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Pricing my service and whether to state prices on my website?

(8 Posts)
Stase Tue 28-May-13 22:11:05

Hi all, I'd appreciate some advice on pricing my time from other freelancers. I'm about to launch a business as a healthy cooking consultant, specifically for people with cancer. I've got 10 years experience in this field, and 18 years professional cooking in general.

The service comprises a telephone consultation and questionnaire followed by a 3 hour home visit during which I cook, either with the client to teach them some new recipes, or alone while they relax and look through some cookbooks. I help them menu plan, write shopping lists and organise their store-cupboards, recommending healthy ingredients. I leave them with some meals for the freezer and a nice clean kitchen, as well as lunch for the day. The initial service is priced at £85, with follow-ups at £65, also three hours. A private chef costs around £25-30 an hour where I am, so I feel this is competitive, especially as I have specialist knowledge and skills. My business mentor thinks it's a bit cheap, but I'm comfortable with it as my overheads are pretty low.

Should I clearly state the prices on the website? I feel that not showing my pricing structure would put people off enquiring. But I still feel a little nervous...

Any thoughts?

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 28-May-13 22:52:03

I think you should definitely show your pricing. I would assume that you would be charging the same or more than a private chef with your specialist knowledge. Or, on the other side of the coin, some people may think you would be at a low cost as you are assisting people with cancer and they may not realise you are running a profitable business (rather than a worthwhile charity type business iyswim).

What did you do previously; as you say you have lots of experience?

Stase Tue 28-May-13 23:07:00

Thanks for your thoughts, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Having worked for a charity, I'm struggling to get into a commercial mindset. I don't want it to be an exclusive service, so I'm happy with the prices where they are.

My previous experience is as the head chef for a cancer charity that offers complementary care and self-help on day courses and on a residential basis. I worked closely with a team of nutritionists, did cookery demonstrations and helped to write a recipe book. I resigned after I had my third child as the hours weren't manageable, but they're a bit older now, middle hold starts reception in September, so it's time to get back in the saddle work-wise.

Stase Tue 28-May-13 23:08:02

Middle child that should read... smile

JazzAnnNonMouse Tue 28-May-13 23:12:52

Definitely show prices - I avoid things if pricing isn't shown as I assume that it means it'll be ridiculously over priced but ok for people for whom pricing isn't a consideration.
It would really put me off.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 29-May-13 06:50:11

Sounds like a great niche service.

I'd agree. You have a set price, so show it. Not showing it could definitely put people off/encourage them to imagine high fees.

As Always (* waves *) says people might assume you are charitable. You may also experience people that are looking for free help approaching you, if you have been clear about the prices then everybody knows where they stand. Although I appreciate that turning down those with cancer will be difficult.

As for your prices. I think they do sound a little on the low side, am guessing that for an £85 visit you will actually spend:

- 1 hour on talking to potential client/talking through the questionnaire
- 1 hour reviewing the questionnaire results
- 1 hour preparing for the visit & potentially travelling to them & back again
- 3 hours at the visit (you mention leaving them with food, will you bring the ingredients? What is that cost?)

So that is c6 hours for £85 or £14 per hour. If you are going to earn more than c£9K a year you need to allow for tax/NI. I work nearly full-time and put away 25% of money earnt to cover that. Maybe you don't need to worry this immediately, but worth factoring it in.

However, I can see that £85 is a marketable price, so it could be worth trying it at that with the hope of raising it at a later date. I guess it depends who your demographic is (aside from the illness). If you are able to gain recommendations from the local private hospital, they might be a different demographic to people that just find you online/via the NHS. I know that private healthcare doesn't immediately equal well off, but you need to think in terms of typical customer etc.

Good luck, sounds like a great idea.

SanityClause Wed 29-May-13 06:56:34

Definitely put the pricing.

British people (I assume you are in the UK?) hate talking about money. It's much easier if they don't have to ask.

Stase Wed 29-May-13 08:17:45

Thanks so much for all your thoughts. Glad to hear my prices are ok, will definitely advertise them clearly. As I'll be doing this with no child are costs I'll feel pretty rich compared to my last employment! I think the amount of planning will decrease as time goes on, making me more efficient. The first few clients will probably take days to prepare for, but later on it'll become easier.

Client supplies the bulk of the ingredients, but I'll bring small amounts of things they might not have, such as oils and spices, to save them shelling out for something they might not get the full use of.

Private hospital is a good idea. I'm going to suggest the service as a gift too. I know friends and family always want to help, especially in a practical way, but might not have the skills, or might be distant geographically, so this service would make a good option.

Thanks for all your thoughts, it's exciting to be nearly ready to go. DH is working on the website in the evenings, and I'm putting together menus for different circumstances and getting a recipe blog up and running. Then I need to finish the questionnaire, get some feedback on it from ex-colleagues, put a feedback form together for clients, finish writing the text for my website, get flyers printed...

Then all the marketing begins, which is tricky. I'm pretty sure there is a market, and with the youngest child still at home I'm not too worried if things grow slowly, as long as they are actually growing!

Thanks for all your thoughts, it's really helpful. smile

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