Establishing Your Rates Guide for Business Consultants and Freelancers


One of the most common questions people ask about starting a new service based business is “how much should I charge?” In many cases, it can be a difficult question to answer.

If you charge too much, you won’t get any clients, especially if clients can go to other service providers providing similar services for a lot less.

On the other hand, charge too little and you won’t make enough. Even if you get clients, you’ll have to work so hard to make money that you’ll probably burn out.

So how do you figure out the right balance? How do you charge as much as you possibly can, without pricing yourself out of the market? Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Decide if You’re a Commodity or Value Service

evaluateThere are two ways to sell services: Commodity sales or value sales.

A commodity service is one where you’re competing within an established market. For example, if you’re doing voiceovers on, you’re competing in a commodity market. Since you’re competing with other voiceover people who’re charging $X per minute, you can’t charge a lot more than the same amount. What you’re selling is a commodity, even though it’s a service.

On the other hand, you have value sales. Value sales aren’t sold based on where the market is at. Instead, it’s sold based on what the service is worth to the client. For example, when a Fortune 500 company decides to re-name their company after a merger, they’ll often go and hire an outside naming firm to help come up with a name.

That firm isn’t going to be hired based on what other firms charge. There’s no bidding market. The client isn’t going to go out and look for the cheapest naming firm possible. No, they look for the best. And what the firm charges is based on what the value is worth to the client. That’s why just coming up with a name could be worth several million dollars.

Even the same type of service provider can often reside in both commodity and value markets. For example, graphic designers. In the commodity markets, you have designers on sites like eLance and oDesk that pretty much have to outbid one another to get jobs. On the other hand, you have high end designers that charge $20,000+ per job because they build value in their brands.

So, before anything else, you need to ask yourself: Do you want to offer your services in an existing service market? Or do you want to try and sell yourself outside of that market and build value in your own service?

The former is much easier. You can make sales in hours or days, because you’re plugging into existing markets. The latter is much harder, but you can price yourself a lot higher once you’re successful.

Step 2: Check Market Rates

Now it’s time to figure out what other people are charging. This will help inform what you charge, no matter how you decide to sell your services.

Use sites like eLance and oDesk to figure out what other online service providers are charging. Use Craigslist to see if you can find out what other people are charging for similar services. Look on internet forums in your industry and look at discussions of what others charge.

See if you can determine what the median is. Figure out what most people expect to pay. Then also figure out what the maximum amount charged seems to be. In other words, try to figure out the standard in the market, as well as the upper end of what people are willing to pay.

Step 3: Evaluable Supply and Demand

This is especially important if you have a specialty. For example, if you’re a finance writer who specializes in the energy industry, your services could be worth a lot to the right person. You’re a lot more valuable than just a freelance writer, because you have the background and experience to do a very specialized kind of work.

Look around and see if there are other people like you on the market. Are there people providing the kind of services you provide, with your specialty? If so, how much are they charging?

Then look at the demand for your services. How many potential clients are there looking for services like what you offer?

The less supply and the more demand, the more you can charge.

Step 4: Determine Your Hourly Goal

how-muchThis decision isn’t based on the market. It’s based on you.

How much do you want to make? For example, let’s say you’re replacing a current job at $50,000 a year with your service based practice. You’re prepared to work 40 hours a week, which comes out to 2080 hours a year.

If you divide the $50,000 by 2080 hours, you get $24 an hour. This is the amount of money you need to make in your business in order to replace your current income.

Figure out how much you need to make. This could inform how you market your services and how you price your services. If you find that your potential earnings are a lot lower than how much you want to earn, it could even help you decide whether or not to work in the industry at all.

Step 5: Translate Your Hourly to Billable Hours

The amount you need to earn on a per hour basis is not the same as what you charge your client. Remember: Running a business is a lot more than just client work. You need to manage a website. You need to market. You need to respond to emails. You need to respond to phone calls.

Figure out what percentage of time you’re spending on actual client work and what percentage of time you spent on unpaid business related tasks. Then figure out how much you need to earn from your paid work to compensate for your unpaid work.

If you don’t know how much time you’ll be spending on client work yet, assume it’s half. If you need to earn $25 an hour in total, then you need to bill your clients at least $50 an hour to make your earnings targets.

Step 6: Factor in Costs

Are there costs to your business? For example, if your goal is to be a professional public speaker, you have to factor the costs of flying to your destination as well as accommodation in your prices. If you’re a piano tuning specialist, you need to factor the cost of renting (or owning) vans to move pianos into your costs.

Don’t just look at how much you need to earn. Look also at how much you need to spend. Those costs need to be factored into your rates.

Step 7: Choosing a Pricing Model

Knowing your target hourly rate doesn’t mean you have to charge by the hour. Often time’s your target hourly earning rate is just for your own information. The best way to charge for your services is to use the pricing model that’s most expected in your industry.

Nobody hires a copywriter per hour. Instead, they pay per piece for the copy, plus perhaps a percentage of earnings.

On the other hand, nobody pays a personal assistant on a per-job basis. Personal assistants are almost always per hour.

Content writers on the other hand are often paid either on a per-job or per-word basis. Voiceover artists are paid on a per-minute or per-job basis.

There are a lot of different ways to charge for your services. Try to figure out what the norms are in your industry. Use your target hourly rate to inform how much you charge, but express your rates in a pricing model that makes sense.


Step 8: Start Low, Then Raise Your Rates

When you’re just starting out, you should price your services relatively low. Look for the median of the market and either price yourself right at the median, or 10% to 20% below the median.

This will help you get your first paying clients. This will help you fatten up your portfolio as well as get you your first batch of positive feedback from real clients.

This will help boost your credibility for future clients. As your practice starts to fill up, start raising your rates. Anytime you hit 80% capacity, raise your rates.


To sum it up, start by determining whether you want to price yourself in a commodity market or to build value in your own brand. Next, research your market to see what others are charging and to find out how much supply and demand there is for your specialty. Figure out how much you need to earn, what your costs are and what pricing model makes sense. Finally, start low and gradually raise your rates as you build more credibility and gain more experience.

How to Use Task Army


Task Army is an online gigs website that’s something between a freelancer marketplace and a gigs website. It’s like the middle ground between eLance and Fiverr.

There is no bidding system on Task Army. Instead, gigs have a set price, much like Fiverr or Tenrr. However, gigs can be priced at much higher than other sites; going for $10, $20, $50 or even $100 and above.

All gigs have to be approved by hand by a Task Army employee. That helps keep the quality of the gigs up.

Task Army targets a slightly more upscale market than the typical Fiverr customer. As a result, you get people buyers who have high expectations, but are willing to pay more.

You get to keep 80% of everything you earn. Task Army keeps 20% for commissions.

What Can You Sell on Task Army?

Unlike Fiverr and other similar sites that allow you to offer anything online, Task Army is very much geared towards internet business.

Services include:

–        WordPress development. If you can offer to write custom themes or fix common WordPress problems, you’re golden.

–        Website design. This includes both actual design work like logos and banners, as well as implementation work like CSS or custom WordPress designs.

–        Marketing. Search Engine Optimization, PPC optimization, social media and other such services work quite well on Task Army.

–        Virtual assistants. If you want to answer phones, do data entry or help clients keep the books, then you can definitely use Task Army to find virtual assistant work.

–        Copywriting. Can you write compelling copy? Task Army is good for both direct response copy and branding copy.

Here’s how to launch your first gig on Task Army.

Step 1: Create Your Account

The account creation link for sellers is not very clearly visible on Task Army’s website. While the features for buyers are clearly displayed, the seller’s registration link is quite inconspicuous, on the right hand side.


Fill out the form to create your account.


Step 2: What Do You Offer?

After completing your registration, you’ll automatically be taken to the gig creation page. Start by telling Task Army browsers what you’re offering.


Step 3: More Detailed Description

Tell potential buyers exactly what they’ll get when they purchase your service. Make sure to go into detail and include every little thing that you’ll do for them. Answer any questions you think they might want to ask. Use the spellchecker to correct any typos.


Step 4: Attach a Picture

Attach a picture that helps build credibility while catching attention. A picture of a completed project works well. A picture of you wearing professional clothing can also work very well. You can also create a collage of different designs in your portfolio.


Step 5: Skills

List the skills necessary to complete this job. This allows potential buyers who’re searching by skills to find you. It also helps you by putting your listing in the “Related Services” section.


Step 6: Deliverables

Your deliverables are milestones of what you’ll actually deliver to the person. Some gigs will only have one deliverable, while others will have as many as a dozen. Be specific and detailed, as buyers will use this information to make their buying decisions.


Step 7: What is Not Included

This is almost as important as telling people what is included in your service. You also need to tell people what is not included in your service. This helps set expectations, as well as helps avoid future disagreements.


Step 8: Your Past Experience

What qualifies you to offer this gig? Why should people pay you money to do it? What makes you credible and trustworthy?

Talk about your past experiences. People want to buy from people who’ve solved their problem in the past.


Step 9: Choose a Category

Select the category that most closely matches what you’re offering. If you can’t figure out where yours go, just see where your competitors are putting their listings. Generally you’ll want to try to offer services that do fit at least loosely in these categories.


Step 10: Price

How much do you want to charge? You can charge a one-time fee, a monthly fee or an hourly fee.


Step 11: Message to Clients

Let your clients know what kind of information you need from them before you can get started on your gig. This could include login details, product specifications, what kinds of designs they want, technical details and more.


Once you hit submit, you’ll see a confirmation screen telling you that your gig has been sent for approval.


Working With the Task Army Market

It’s important to realize that working on Task Army is a long term plan rather than a one-time plan. Try to build up a reputation and a history of positive feedback on the site.

Check out what your competitors are doing before you write your own listing. Take a look at the top of your category to get a sense for how they’re attracting clients. Then try to make your own listing even better than theirs in some way.

Keep in mind that in the beginning, you might have to charge less than you think you’re worth. That’s only natural as you’re building up your reputation. In time, you’ll be able to charge your market rate and even charge above your standard rate once buyers start to trust you.

However, much like any other marketplace, you need to spend a little bit of time and effort on establishing credibility and history.

Task Army can be a very powerful platform for bringing in new clients and making money on the internet. They attract a higher class of buyers and can bring in a very steady source of revenue for you.

How to Use Gigbucks


Gigbucks is a website where people online can go to offer “gigs” in exchange for cash. You can provide almost any service, as long as it’s internet based. Gigbucks differs from Fiverr and Tenrr in one important way: Unlike these sites that specify your price for you, Gigbucks allows you to set your own price.

You can sell your services for anywhere between $5 and $50. If you’re selling a relatively easy to deliver service, you could just sell it for $5. If you’re doing something more in depth, you can sell it for $50.

This Makes One Big Difference

The ability to sell products for higher prices allows you to do one thing that you can’t really do on the other sites: Upsell.

You can create multiple gigs and use smaller gigs to “feed” into your larger gigs.

For example, you can offer to do a logo design for $5. If someone gets your logo design and loves your work, you can then upsell them on your website banner + business card + eBook cover design for $40.

In addition to selling your products for higher price points, you can also sell recurring gigs where your buyers are automatically billed every month for a gig you’re providing. This can turn into some serious passive income opportunities.

The Payout System

You can withdraw the money you earn from Gigbucks after 14 days. This is the holding period Gigbucks required to make sure the buyer doesn’t refund or complain after making their purchase.

Payments are made via PayPal. Gigbucks collects a 20% fee on all the transactions done through their system.

The Review & Levels System

Gigbucks has a user review system that can help you separate reputable sellers from the chaff. When a buyer purchases a gig, they have the opportunity to review the seller. The number of positive to negative reviews is expressed as a percentage.

In addition to a review system, Gigbucks also has a levels system. All users start at Level 1. In order to move to level 2, you have to sell 10 gigs at $5 and complete the gigs on time. You also have to maintain a 90% or higher rating.

At level 2, you can sell gigs for between $5 and $30. Once you’ve finished 25 gigs in total, again keeping up a 90% rating and doing all your gigs on time, you then get to level 3.

Once you’re at level 3, you can charge anywhere between $5 and $50 for your gigs. You also gain access to recurring gigs.

Here’s how to use Gigbucks to make money online.

Step 1: Become a Member

Go to:

Click “Join” along the top navigation bar.


Fill out the extremely simple membership form:


You’ll receive an email upon completing your registration. Confirm your email.

Step 2: Start Selling

Click “Start Selling” in the top navigation bar.


Then click “Create a New Gig” on the next screen.


Step 3: Write Your Title

Write a title that’s both descriptive and attention catching. Take a look at what some of your competitors are saying and see if you can write something even better.


Step 4: Pricing

Click the drop down menu to set your pricing. Keep in mind that you’re restricted to only $5 gigs until you’ve done 10 gigs and gotten your account to Level 2.


Step 5: Select a Category

Choose which category you want your gig to appear under. Choose your category carefully, as your target market will often be browsing gigs by category.

If you’re unsure which category to put your gigs in, spend some time browsing around Gigbucks to see where other people offering similar services put their gigs.


Step 6: Description

Describe your service. Make it as detailed as possible. Try to pre-empt questions and objections that people might have about your service.


Again, when in doubt, take a look at what your competitors are saying. Then try to make it better.

Step 7: Instructions

What directions do you need from your buyers to fulfill on your order? These instructions will be sent to buyers after they’ve placed their order.


Step 8: Tags

Tags are like keywords. Tell Gigbucks what your tags are, so that when people search for a service like yours, yours will show up.


Step 9: Steps to Completion

How long is it going to take to finish the gig? Be conservative when estimating this time period. Remember: If you’re late in delivering, it could prevent you from moving up to the next level. Customers can cancel and it can result in a bad rating.


Step 10: Add an Image

Add an image that both catches attention and gives people more information about your service. Try to upload a real image rather than synthetic image wherever possible.


Step 11: More Images, Add Video

If you want to add more images or add a video, just click “Add More Images / Add Video.”


A video can really help increase your conversion rate and sales. Adding a video is quite simple. Just create your video, then upload it to YouTube. Then place the link to the YouTube video in your Gigbucks gig.

Step 12: Delivery & Shipping

If your product is a digital delivery product that can be instantly downloaded, place the download link here.

If you’re selling a physical product and need to charge for shipping, you can set that here. Note that if you try to sell a digital product and charge for shipping, your gig will get disabled.


Creative Ideas for Making Money on Gigbucks

Want to make a little bit of extra money on Gigbucks? Here are a few ideas.

  • Become a reseller. Find gigs on Fiverr for $5, then go on Gigbucks and sell those same gigs for $10 or more. You don’t have to do any extra work except passing the orders along.
  • Teach a skill. Good at math? You can offer your math tutoring services on Gigbucks. You can do the same with science, with Photoshop or with just about anything else.
  • Share business experience. If you have job experience in any industry, you can offer to coach someone around that business. For example, if you’ve been a salesperson in the past, you can coach someone on how to sell better.
  • Writing. This is one of the easiest ways to get sales. Just offer to write unique content around certain topics.
  • Graphic Design. You don’t need to learn the ins and outs of all the different aspects of graphic design to do well on Gigbucks. You just need to learn one thing. For example, you can learn just logo design and still do very well.

That’s all there is to signing up for and posting gigs on Gigbucks!

Top 10 Online Marketplaces for Selling Your Services


Selling your services on the internet is one of the best ways to make a consistent income online. Unlike starting a new web business, the income is virtually guaranteed. It’s also consistent, provided you continue to put the work in.

The trick is making sure you have enough clients. Finding clients is one of the biggest hurdles people face when they’re selling their services online.

Different kinds of services work better in different places. Here, we’ll talk about the top places to market your services. Do note that specific industries, such as freelance writing, voiceovers or graphic designers often have their own industry-specific marketplaces. We won’t be covering those here; instead we’ll be covering marketplaces that work for everyone.

These are the 10 top marketplaces you can go to sell your services.

Marketplace #1: oDesk

oDesk is another freelancer marketplace that works a lot like eLance. The interface looks quite different, but the underlying mechanics are very similar.

The escrow system on oDesk works a little differently than eLance. On oDesk, the system favors the freelancer more than the contractor. If the freelancer doesn’t deliver on their work, there’s no way for the contractor to get their initial deposit back.

As far as raw traffic goes, oDesk actually has more then eLance, according to public web traffic data.


Marketplace #2: eLance

eLance is one of the largest freelancer marketplaces on the internet. They’re one of the oldest and most reputable.

The way it works is pretty simple. People who’re looking for freelancers post up a job description. You look at jobs that you may be interested in and place a proposal. If you get picked, the money goes into an escrow account until you deliver the work.

eLance uses an escrow system to protect both sides of the transaction. Their system makes it easy for clients to hire you for repeat work.


Marketplace #3: is a marketplace that heavily emphasizes technical projects, like web programming, web design, IT, software, mobile and administration.

Most jobs on are for about $200. The best way to create a consistent flow of income is to find your own stable base of clients who hire you for repeat projects.


Marketplace #4: has a very intuitive interface and is very easy to use all around. Their rating system is top notch, secure and easy to understand.

What freelancers tend to appreciate about is its SafePay system. This system more or less guarantees that freelancers will get paid quickly once the job is done.


Marketplace #5: Fiverr

Fiverr is a marketplace where everything is sold for $5. Any service you can think of, from building backlinks to drawing cartoons for people to generating eBook covers can all be sold on Fiverr.

Fiverr is a fantastic place to go if you’re just getting into online freelancing and want to see some quick cash. It’s not the best place to go for a large income, as $5 is truly a low price point.


Marketplace #6: Warrior Forum

The Warrior Forum sports a large and very active marketplace. The marketplace is very specific to internet marketing related services.

You can sell services related to writing, graphic design, website administration or marketing. Other services, like voiceovers, personal assistants, data entry and so on tend not to do as well.

If your services fall into one of the categories that the Warrior Forum caters to, you can general quite a lot of business by using the Warrior Forum’s system.


Marketplace #7: Digital Point

Digital Point’s forums work quite a lot like the Warrior Forum. Services related to marketing are posted in thread format for employers to see. Each kind of service is broken down by subsection.

In general, prices on Digital Point are lower than the Warrior Forum. If you’re positioning yourself as low priced and high volume, you’ll be able to get work from Digital Point. It’s much harder to position yourself as high priced on this market.


Marketplace #8: Zaarly

Zaarly is a marketplace that works by matching people who have skills up with people who need to hire people – All locally.

If you’re a cameraman, interior designer, personal chef or any other kind of freelancer that depends on local markets, Zaarly can be a fantastic place to sell your services.

Note that Zaarly is not a good place to sell non-local services like content writing or programming.


Marketplace #9: Craigslist

Craigslist services is another great place to sell local services. From massage to guitar lessons, from graphic design to lawn mowing, Craigslist is a fantastic place hang up your shingle.

Again, Craigslist tends to focus on local services. Even if you’re offering a service like graphic design, prospective clients will still often want to meet with you face to face.

Be sure to also look in the Gigs section to see if others are looking to hire someone of your skill set.



Marketplace #10: People Per Hour

Although this is a British website, as a native English speaker you will be able to find jobs ranging from copywriting to programming. If you have graphic designing skills, be sure to check this website for new online work opportunities.

These are ten of the top online marketplaces for selling your services. We’ve covered a number of market-like websites, as well as local online marketplaces, forums and some less conventional marketplaces as well.