Behind-The-Scenes: The Importance Of Setting An Hourly Rate


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Dear Preston:

I just finished watching your second episode of Pillow Talk where you mentioned the importance of setting an hourly rate when working for ourselves.  How do you work out of the value for your time?

Time is Money

Dear Time:

This is an excellent question.  Giving away time for free is a very common mistake made by artists and folks in the event business.  Think about it; if you are a planner you likely charge for running the event, but do you also log the endless hours you spend thinking, strategizing and planning? If you are a florist, do you charge clients for consultation time in addition to selling them flowers? If not, you are most likely working for free. Regardless of what you are selling, you should always keep the importance of having a set hourly rate in mind.

There are three things you should consider when determining your hourly rate:

Your experience level. Ten years ago, my hourly rate was $100.00 an hour. With time and experience it has changed. Yours should, too.

Your market. Do your research, pay attention to the going rate in your industry, not only for professionals but your event level in your specific locale.

How much confidence you have in yourself.  This one is a big one as if you don’t believe you are worth the rate you are asking for, your client surely won’t. It’s time that we all accept that we are offering a skill, our talents and time we could be working on something else (which includes reaching out to other potential clients).  A part of learning to embrace this is taking the step to charge for your time.

Now, I am not suggesting a specific formula as so many of you are in different areas of the industry and in different markets.  I am also not suggesting this will be an easy thing to collect. If you don’t feel you can, figure out a way to include it in your pricing.  This will benefit your clients as well. We, as artists, want “fair value” as much as our clients do.  When we are giving all of our time and energy for free, we all know that things can get complicated.

Question: Have you ever considered giving yourself an hourly rate? Why/Why Not? To get an idea of where everyone’s mind is at, let’s play a little game. If you were me, how much would you charge as an hourly rate?