created a comprehensive 10-page checklist to help you get started thinking about how a membership site could work in YOUR resume writing business. Download it here:
Little Monthly Payments Membership Site Checklist

And remember, to learn more about creating your own membership program, check this out:
Little Monthly Payments

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creating a Career Membership Site (Part 1)

Selling a special report for $5 can make you some decent money. But what if you could sell a special report series, and your subscribers received a new special report each month for $5. What if you had 20 subscribers paying $5, month after month? That's $100 a month. What if you had 200 subscribers paying $5 each month? That's $1,000 a month!

Wouldn't you LOVE to have a recurring income stream where you get hundreds of little monthly payments into your PayPal account each month?

Yes, I thought so! I mean, who wouldn't? Right?

Well, now you can learn EXACTLY how to do just that with Kelly McCausey's course, Little Monthly Payments. This product came about from all the buzz she created after launching a new, low cost monthly membership site ... a site that now has more than 500 subscribers (and costs $9.97 a month)! That's almost $5,000 a month!

When people asked her HOW she did that, she decided to put together this program. And it's a system that is PERFECT for resume writers and coaches. Our clients WANT and NEED information to help them be more effective in their job search!

In the "Little Monthly Payments" program, Kelly shares:

  • The simple rules she used to guide her in creating a "little monthly payment" (LMP) program
  • Interviews with other successful micro-continuity program owners (including ME!!) to give you a variety of perspectives
  • The practical "how to set it up to run smoothly" information you need to get started
  • An abundance of micro-continuity program model ideas
  • Her own "Printable Brainstorming Sheets" to help you collect and organize potential ideas

If you're ready to create a recurring income stream where you can bring in hundreds of little monthly payments every month, check it out:

Don't miss tomorrow's blog post, where I share FOUR REASONS why you should create a membership site (and a 10-page checklist to help make it easy!)


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