In consulting, as self-serving as it sounds, the answer to “Is it time to raise my rates?” is almost always “Yep.” After all, the only person who can start charging more is you, so if you do not decide your value to customers has increased, then no one is going to disagree. In a post at his blog, Lew Sauder pinpoints seven reasons you might not be raking in as much with your services as you could be:
- Not up to date on technology
- Not up to date on business trends
- Locked into a contract
- Can’t be found
- Pigeonholed yourself
- Not selling value
- Being inefficient
Up the Ante
If you do not have a working understanding of current tech trends like cyber security and mobile app development, you should probably start doing your homework now. The more tech savvy you have, the more attractive you become to potential clients. There are more straightforward reasons why you are not maximizing your value though, such as being locked into a long-term contract. Such contracts do put food on the table, yes, but think ahead and include clauses that allow for appropriate rate increases.
Another problem that can prevent you from generating as much income as possible is simply not being visible enough to potential clients. Build your website, make it SEO-friendly, and of course keep networking. If you are a consultant at a firm, make sure likewise that your work is visible to decision-makers. You want to become known for high quality work in your niche, but on the flipside, Sauder notes that the demand for some niches depreciates over time. Beware pigeonholing yourself.
About not selling value, Sauder further explains:
When IT consultants sell themselves, they often talk about the skills, knowledge, and experience they have. A technical client may be able to translate that into value. But it shouldn’t be the client’s responsibility. Consultants that want to increase their billing rates should be savvy at explaining to the client why their skill is of value to the client and why they should pay more for it.
And finally, if you come across as bumbling—missing meetings, having to ask the same questions more than once—it will not inspire confidence in clients. Make efficient use of everyone’s time. If you can be mindful of this and the other tips, you better position yourself to raise your rates confidently. You can read the original post here: http://blog.consulting101book.com/billing-rate-is-low/