If you’re an artist who does client work, you’ve defffffffinitely undercharged at some point.
A ton of people probably still are…
In this post, I go over 5 telltale signs that you’re undercharging.
Rather watch than read? No problem! You can watch and listen in real-time by clicking the video below!
Let’s Get Started!
Before we jump in I also wanna say that I’m in noooo way criticizing…. I’ve been there myself. But once I FINALLY started charging my worth, my business changed bigtime. And since then, I’ve been on a mission to help other artists figure out pricing.
I actually have a free workshop that I co-run with another artist named Joanne called “5 Keys to Confident Pricing” where we give you all our action steps to FINALLY feel confident in your pricing….
So if you’re reading this and realize you need to work on your pricing… you should come to that. Click here for more info!
Back to the FIVE signs you’re undercharging….
Number 1: If you’re constantly getting yeses on the jobs you quote
There’s a general rule of thumb that if 50% or more of your quotes are accepted, it’s time to raise your rates. If more than half of people are saying yes, it likely means your price is low. You actually WANT some no’s. It’s totally normal that not everyone can afford you– you are not a bargain business… your art has VALUE. Those who actually want to hire YOU for YOUR work will budget accordingly.
Number 2: If the last point is true (you’re getting a ton of yesses) but you still somehow aren’t profiting (or even worse, you’re getting a ton of yesses, but you’re not even covering your expenses)
If this is true, your hourly rate calculation (or whatever calculation you may have pulled out of thin air) is WRONG. If you run the numbers and find that after accounting for your expenses and your taxes, you aren’t actually MAKING any extra money, you need to increase your prices—big time!
I’m willing to bet you didn’t start a business to make less than minimum wage or even worse, to make negative money. (And if you did, you didn’t start a business… you started a hobby. Think about that.)
If you’ve never learned how to properly calculate your hourly rate, it’s actually not that tricky! In our free pricing workshop, we go over alllll the steps and do it with you! We even give you some worksheets you can fill out to calculate it.
Number 3: If you are working your biz “full-time” but still need to take on other jobs to make ends meet
(Quick note here to say that this note is NOT for people who are running their business as a side-hustle on top of another job, though. I actually super strongly recommend that if you’re not quite ready to take the leap to using your art to fully support yourself. This point is for people who are working full time in their businesses already).
Much like the last one, this point boils down to numbers and how many hours you are working ON your business versus IN your business. You can’t charge your clients for time you spend doing things like bookkeeping, writing newsletters, social media planning, networking, etc. You have to be charging enough during your billable hours to cover aaaalllllll the other hours you invest in your biz. If you need to take on other jobs to make ends meet, take a cold hard look at your costs, your time spent on your business, and how much you’re charging—something isn’t adding up. Make a few tweaks and your business will benefit.
Again, this is all stuff we cover more in-depth in the workshop!
Number 4: If you’re always looking at your quotes from “the client’s perspective” – you’re making sure “it’ll seem reasonable to them” or even dropping the price a little before you hit send
I’m soooo guilty of this one… I remember if my quote was like, $550, I’d always go in at the last second go and drop it to $450 instead… In MY head I’d be like “well under $500 sounds like a WAY better deal so they’ll be more likely to say yes to that.”
Your prices have nothing to do with your client’s perception. Your client’s budget is their concern—not yours! If a prospective client cannot afford your products or services, that is not a reason to lower your rates. It just means they aren’t the right client for you.
If you realllly wanna work together, you can adjust your offering to meet their budget, not your prices. Reduce the scale of the project, or suggest doing it in phases. If they want to hire you bad enough, they will find the funds or agree to work with you to adjust the project. It needs to be a win-win for everyone.
There’s nothing worse than dropping your price and the client immediately saying yes. You’re left like…. “dang…. What if I hadn’t dropped it. They probably woulda said yes anyway”, and you know you’ve left money on the table.SO LET’S STOP DOING THAT. If anything, I’d challenge you to ADD at the last second rather than decrease.
Number 5: If you’ve had multiple people (or even clients!) tell you you should charge more, or say things like “wow, what a steal!”, but you STILL don’t raise your prices
This is all about self worth. Do you not actually believe you should be charging more? Because if that’s the case, you will constantly struggle in your biz.
As you develop your skills, gain credibility in your industry, create demand for your products… your prices should continue to rise. Sometimes exponentially. If you don’t feel comfortable at even the suggestion of raising your rates, you will struggle to grow.
The only way you can make more money if you don’t raise your prices is to work MORE. And again, I’m willing to bet you didn’t start your own business because you wanted LESS flexibility and money.
You need to confidently be able to raise your rates– the goal should be to keep the same amount of clients (or perhaps even work towards getting LESS clients) but make more money. Not just get more clients to get more money.
And That’s A Wrap!
I hope this post made you realize that you definitely have room to up your rates. The more we as artists can confidently demand our worth, the better it is for all of us!!
Honestly, a lot of the time as an artist pricing your work, you just KNOW if your prices are too low. You’ve heard rumblings of what other people are charging, and you just can’t quite get yourself to up your own rates because of fear that you’ll lose some jobs. Or because of a million other reasons making you feel not-so-confident in quoting high.
If that’s you, I’ll just finish off by saying that you NEED to come to the free workshop I mentioned. We go over sooooo much and every time we run this we have students tell us how much of a difference it made in their confidence towards pricing in just once short workshop.
Here’s the link to the 5 Keys to Confident Pricing Workshop.
For now, I’ll leave you with another pricing related post!
And finally, your dad joke…
Which day of the year do monkeys like best?
The first of Ape-ril.