There are many contributing factors to help define the “value” of services.
Typically the client (let’s call them the Buyer) has two primary goals:
1. Find the best-qualified person to do the job effectively so my project is GREAT.
2. Pay that person the LEAST I can to stay on/under budget.
Depending on the client, the importance of the order of these two points flips. No question every client has a budget, either real or estimated, that can limit their spending. However, also like everyone, ultimately the client is in business to make money, unless you are fortunate enough to work for an altruistic client who is only “in it for the art” or it’s a government-funded project (which still typically operates under prior approved budgets).
Sometimes the Buyer is the end user of the project (whether it’s a video, audio, trade show, etc.) or they are actually the responsible “middleman” reporting to a higher client who has hired “them” to deliver a final product. Bottom line they still live by the two goals listed above.
Some job/service functions are governed by a pre-determined pay scale. Union jobs fall into this category. But, union jobs are negotiable too and certainly high-in-demand, qualified, skilled people often are paid over scale.
Other jobs are true one-off freelance projects.
Yes, many times you are working in a job function or category with expected industry standard pay scales. But even then there are expectations for what’s the highest or lowest pay in that range.
So, how do you value and charge for your services?
As someone who has slogged through the process of selling myself to get a job and has also hired a lot of people of the years, I have a few questions for you:
1. Are YOU someone that You would hire? If yes - Why?
2. How do YOU make MY life easier, better, or more profitable?
In other words: What differentiates YOU from others who perform your service and why would it be smart to pay you a fair or above average price (not just the low price) to retain you?...The question the client must answer for themselves is – “Why do I Need You?”.
The client you work for is the Buyer, which makes you the Seller. Creative and Technical people often don’t feel comfortable with that name - but it’s up to You to differentiate You and Sell You...That’s your job.
“If” I was interviewing you for a project, I need YOU to tell me WHY You deserve and will earn the rate you request. And then, when you ultimately prove it to me by performing over and above my expectations, you will have truly earned to be paid what you are worth and will also be able to carry that success forward to your next opportunity.
Good luck...To Your Success!