How to Set Your Prices (and Stick to Them!)

Sep 14, 2020

Beginners (and even experienced PR professionals) often don’t know how to set their prices or—more importantly—stick to them.  Setting your prices is so important, though, because when you do it correctly, setting + sticking to your rates allows you to successfully grow and scale your PR agency! Your revenue and profitability build the foundation of a scalable business. 

I want to share how to set your prices correctly and how to stick to them, both for beginners and experienced PR pros. 

How to Set Your Prices As a Beginner

Is there anything more stressful than setting your rates, especially at the beginning of your PR career? As a beginner, you might not have any idea how to price your services at all. Usually in the beginning, too, you undersell yourself by setting low rates and hoping to get any clients you can. 

First, research within your niche. Is there an industry standard for the kind of niche that you're working in? Are you basing your rates on your level of experience? Are you brand new? If you're just starting out, you really are looking to gain experience, and sometimes you should price accordingly. 

When you are just starting out, you can base your rates on your level of experience. Consider offering somebody a lower rate for a limited period of time so that you can get in with them and let them know it's a set period. 

The other big factor is your own financials. What does it cost you to perform these services? What do you want to make in a year? What's your revenue goal? Break that up over clients and retainers, and consider how many clients can you serve at one time. If you bring in a team, how much will it cost for them to execute the services? How much profit margin do you have on those services? 

All of that has to come into your calculations because, even with really good revenue, you have to be aware of what is actually going into running your business, including your expenses and team costs.

What If You’ve Already Set Your Rates?

If you already have set rates, there’s a chance they're not high enough or scalable. One of the biggest pricing problems I see with established PR pros is that we tend to set our rates at what we think the client can pay or what sounds reasonable.

As you're figuring out your rates and what you should charge for your services, we ask ourselves: do I think this client can pay this? We think maybe we should come in a little lower to seal the deal with that client. We've all done this at some point. 

The truth is that you should only make exceptions when something is really aligned with the direction you want to take your company in or that client could really beef up your portfolio in your niche. It's very common to put all of this work into a beautiful proposal and then struggle with that pricing number sounding high, but think: high for who and high for what reason?

Don’t be tempted to discount your rates if you already have experience in PR. Once you’ve set your rates, be confident in them. You’re the one in charge of your business and you’re the expert, so don’t negotiate! It’s important to know your worth and be selective about who you work with. You need to charge what you’re worth in order to truly grow and scale your agency—it’s one of the first things you need to do.

Related: 1 Way to Increase Revenue as a PR Professional

Why Setting & Sticking to Your Pricing Is the Key to Success 

To run a business that supports the kind of life you want, you have to be profitable. This means knowing your numbers inside and out, and bringing in support through a team so that you can work in your zone of genius to build and scale your business. 

Creating a solid foundation for a profitable agency is your revenue and your prices. If your clients consistently want to negotiate your prices down, you’ll never be able to scale. You have to build your confidence and know your worth. 

The thing is, not everybody will get to work with you, and that’s okay. When you set your prices the right way and acknowledge your value, you cultivate a business that works for you and is scalable—you can afford to only take on the best fitting opportunities and clients.

Setting your prices can feel overwhelming, but once you know the best ways to set your prices, you’ll feel confident. 

Pricing the right way helps you scale your agency and create predictable, sustainable revenue in a profitable business. 

Whether you’re a beginner just getting started or you’re ready to change your prices, hopefully these tips help you figure out what’s best for you!