Pricing Strategies for Your Career Services

Hand holding Canadian $50 bills representing the price of career services.

Are you torn about how to price your career services? Are you afraid of pricing too low or too high and ending up frustrated? Pricing is a delicate issue that many practitioners struggle with when it comes to offering career services to the public. I would like to share some insights and tactics—gathered from the 2022 CPC Mastermind Mentoring Group—to help you decide on pricing strategies for your entrepreneurial career service.

Check the prices of other career professionals and determine the income you want to make.

There are plenty of career professionals out there with published pricing. Checking the market will also help you get a feel of what others are charging comparatively when it comes to similar offerings. Knowing how much you want to make in terms of income will also give you an idea of much you’ll need to sell and adapt the offering accordingly.

Consider the value you bring to your customers.

Pricing is more than just a number; it can capture perceived value. You can, of course, opt for a cost-based approach, but you can also think about the value of the problem-solving you perform for your target clients. What is your added value for those clients? What are they willing to pay for that added value? It helps to create an avatar of your client, including their location, education, level, experience, industry, current salary, and expected future salary. This will give you a better understanding of what you are asking for in terms of investment.

Remember that you are an entrepreneur!

It’s important to think about exactly what you are billing for. As an entrepreneur, you have other activities to perform and account for besides writing and coaching. You might be outsourcing, solely handling your business, or even have employees. You could also be conducting research, and handling quotations, contracts, marketing, networking, accounting, etc. So, you’ll need to factor in these behind-the-scenes activities when settling on your prices. Think how many projects you can take on per week/month for you to be comfortable and for the business to make sense to you.

Post prices online or ask clients to request a quote?

Some career professionals have transparent pricing on their websites while others don’t and prefer to ask clients to contact them for a quotation. One of the benefits of having your prices published is that clients will auto-qualify themselves before reaching out to you. This saves having to spend a lot of time either quoting according to the complexity of the project or sending out flat-rate, per-service prices. That being said, one of the benefits of asking the client to request a quotation is that you’re able to manually qualify each client and offer a wider range in terms of pricing.

Explore different pricing methods.

Depending on your offerings, you can price at an hourly rate or by “process” after determining how many hours it will take to complete a project, starting with the initial client contact. You may offer “packages,” bundling a variety of services together. These bundles may be different for each level of client. Perhaps you’d like to price each service “à la carte” as a stand-alone deliverable and offer a discount for bundles. You may decide to price coaching services per session or for a pre-determined period of time. Another interesting method of earning income is to have a monthly or yearly subscription service available online, allowing clients to access resources, content, or pre-prepared downloadable items—all for a fee.

Don’t be afraid of your prices; you can always change them!

Many are worried about setting a number and not getting the desired result. Think of pricing as a message that can be adaptable and fluid based on experimentation, research, and other variables. Don’t be afraid to start somewhere and modify along the way; you may choose to go with skimming or penetration strategies. Rare are those who get it right from the get-go! You are unique and therefore your service and pricing will be unique, too.

Explore discounts.

Discounts can be offered at any time for a number of reasons. You may launch a campaign to attract more customers or to celebrate a special occasion. You may offer discounts to certain groups of people you are interested in working with or to a returning client. They can take different forms, too, such as a gift card or coupon. Discounts may be advertised publicly or exclusively to a specific niche.

Pick your time and/or reason for raising prices.

When should you increase your prices? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. While some practitioners increase their prices every year, others may do so when they earn a professional certification or a prestigious award. They may raise prices when they accumulate success stories or become an influencer/thought leader in the industry. Some raise prices to match an ever-increasing cost-of-living. This is a prudent strategy to keep operating costs covered while continuing to make a profit. Carefully consider your strategy for increasing prices so you don’t alienate loyal clients.

Evaluate your results.

What to do if you are not getting the results you are looking for? Break down your process into small pieces and assess each step. Maybe you need to fine tune your skills by taking courses and applying for certifications. Joining a professional association and building up a referral system could be beneficial. What do you need to do to increase your prospects or your conversion rate? Perhaps you need to modify your service, offer discounts, or look at price increases. In these cases, I found that seeking mentoring can be a tremendous help.

In conclusion, pricing career services depends on many variables!

Pricing is not a topic that is “written in concrete” or for which there is a how-to manual. According to your offerings, skills, background, and experience, you will have to find the approach that makes sense to both you and your clients. And on occasion, you will have to tweak your approach. As an exercise, you can try to “run the numbers” using the various approaches and scenarios above and decide which one is most suitable for your situation.

A special thanks to my fellow Masterminds for their research and collaboration in gathering this information on pricing strategies. Starting in 2023, the Mastermind Mentoring Program has reinvented itself! Career Professionals of Canada is proud to offer members with the opportunity to join Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that fit their background, qualifications, and interests. Special Interest Groups help participants expand their knowledge of topics that interest them. SIG members enjoy spending time together and building relationships with like-minded colleagues.

Have you implemented any of the pricing strategies above? How has pricing affected your business as a career professional? Please share in the comments section below.

Rita Kamel, CDP, MCCS, MCES, CRS, CIS, CWS is a Master Certified Career and Employment Strategist, an award-winning résumé and interview strategist, and the founder of DossierPro. Her mission is to empower professionals to lead their international career moves. Rita holds a master’s degree in marketing and has extensive experience in recruitment. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Photo by maksymkapliuk on 123RF

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Rita, thank you for this article. It is timely since I am redesigning my website and offering packages with listed prices. This is a new approach for me.

It will be interesting to see what responses I receive.

Pricing is a tricky business. I prefer to consider the value I provide my clients.

Thanks for the tips!

Thank you, Elaine, for your comment! I hope it was helpful!