I Can't Charge That!
I believe that bookkeepers should be able to charge at least £35 per hour.
When I say that, how does that make you feel?
If you're like most bookkeepers I speak to, you probably let out an audible gasp. Or shouted at the screen "yeah, right!"
If you're charging somewhere between £12 and £20 you probably think £35 an hour is unachievable. If you're charging up to £25 you probably think you're about the maximum you can charge. If you're charging less than £12 you must think I'm on another planet.
There are loads of reasons given for not charging this rate. My clients won't wear it. My area won't wear it.
The real reason is often simpler. It often boils down to you feeling you can't ask for that amount, and you'd probably be right...to an extent.
You see, being able to charge £35 an hour isn't about rocking up to your client and saying "remember you used to pay me £18 an hour, well things are changing."
You could try that, but it probably won't work.
Here's the thing, though. Some bookkeepers in the UK are charging in excess of £35 per hour. If we assume that we're all competent and professional, what's the difference? Why can some charge this, and others believe it's unattainable?
The answer is simply confidence. The confidence to believe you're worth it. The confidence to ask for it. The confidence to accept it. Fortunately, if you are not confident right now, there are ways to get there.
Confidence is really only a belief in yourself and your systems. So how do you get there?
Pricing is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. That prize of £35 an hour is the reward for completing it. It's the full picture you only see when you're done. You can't just jump to seeing that picture straight away. Nor can you charge £35 an hour off the bat.
So what are the pieces you need?
Your Ideal client
A specialist is always going to be able to charge more than a generalist. If you want to stay as a generalist serving anyone who comes along you probably won't be able to charge top dollar.
The best way to charge £35 per hour is not to charge per hour. Sound strange? You probably won't get to this rate charging by the hour. You need to make the move to a menu system.
The power in increasing your hourly rate is to become more efficient at what you do. More work and less time equals a higher hourly rate.
When you have a flow of clients coming to you, you can be more picky. You won't worry so much about quoting higher because you'll no longer believe you need to bag every lead.
The opposite really. You need to regularly grade clients and drop those who are preventing you from getting where you want to be.
To be able to achieve £35 per hour is not just about having the front to ask for it. It's about the culmination of all of this preparation. Once you pull all of these pieces together the confidence to be able to ask for this, and the confidence to know that you really are worth it will follow..
Sometimes it can help to have a tool that gives you a clear and consistent price. We have developed a spreadsheet that will work in Excel and do just this. It's just a really easy way to price your services. Find out more
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