One of the realities of being self-employed is that sometimes you have to act in a way that is somewhat mercenary. I discovered this first hand recently. I’ve had a few people request my freelance writing services lately. Happily, I’m to the point where I can, for the most part, set my own rate. There is, of course, wiggle room, depending on whether or not a client offers AdSense earnings opportunities or traffic bonuses, and there are other considerations. But more and more, as I have the opportunity to be a little choosy about clients, I feel more and more mercenary.

“Salary” Negotiations

In my case, I had a potential client come back with a counter offer on a rate I quoted. I was concerned that the counter was still too low. I fretted about what to do, since this was someone who I’d had non-business dealings with in the past. It’s much easier to cut someone loose when you don’t have any sort of relationship with them. I was torn: I wanted to write for this person, but I couldn’t justify taking the rate offered. Other better offers had been coming in. For my business, and my sanity, I really do need to maintain a certain level of cost-efficiency to the time I spend writing.

In the end, because relationships do count for something, we negotiated and settled so that I write shorter posts that my usual length, and do it for a little bit more than the client proposed. In the end, it worked out. I’m working for a little less than my usual rate, but with the potential for more.

Setting Prices for Your Home Business

One of the most difficult parts of running a business is setting rates. Whether you are setting a price for a product, or whether you are deciding on a rate to charge for a service, it can be difficult to decide how to go about it. With a product, pricing can be somewhat straightforward. You consider the cost of materials, and the time it takes to assemble the product. You also need to do research to determine what others offering similar products are charging.

When setting the rate for a service, you do need to research the going rates for what you provide. You should also consider the time you put into the service. Don’t forget experience. In a lot of freelance-based home businesses, experience counts for a lot. When it comes to photography, graphic design, virtual assisting, web development and writing, experience needs to count for something. Someone with more experience can ask for higher rates than someone just starting out. (I guess I’m biased, since I’ve got lots of experience as a professional blogger.)

Depending on your business, you might want to set hourly rates, or flat per-project rates. When I offer my rates, I actually factor in the time it takes as part of deciding on my flat rate. It can get tricky, though, since other considerations can come into play. With the Internet, there are opportunities to earn revenue in other ways, so sometimes, if AdSense revenue, profit sharing or traffic bonuses are offered, that needs to affect rates.

In the end, it’s about what you are comfortable with, and what you need to keep your business successful. Even if sometimes you do feel like a mercenary.

How do you set prices for your business products or services?