Saturday, March 28, 2009

Figuring Out How Much to Charge for Organizing Services

I think I just fell into the world of professional organizing.

I like to organize and my friends know it. I've helped out quite a few of them in the past getting their homes, work places, and even classrooms, organized. Well this week, for the first time ever, a friend referred me to someone she knows who is "feeling overwhelmed and wants help getting organized". I know I can help this person but what I don't know is how much I should charge.

There are two ways I can approach this:
  1. Charge by the project
  2. Charge by the hour
Charge by the Project
At this stage, I don't really know how long a particular project will take. I've never timed myself before and I don't want to quote something that will be way off. I really value my time and I don't want to end up under-estimating and be stuck with a project that will suck hours of my time without adequate compensation. Having said that however, I think once I have a sense of the time required to complete certain projects, this is a better way to go. It gives a nice wrapped up pricing package to the client and there are no surprises.

Charge by the Hour
It looks like this is what I will be going to start with. There are a couple of things to take into consideration here. How much value am I providing to the client (how much my services are actually worth) and how much I value my own time (how much will I trade my time for).

I do value my time a lot and I much prefer to set up streams of passive income where I don't actually have to trade my time for money after the initial set-up is done. If this is all I was going by, then I would charge quite a lot. At one point I had a consulting gig where my client paid me $125/hour.. and that was nice.

Now, how much value am I providing this client? As I said, I'm good at organizing, and I'm also actually pretty good at the psychological game of helping someone through a process like that. But, I am just starting out so I know there will be glitches. I also spent a little bit of time with this client today and I know that he's got good ideas and doesn't really need my "expertise" to help him come up with strategies and systems, he really just needs someone to be there while he does it.

So, what are the various price ranges I could consider? Here are the price points for contract work that I am familiar with in my world, from highest to lowest:

$125/hr Paid to me for my consulting services by a very well-off family.

$75/hr Rate for local professional organizer

$60/hr Acupuncture

$20/hr What I pay friends who I hire for handyman type work

I'm thinking It'll have to be somewhere between $20 and $60. Let's figure out what I feel about these numbers...
  • I'm not giving up an hour of my life for just $20 or $25.
  • $50 seems too much for just "being there"
  • $30 or $40?
Ok, I think I will go for $35/hour for this client and see how I feel about it by the end. I wonder if he'll accept that though? I may be willing to negotiate down to $30, but not lower than that.

Will update after this gig is over with thoughts about a future pricing plan.


Allison Carter said...

You are not giving yourself enough credit. "Just being there" is coaching and being an accountability partner. You will probably also be giving guidance and helping clients reach their goals.
Professional Organizing is more in the range of the other professional services and consulting jobs you mentioned.

If you are serious about this as a profession, NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers has the annual conference in Orlando next month.

Anonymous said...

I am searching for an answer to the very same question. I have been asked to organize 6 cabinets of books and do not know how much to charge for my first organizing job. I was thinking $35 per hour, as well, then increasing as I got more experience.
Let us know what happens!

At Chore Service said...

I am a professional organizer and after much research for my geographical area I charge $38 per hour! I alos offer consulting for organizing without ever stepping foot into anyones home for a flat fee of $50. This task requires them to send me photos of the problem areas and after my assesment I send them products that I recommend along with details of how to do it themselves. I also include links directing them to the product websites. Lastly, I am able to take debit or credit cards though a quickbooks account that I purchased through Vista. Please check out my website for more information

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who wants to pay me $10/hr. to come and declutter and organize and clean her house. Her house is so hoarded up with antiques, and "treasures," but the place is so dusty, messy, hoarded up, and full of filth, that I started coughing and sneezing within 1 hour. I've already been there for 10 hrs., decluttering, organizing, and doing a lot of other things for her, to beautify her house, including cleaning, and I've gotten paid a total of $51. I don't know exactly how to ask her to pay me more money, and view this as a business transaction. Any advice? She's a single woman professional, and I know she can definitely afford to pay a professional company their going rate. But, since I'm 'just a friend,' she views this as me just helping her. And also she's offered to give me some of her junk that she wants to get rid of, as part of the "payment." Thank you for all your advise!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous (4/16/12): If you've already agreed on $10/hour, I'm afraid you need to stick to that until the job is done. It's just business ethics. You really can't be taken seriously as a businessperson if during a job you say that you want more money especially if there are no extenuating circumstances. If she's offered you items as "payment," take it. You might end up getting something you really like. Accept it as a lesson learned, act on your integrity and you will keep your friendship with this person intact.