the Face Painting School

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The secret to setting a fair price


Most of us struggle with the concept of setting our rates and fees. At least at the beginning. Afterall providing a service isn’t like selling a product. A service is essentially intangible and only worth what the market will pay and that comes down to the perceived value, which is in turn based on benefits.

But with so many hidden expenses that need to be covered and the secret to feeling confident about setting your rates or price points is knowing what all your costs are.

So if you haven’t done so already, you need to take a close look at ALL the costs of doing business. AND you need to have enough profit at the end of the day to make it worthwhile for you to continue to grow the business.

Insurance, petrol and car maintenance, website, business cards, internet fees, phone bills, products, brushes, tables, chairs, tents, site fees (for markets and fairs), and professional development are just some of the expenses you’ll need to cover. They all add up and you need to take each expense in to account. Some will be one off purchases, while others will be ongoing. And don’t forget to factor in a fair wage for your time.

You can easily set up a basic spreadsheet using Google docs, or any other spreadsheet creator you prefer. List all the expenses you can think of, both start up and ongoing.  Once you have a good understanding of the cost of doing business, you are likely to feel much more confident about setting your price points.

You will need to overcome the idea you need to be affordable to everyone. Assuming you are not a charity, to make a profit you have to accept not everyone can afford what you offer. That’s perfectly ok.

You should also take a look around and see what the going rate is in your area for similar types of services. Rather than undercut if you are inexperienced, think of how you can add value as well as differentiate your offer so you too can enjoy the going rate.

And don’t forget to schedule a review of your expenses and rates at the same time each year to make sure it all balances out. You could do this two or three times a year if you like. You can expect to see things change over time. Setting up a new business will involve many one off purchases and you may not break even for several months, maybe longer. But if you have enough work coming in, and have a decent profit margin, after a while you will see your bank balance go up, and in the long term see an improved profit margin. Bonus!

Personally I like to increase my rates by 10% at the beginning of each financial year to reflect my growing experience and improved skills. But at some point this percentage may need to be tweaked a little because the market may not sustain my rate. It’s not an exact science but when it comes down to it I’d rather work less for more money. Wouldn’t you? As long as my bank account continues to rise then I know I’m on the right track. I can always offer a discount or special offer if things start to change.

At the end of the day as long as you provide value for money, your client will appreciate your services. But what is value for money? Being professional,  using good quality products and offering a range of designs at a reasonable speed are probably high on the list for most face painter’s clients.

But arguably the most important thing is to enjoy what you do and make your clients, especially the kids, feel special. As the old saying goes, “People may forget what you say, and what you do… But they will always remember how you made them feel.”

Do you agree? I’d love to read your comments or questions on the topic of pricing. Please leave me a message below.

And afterwards you might like to check out some of my other posts and pages. There are links in the menu bar.

(C) This article was written and published by Kate Matthews, 3 December 2013.
All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced, in part or in full, without the express written consent of the author. But you are welcome to share the original weblink via digital media.




3 comments on “The secret to setting a fair price

  1. Allen Riddoch (@AllenRiddoch)
    December 27, 2013

    It is essential to set fair prices of the products which have a great impact on people’s life like cars, car maintenance, business cars, etc. The article has highlighted some of the prices issues related to these.

  2. facepaintingschool
    January 4, 2014

    Hi Allen, setting a fair price can be really difficult for start ups with no background in marketing, especially when offering artistic services like face painting. Even harder still because a lot of people will give away face painting. But professionals who have invested a lot of time and money in their kit and in developing their skills deserve a fair price and should feel confident in setting it. Which is the point of my article I guess. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  3. Denise Marsh
    March 9, 2014

    sorry i break all the rules, i set my price by way of when my 4 children were little i use to have to multiply everything by 4 and found lots of times they couldn’t get things because i didn’t have the money. i enjoy giving and as long as at the end of the day i can go home and share with my husband the expression of the kids faces i am happy, i make enough to keep my kit fresh and supplied, i dont do my price to annoy anyone we live in a depressed town with low employment, i have only been painting for my self for about 6 months i have regulars kids find me when i am out and about and that is enough

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This entry was posted on December 3, 2013 by in better business and tagged , .
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