Pricing is always a sensitive issue…
…when it comes to strategy consultants and freelancers in general – it is not the done thing to talk openly about it yet at some point you need to float it past someone, be it the hiring manager, the company director or recruiter of the place you are about to join on a freelance contract, you are going to have to work out how much to charge clients.
There are vague guidelines regarding negotiation strategies around what you can charge at each career ‘level’ – but in truth it is often a careful calculation between what you want and what you think you can get for the project.
It is as dangerous to under-charge as to over-charge… over-estimating your daily rate can price you out of the market and you lose the gig, under-charging however can undermine your experience, make your services seem too junior, seem naive to market forces and allow clients to think you are a push over.
How much to charge clients, roughly speaking…
Here is a fairly robust set of brackets for how much to charge clients at each strategist level:
Junior Strategists £150 – 200 per day
Middleweight Strategists £200 – 300 per day
Senior Strategists £300 – 500 per day
Strategy Director £500 – 750 per day
Facilitators £600 – 1000 per day
The earning potential for the best strategists is great but remember that the annual equivalents of these numbers are immense – it is unlikely you will be employed for the entire year so enjoy it but be clever not only in work but in how you manage your finances.
Also, for this princely sum it is vital that you over deliver and become part of the team, rise with them and fall with them, help them carry all the Post-Its and stay late to collect the printed stimulus. That’s how you get contracts extended and repeat business.
Sometimes agencies will ask you to quote on a per project basis. This is tricky as it starts to sound a lot but talk with them to work out how many days you think it will actually take to complete the project, is it spread out, will it involve lots of pre-work or travel.
Factor all of this in before giving a quote and leave yourself some buffer time just in case it takes longer than you think it will. Believe me, it starts to bug you when you have to put in extra days and you see your day rate diminish but the work rate increase!
What do you factor in when deciding how much to charge clients?