Why Aren’t You Charging A Living Wage?
Every now and again, someone in a business oriented Facebook group complains or is very upset that a client did not tip them. I straddle two women dominated industries: pet grooming and integrative health services. It’s not surprising that both industries have a history of undercharging and relying on tips.
Why is that?
Since childhood we have been conditioned to devalue ourselves either by repetition or emotions.
Does any of this sound familiar from your childhood regarding money?
· What am I? Made of money or something.
· Turn off those lights.
· Money doesn’t grow on trees.
· Money is the root of all evil.
· You can’t have that Crissy doll, its too much money.
As adults, we are always looking for bargains, because, you know, money doesn’t grow on trees. We take that mentality to our businesses. Undervaluing ourselves because we don’t want to be viewed as expensive. We use excuses such as the market won’t bear it, the economy is down, I’m not experienced enough, and so on.
How about these simply because we’re women:
· Know your place. Nice girls don’t brag. Nice girls don’t make waves.
· Grew up in male dominated family. Father knows best. Men need to work and women stay home to tend to family.
· Earned 70 cents to the dollar as men in the workforce.
· If you’re spiritual, you can’t be rich.
Now the excuses are: I want to help people even if they can’t afford it, I don’t like confrontation so I won’t raise my prices, its wrong to charge so much money for my gifts, or I don’t want to be viewed as a bitch.
You know what?
There are clients who don’t care what that Crissy doll costs and will love you if you provide a quality service.
What are the long-term results of undercharging?
1. You begin to resent your clients and your business. You’re angry. This is not the fault of your clients. You set boundaries and pricing, not them.
2. You have to work harder to make the same amount of money. Lets say I want to make $2000 a week grooming pets. The three price points I have seen in my area are $65, 75, and 85 an hour. At $65, I need 31 clients, $75 is 27 clients, and $85 is 24 clients. A groomer charging more money needs less clients.
3. You’re more at risk for exhaustion and burn out trying to keep up with more work to make ends meet.
How can you expect clients to value you when you don’t value yourself?
What clients are you consciously (or unconsciously) appealing to?
The Washington Post did an experiment a couple of years back with Joshua Bell. Joshua Bell is a musician. He commands about $60,000 an hour for a performance. In fact, a couple of days beforehand, Joshua performed in Boston and ticket prices began at $100.
Joshua Bell performed outside a Washington DC subway station with his 3 ½ million dollar Stradivarius violin and made a total of $32 for the same amount of time he earned $60,000 in Boston.
Obviously he was appealing to a totally different clientele at the subway station. It has everything to do with how you are perceived. When Joshua was perceived as nothing more than a subway hustler, his pay was low. However, when Joshua attached value to his performance, his pay skyrocketed.
Are you appealing to the bargain basement or the high-end shopper?
Want to change that?
Then take a look at your marketing.
Who are the clients you are currently attracting and how do you change your perception? Lets start with are you hiding behind passive marketing? Meaning have you put a free Facebook business page and only post heartwarming stories
and feel good pictures, with a buy something post thrown in and wonder why hardly any one visits your website or calls.
You need to change your bargain basement mentality. When was the last time you took a business workshop? And I don’t mean a free webinar. You need to step up your game. Get a business coach, take a workshop that has depth to it, and write out a business plan. Invest in yourself and your business.
Only when you change your mentality from bargain basement to high end will you see changes.
Charging a livable wage allows you pay your bills, put food on the table, plan for vacations, and retirement. Tips should be what they were always meant for, something extra not dependent upon. I don’t rely on the kindness of strangers. And neither should you.