How to Price your Program


Pricing your programs is one of the most important decisions you’re going to make. Set the bar too low and you’re losing money and possibly putting your business at risk. Charge too much and you may alienate the very same clients you’re trying to attract. So how do you go about deciding?

Let me offer some suggestions as to how we arrived at a pricing structure that feels ambitious and relatable.

People know that services cost money. They expect to pay for quality services. So the first thing you need to consider is what quality are you able and willing to provide? Are you hoping to do tons of easy low-tier programs? Or would you prefer to do fewer high-quality programs?  I strongly suggest the later.

Why? Because people don’t tell their friends about low-quality experiences, except maybe to complain. Clients don’t line up for your waitlist because they feel ho-hum about you. Everyone wants to find that thing that they can rave about to their friends and pass along. We all want to feel proud that we found something great.

Let your services be that thing.

Strive for excellence. And your prices can reflect that excellence.

So where to start? First, design the most that you think you can give them. Think of everything, except your time. That is a limited resource. What can you give them that can be used over and over again? A checklist? A piece of equipment? A learning aid? An instruction manual? Also consider disposable resources – like cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels – those things they may use as part of your program. As you list what is included in the program, go for big. And your prices can follow suit.

Should you look at your competition to gauge your prices? Yes and no. Yes, because in some instances, it will stretch you. I once interviewed a magician who was making 3x what I was charging for an hour program at a library – and I was bringing live animals! That made me realize that pricing isn’t always consistent. What a library pays me is not what they pay everyone. If they can afford others, they can afford you. You just have to make yourself as valuable.

Don’t compare yourself to your competition in a race to the bottom. Trying to be the lowest price on a roll of toilet paper may make good business sense. But trying to be the lowest price for your valuable life energy is a losing strategy.

But won’t people compare pricing? Yes, they likely will. Provide more. Not more time, but more professionalism, more extras, more back-end support, more confidence. Yes, even if you’re starting out. You don’t’ know the experiences they’ve had with that other guy. Maybe they’re looking for someone new, someone better, someone more their style.

Be their goal. Maybe they can’t afford you this year. But plant that seed. Show what you’re worth through your social media and email updates and let them save up. Let them budget for you next year.

So how to come up with that magical number? First, I want you to step back and calculate. Open up a spreadsheet and start adding – the time at the program, the time setting up and cleaning up from the program, your travel time to and from the program, your time gathering your equipment and loading your vehicle, your time working up their invoice and confirming their reservation, the typical time emailing a client to even get their reservation.

And then you need to list all the other things you do behind the scenes for that program. Do you bring animals you’ll need to care for on a daily basis? Do you need to shop for consumables prior to their program? Do you have to wash and dry equipment afterwards? Do you use up cleaning supplies getting their program ready? Any cost for permits or licenses? Also think about your business insurance, your website fees, your bookkeeper, your vehicle payment, your electricity and phone bills, etc.

Get the gist? Now you don’t expect one client to pay for your whole phone bill, but do you see where I’m going with this? You have to pay all your backend and travel costs. And you also have to make a living wage. And hopefully, you also want to build wealth for the business so you can continue to expand and grow over the years.

Your prices need to account for all that. Now I can’t give you a number – because my number in central Ohio would expectedly be lower than what you would charge in NYC or in California. But my prices may be higher than what one would charge in a less populated area. It’s location dependent.

So first, decide what you want to earn. Have a behind-the-scenes price and service price. What I mean is, think about what you want to earn per hour doing customer service. Give yourself a price for driving: how much do you need to earn to drive in your car listening to the radio? Not as much as you’re going to charge for the actual time you are there in front of them performing your service. You’ll need that number too. That will be your highest number. It accounts for your education, your experience, your gusto taking the risk to be an entrepreneur. Consultants always make more money than employees. So don’t compare yourself to a school teacher’s hourly wage. You’re taking way more risk – and you have to make a short program pay for every hour that you work, unlike someone receiving a paycheck for their breaks and planning time.

Ok, so now you have a lot of calculations to consider. Break it down and add it up. How many hours does that one-hour program really take you? Be realistic. How much of that is actually teaching? Add the amount for one hour of your teaching based on the amount you decided your skills were worth. Now add the other hours behind the scenes at that lower amount you decided on. Now add a small percentage for the expenses of running a business, such as your time marketing or customer service. Then add a small percent for business profit. Because after all, businesses must make a profit to succeed.

Now add it all up. How does that number make you feel? Does it scare the crap out of you and make you say “no way!” If so, that may be too high. Does it feel meh? Does it make you think “well, that’s a good start”? Then it’s probably too low. Does it make you nervous and excited at the same time? Do is make you wonder if anyone really will pay that much at the same time that you know that amount will make your business move forward? That’s probably the right amount. You want to stretch yourself without panic. But a little bit of nervousness about your pricing means that you’re on the right track. Remember, you want to be the one they reach for as the best.

It’s up to you to make your programs worth it.

You got this!


To download our FREE guide: 5 Simple Steps to Building your In-Demand Farm Education Program, click here. 

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