Why You Need to Raise Your Rates

There’s a guy in Montreal who makes $20,000 suits. A woman on Etsy who makes $700 bags. An artist in New York who draws on napkins and sells them for 5 grand cash. 

These guys are doing better than ever. Why?

They are not interested in cheap. They are only interested in good.  They don’t rush to the bottom or wait to see what their competitor rate card looks like. They don’t commoditize their talent or their vision into a sticker price. They have faith in their number and faith in themselves.

But as producer over here at HCFmedia, one of my jobs is to hustle business. I’ve had some good success – made easier by a portfolio that gets stronger and stronger everyday. But I still find myself tempted to cut prices to drive action because ‘that’s what the market wants.’

Cheap. Fast. And good. But remember: you and your clients can only pick two. 

The market and the people you want to work with don’t want cheap. They may say that, and in fact they may fight for it. They may send emails claiming budget is their #1 concern. They may jump up and down, pull their hair, and be upset with you for being more expensive than you were yesterday. 

But in reality, what they really want is this: Good work. Dependability. Projects that fulfill purpose. Excellence that makes them look good. And pricing, rarely, has much to do with that. Even if they tell you differently. 

Which is not to say we can start charging anything we want. We can’t do that either – far from it. But as we grow and get better, as our relevancy and credibility expands in Seattle and beyond, as our work starts to really shine, we can be bolder at earning what we deserve. What our vision and spark merits. 

ACTION ITEM: So the next time a perspective client looks merely for low prices, stand by your guns. By all means, be considerate of their concerns and look for solutions. Offer alternatives that work for both of you. But don’t jump to the low number out of habit. Don’t say ‘yes’ just because it’s a job. That just paints the picture that you’re easy to get and easily replaceable. That last part is the most important to consider. Easily replaceable.  

Which is far far far from the truth. As a salesperson, I remind myself of that everyday. You should too.  

Photo: The Gang winning a boatload of ADDYs, 2013. 

Author: Chris Donaldson

Chris Donaldson is Executive Producer at HCFmedia. Can film making change the world? The Short Answer: Yes.