Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Decide What to Charge Resume Clients

Deciding how much to charge is one of the biggest challenges for resume writers. The vast majority of resume writers charge based on the project, not by the hour. That's because jobseekers may be reluctant to commit to having their resume developed without having a specific price quote. 

Another factor to consider is how your clients feel about hourly rates versus project rates. If you're just getting started, you can do a few tests to see how your clients respond. I can tell you that, after 17 years as a resume writer, clients prefer flat rates, not hourly pricing. And remember, if you can get most of your work down to flat project rates, you'll actually end up earning more money in the long run. The reason is that the more you do something, the faster you get at it.

With an hourly rate you're often being punished for being fast. But, you can get into trouble with flat rates too, if you underestimate the time required for the project. 

There's also the question of whether you should you offer pre-set packages, or quote project individually? It's up to you. If you have pre-set levels (like "Professional" and "Executive,") sometimes you'll run into clients who get a package rate who will suck every single hour of every single day out of you for a small package rate. Don't allow that to happen. Keep your contracts very tight, and your duties very clear when you create a package rate. Make sure clients "fit" in the level they're choosing. 

Also, in order to create a solid package rate you need to understand how to write a good contract and properly price packages. 

If you quote each project individually, you'll also be estimating the amount of time you'll spend on a project. Package rates are really based on hourly rates. Don't have an hourly rate? You should. You can use this worksheet to calculate your hourly rate.

If you know what you want to earn hourly, then you simply estimate how long the project will take you if all goes perfectly, multiply by your hourly rate and that is your base project rate. But you're not done yet. Nothing ever goes perfectly, right? Take that fee and multiply it by 1.5. You now have your project rate. 

Then add in some conditions to the contract, such as how many times you're willing to edit the project (most resume writers include one revision), or how many hours you're willing to put into the project. Be very specific about what your responsibility is to the project and the client's responsibility to the project. Be very clear on when deliverables are due from a client and from you. Your contract cannot be too specific; leave no ambiguity. A sentence such as "Any work outside the scope of this project will be billed at my normal hourly rate of $50 per hour" can help alleviate many problems.

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