How do I set my actual fees for training?

This is the 64 thousand dollar questions, and it's a tough one for those beginning their training businesses. Here's why:

  • Going rates for training vary incredibly from geographic region to geographic region, with significantly higher rates applying in large metropolitan centers.
  • Even in large (expensive) cities, there will be a huge range of fees being charged by your competitors. Some will charge the equivalent of $300 a day, while others will be in excess of $3,000 a day. That makes competing on the basis of price a difficult endeavor.
  • Pricing yourself too low is probably just as bad as pricing yourself too high, because it influences client perceptions of the quality of your offerings (even if it has little bearing in real life), and, pricing too low pushes you to do quick and dirty jobs, where you don't do your best.

Some Advice On Setting Fees For Training

Nobody can tell you what to charge. There are too many variables. So where do you start? The essential thing here is to know your prospective customers, and know your market. If you are targeting small mom and pop businesses, know that they simply are not going to pay you huge amounts of money because they can't afford them. If you are offering executive training, then you can charge more than if you are offering training for line employees.

Don't compete on price.

Training is a professional service, particularly when dealing with intact work groups. Take into account what others are charging, but keep in mind that if you try to compete on price, there will probably always be people willing to devalue their own services, and charge less.

Find out the fee range that others are offering in your target geographical area. If you are opening up a new business, consider pricing your services at the slightly below average price point, but NOT at rock bottom.

When you have an idea about what the competition is doing (note we say doing, and not asking), evaluate whether you can actually make a living at the average level. Obviously you have to consider whether you can survive at the particular price point you set.

Also consider the following, all of which help you to price your services at a higher level:

  • Do you have a track record in the industry?
  • Do you have a strong network of possible clients who know your work and respect you?
  • Have you published books?
  • Do you custom design your seminars?
  • Do you have any other specialized credentials (e.g. a graduate degree related to the topic)?


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