When launching into any new business, and particularly one that delivers intangible services, such as a green consulting firm, it can be tricky to determine how to best price your services, to compete, and to stay afloat as a business!
Here are a few methods you may choose to employ to when setting your consulting rates and fees:
Opt for a Retainer
There may be large corporations in your area that require the services of an environmental or green consultant on a regular basis.
They may desire to keep you on retainer, to be called in when necessary to conduct inspections, audits or training. You can decide which services, and for how long, you are willing to provide as a part of that retainer, for example, a fixed number of hours per month, and anything over and above that can be subject to a separate cost.
Hourly Consulting Rates
Risky when you are first starting out, and may not achieve the desired number of hours per month to cover costs, many consultants nonetheless choose to price their services based on an hourly rate.
When calculating that rate, remember to include all operating and other costs, your own salary, and a profit, and base your number of billable hours on a realistic figure.
If you base your rate on a full 40 hour week, and find yourself only getting 20 hours or less of work, you will find yourself in an unpleasant predicament!
Per Project Pricing
If you opt for pricing per project, you can be far more exact with your rates and costs, however, it is critical in this case to get as much information as possible about the project in question from the client’s brief, and to make sure your proposal and contract strictly outlines what is included in the price.
Without this protection, you may find that you end up taking on many other tasks, which you had not budgeted for. If, however, your paperwork clearly itemizes included tasks and sub projects, you will be able to submit a separate quotation or invoice for any additional work.
It is still useful to have an hourly rate, and to accurately estimate the predicted timeframes involved, in order to arrive at an accurate price.
It’s useful, as a consultant, in any field, to develop supplementary products to support your business when times are hard, and projects more difficult to come by.
As a green consultant, these products can include books or white papers on managing environmental issues, DIY kits for conversion of homes or businesses to alternative energy, or even machinery or equipment to measure or minimize your home or business’s environmental impact.
So always apply a measure of good business sense to your green venture. There is a big misconception floating around that says people working in jobs related to the environment don’t get paid well. That’s not true at all so set your consulting fees and pricing properly and do good things for the environment while you’re at it!