• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Timothy Norton
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Saana Jalimauchi
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • Ulla Bisgaard

I'm Allergic to Billing People

 
gardener
Posts: 1238
Location: Tennessee
817
homeschooling kids urban books writing homestead
  • Likes 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not allergic to doing work...I am allergic to asking money for the hard work that I do!

SO I have rates for my online work, and they are above what I myself would ever be able to pay for the services I offer. However, multiple people in the last year who have paid me have said I am not charging enough. (!!!)

But still, I would feel horrible charging more--I already feel guilty about charging what I do! (Note: online teaching is a hobby for me, an avocation, not my family's bread and butter.)

This post is because I am very interested in non-traditional, Permie ways to think about money and livelihoods and work. I have had one student who traded me  music lessons for my teaching time, and that was one of my favorite arrangements I've ever had. What else could I do? What are ways y'all think about billing, fair wages per hours spent, and using vs. not using fiat currency? I'd love to hear several folks sound off on this topic!
 
pollinator
Posts: 5207
Location: Bendigo , Australia
439
plumbing earthworks bee building homestead greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I understand how you feel, but reality kicked in for me.
I am happy to quote and do the work but I felt awkward in asking for payment.
Until I realised that is the game, people rarely offer to pay.
It does happen.
Barter works well where everybody is impoverished, otherwise somebody may try and game the system.
I am not confident it would work across the community, at least with cash you can consider things.
At the end of the day, a bit of barter is good, but the community needs services that only taxes will provide for.
Tax is the price of a civilised society perhaps.
 
master steward
Posts: 6568
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2322
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Rachel,

I am not sure of the core issue, but I would rather give something away than sell it.
 
Rachel Lindsay
gardener
Posts: 1238
Location: Tennessee
817
homeschooling kids urban books writing homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John F Dean wrote: I am not sure of the core issue, but I would rather give something away than sell it.

Me too. It just feels wholesome and honest to give away or trade compared to the other. Even if it is a fair price! I wonder why the use of money makes you and me feel that way. Perhaps it is because money is not so easy to earn, and we do not wish for people to have to trade so much of their life for the object we have?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1455
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
509
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I get around the icky feeling by having one day a week where I do free work for people with low income. My services require me to have access to people's financial information, so their income level is verified as a matter of course and I don't have to get into weird conversations with clients (not for that reason anyway! 🙄)  Some of the people I do work for will pay a little bit, just whatever they can afford. If they feel bad for not being able to pay, I ask them to leave a google review or give them an extra business card and ask them to recommend me to someone they know.

I've been told my rates are too low, as well. I'm still building up a clientele, but I expect to be making enough to support myself and my husband in another two or three years (maybe not to my husband's standards, but certainly to mine 😁). That's really all that matters, in my opinion. If you're making enough money to pay you for your time, your rates are fine. Because it's my business and I do it on my terms, I'm okay with being paid less for my time than I might be working for someone else.

If you're making money, but attracting a lot of weirdos, then maybe your rates are too low. A friend of mine got in that situation. Every low life in town was using his computer repair services because they were so cheap and he ended up getting taken advantage of a number of times by various scary people - like the scumbag that hid stolen goods at his house. My friend is also very bad at confrontation. Someone with a different personality probably wouldn't have had all the problems he did, but he definitely had a rough demographic looking him up.

My husband's boss did some engineering work for someone and in exchange got to use the place for his daughter's wedding. He's done a bunch of other barter stuff, too. A friend of my parents' is an artist who did a billboard for a dentist and got a bunch of free dental work out of it. I wouldn't want to rely on barter (I can't pay my property taxes that way, so I need some actual currency), but I don't see why I'd turn down a good deal.
 
John F Dean
master steward
Posts: 6568
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2322
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Jan

Years ago I used to run a woodworking business.   Every once in a while someone would show up with a handful of boards for us to plane.  The fact is we could plane the boards much faster than we could write up the billing. So, we normally didn’t charge.  We did give then the name of a local charity to donate to if they felt the need.  I only followed up a few times, but it appears people were making donations.
 
gardener
Posts: 3791
Location: South of Capricorn
1975
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jan, you're a superstar!! Your advice is solid gold.

I mentor people in my field and this is a major problem for us. As I get older and more established I've gotten very defensive about my time (and time=money) so it's not such an issue any more but I see it in colleagues every day.

I would suggest considering the value of your time, and what the benefit is of undercharging for it. If you're worried about being seen as a good person, focus on the good service you're already providing. Like John mentions, there are plenty of times I give people freebies, not least of all because it would take more time to invoice the work than the work itself actually took.

I also made a rule early on: for friends and family I either do the job for free or, if it's too big to be free, I refer it elsewhere. It made my life about 500% easier, between delinquents, being taken advantage of, or trying to price "fairly".

I also want to restate what Jan says: if you're attracting difficult clients, your rates are too low. I make a point to always be "stepping up": keep pricing higher and higher, slowly, but when I have a client who's problematic either they pay more for me to maintain them or I cut them loose, trading them for someone who will pay better. People who pay more tend to respect their service providers more, in my experience.
That said, my rates are not the highest on the block, other people charge more than I do, but I feel it's fair. I think about what I pay my lawyer, my dog trainer, my tattoo lady, my internet and security guys, etc, and I'd feel pretty comfortable justifying what I charge for my time (if I wanted to). After all, this is work, not a charity: I do it in order to pay my bills.
 
gardener
Posts: 999
Location: Málaga, Spain
350
home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As someone who is not charging anything right now, of course I feel entitled to add to this conversation XD.

Pre-money: Societies without currencies mostly rely on the gifting economy. This means I freely give away waterver I have in excess, and I expect to receive it back from people who have stuff in excess. Hoarding has pretty serious social consequences. Such economies are fine for tribes, families, etc. where you can follow a loose track of who gifted what. It doesn't need to be a 1:1 trade, but the less you are sharing, the less you will be included in the 'social network'.

Money: Things and services are given a proper value in currency. When the price is not right, it is over or under consumed. In your case, a price too low makes your customer not value the product properly. As an example, you could exercise outdoors by yourself or you could pay a gym, why do you think some people prefer to pay the gym? It's for the guilt of losing money if the gym is not perused. Similarly, a counselor that charges high rates is more likely to be considered seriously, even if the quality of the advice is not up to the cost, as long as the price is affordable. As Jan put it, making yourself a high paid profesional that sometimes gives freebies to poorer clients, in your spare time, will make even your for free clients to value more your work.

Post-money: Maybe one day we will be able to return to the gifting economy with a more simple approach against hoarding and the value will be set in your reputation rather than in your prices.
 
Tereza Okava
gardener
Posts: 3791
Location: South of Capricorn
1975
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After my morning treadmill session (where I do my best thinking) I wanted to add: if people are telling you you don't charge enough, it is worth taking to heart.
If they're in your field, they know what the work is worth, and then there is also the issue of dragging down average values if your prices are so low you're undercutting. We see that a lot in my field, where some people took up this work as a hobby during the pandemic; since they have other income they don't need to charge a decent amount, and as a result clients will say "but Bobby only charged five dollars for this job you quoted as 200!" Ultimately, Bobby will stop doing this work (because she doesn't have the software or the experience, and as mentioned all the difficult clients will end up with her), but until she gives up it will skew prices. I don't want to accuse you of ruining the price field: you definitely have the right to charge what you want to, that's your prerogative. But if these people are in your field and telling you you're charging too low, I'd recommend at least asking them why they say that.

If they're not in your field and tell you you're not charging enough, it might indicate there is a good gap in the market you're missing. This was how I found my niche.

Finally, barter doesn't suit my work so well, since generally I have government agencies and research institutes reimbursing my clients, but my husband's work (mechanic shop) does a lot of barter. It generally works out really well, they convert everything into a monetary value and seek equivalents. We get accounting services, towing, once we did a car swap, it works well. The only caveat I'd say is make everything super clear beforehand-- we have to buy parts, for example, and when prices double suddenly the swap might not be as attractive. So they buy parts, the barter is for labor, for example. And first barter is for a very short trial period, just to make sure it all works out well.
 
Posts: 13
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jan White wrote:I get around the icky feeling by having one day a week where I do free work for people with low income. My services require me to have access to people's financial information, so their income level is verified as a matter of course and I don't have to get into weird conversations with clients (not for that reason anyway! 🙄)  Some of the people I do work for will pay a little bit, just whatever they can afford. If they feel bad for not being able to pay, I ask them to leave a google review or give them an extra business card and ask them to recommend me to someone they know.



That's a great idea Jan.  A bit like pro bono for a solicitor.  That way you're getting paid four days a week and still finding time to help those in need.  Win win.    
 
steward
Posts: 15148
Location: USDA Zone 8a
4151
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have not been in a situation where I charged people for doing a service for a long time.  When I did I felt like I was helping people by doing something they wanted done or needed done.

I have never been in a situation where I billed people.

I have one business that I pay which is small and they use Paypal Billing.  Have you looked into something like that?

My other solution would be to not bill people instead just say "Send me the amount that you feel my service was worth" or something like that.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1144
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
495
6
urban books building solar rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As Tereza said, considering monetary equivalents is a good way to arrive at a fair barter deal, especially if it is goods <--> goods trade. When it is labor <--> labor, usually you are trading mismatched skills, but sometimes just body-doubling, and it's close to a time = time calculation.
I think the "undercutting amateur" vs. the "market-rate professional" is okay as long as you are building skills and clientele, and raising your rates along the way. However, undercharging hurts your potential earnings as you yourself become a "professional" and devalues your available time for other things in your life that are priceless and irreplaceable.
 
John F Dean
master steward
Posts: 6568
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2322
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Sarah,

Welcome to Permies.  You have found the best spot on the net.
 
Posts: 24
10
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been told that if you pick a vocation you love, you will never work a day in your life. I started a small business providing lawn care services over thirty years ago because I was blessed with a son and needed more income to pay the mortgage. I soon realized that my business provided me much more than income. I gained the security and confidence that come from being able to provide for myself and family. I was able to work with my wife and son sometimes. My clients became friends, they look out for me. I got thirty years of exercise in the fresh air. I got healing when my mother and my wife passed. I got respect from my community. The mortgage has been paid off. The money has become sort of an afterthought. I would want to continue working if I wasn't paid money because of all those things money can't buy.
When you aren't scrambling to pay the bills it is much easier to have the flexibility to do work for free or barter. In the beginning I undercharged to get more clients. I soon had to raise prices to get some of my time back. But now I had enough breathing room financially to consider different things like barter, which I'm totally into.
 
pioneer
Posts: 598
Location: Oregon 8b
218
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As someone who hasn't had income since the start of the pandemic, and someone who finds difficulty in charging for services, I definitely have thoughts.

For starters, autism is a big part of it, and I think there's a lot of overlap between autism and permaculture. 80% of autistic people are unemployed because traditional work arrangements are hostile to our needs and requires a bunch of game playing that I have no interest in condoning or participating in. I do hard work and I deserve to eat. The fact that society puts barriers between my work and my food (and shelter, and clothing, etc.) is total nonsense when we throw away around half of what we produce. Why would I, personally, pay the price for other people's greed and wastefulness?

I don't know if people here are familiar with Daniel Suelo. He was the first one who, for me, made living without money in our modern age seem doable. Not easy, but doable.

Anyway, he was my first major introduction to the gift economy as a practical alternative to money. And it made me realize how money was being used in really unethical ways. The kind of extraction of resources from the earth without regard to the cost to planet or society is only possible because of money. You can't barter away a forest, but you can sell one to the highest bidder and make it disappear. People from outside my area are making money in all kinds of unscrupulous and damaging ways and then destroying local century farms to build mansions and gentrify the area, pushing out families who have been here for generations. That's only possible because of games played with money. And by extracting shared resources and benefitting from them personally. Clean air, clean water, forests, oil, ores... these are limited communal resources, but we just give them to businesses for free because they have the requisite number of pieces of paper with dead white guys on them. And it's never local people doing this. It's people from the outside that convince local people to play money games. It's a system that rewards the most greedy and evil of people more than anyone else. It rewards the people who are willing to steal from the commons and do great harm to individuals and society for great personal gain. And that isn't sustainable for us or for the planet. And the research is clear: the more money you have, the more you think that personal gain is the only thing that matters.

Local currencies would be better. It at least doesn't allow the same export of local resources without any respect to the cost to the community. It says "You are welcome to buy and export our resources, but only if you've actually contributed enough to the community to earn sufficient local currency to buy those goods and services." It would still allow bad actors on a local level, but it's much easier to thwart bad actors on the local level than it is to thwart them on the national and international level.

Just look at people being pinched on their food budgets right now. Perhaps it doesn't effect the community here as much, but I was just reading that food prices have increased 11% overall, which some items more than doubling in price. Nothing in the world has materially changed. These are just money games. And they're hurting actual people.

For my part, the balance I've tried to strike is to not charge for necessities (food, shelter, etc.) in its most basic form. The things people need to be happy and healthy. I will accept anything that people offer in return, but my surplus is my surplus, and it should get used if it can. I'm happy to receive almost anything in return. Sometimes that's tools. Sometimes it's a warm meal. Sometimes it's a day trip to the coast. And sometimes it's cash. Cash is useful in the present stage of society, but because people throw money away indiscriminately, it doesn't carry the same value as the time and energy they could invest instead. In their heads, they've already spent the money, so whether they give you the money or someone else, it doesn't matter to them. It isn't an indication that they value your work (or theirs). But if they've gone through the effort to hunt down a particular item or invest some time or energy, even if the actual monetary value is less, the value in an axiological sense is much higher. It's proof that they see the value of your effort and are willing to match that energy. Money isn't how people show appreciation. It's how they feed addictions and distract themselves from their problems. I want to be in community with people, not simply be some labor they can purchase. I'm not for sale.

When I do creative work (like writing) or add value (like making pickles or jam) then that adds a level of labor and expense that I expect to be compensated for. I'll give you cucumbers and you can make pickles, but I'm not going to make pickles for you for free. And I want to discourage export or lack of community. That means I should charge WAY more to people outside of my community than those within it. They are welcome to be a part of my community, but I'm not going to offer the same value proposition if they aren't.

And the price you set for your community, on the whole, should be the price that allows you to keep doing the work. It should cover your labor and expenses. And your labor should cover your needs.

I have liked the pay-what-you-can model for smaller things or things where I'm uncertain what the value should be. It doesn't exclude people who can't pay from getting access to things that they need, but people who have a surplus of cash usually more than make up the difference. It worked great for Humble Bundle. There was even a Panera that operated on this model at one point and was always profitable. It's worked great for me... if on a much smaller scale.

I'm currently working on a book about my experience on the farm and my tumultuous health journey. I plan to charge a pretty high price for it, congruent with the experiences I had to have, and the effort I had to put in, to write the book. And it's not necessary for anyone's survival like food or shelter is. But, I do want it to be accessible to people, and I especially want to give back to the community that supported me along the way. My solution is to put the high price on the sticker to begin with and then give coupons to my community to bring it down to a price that's reasonable within that relationship. People that don't know and support me in anyway, aren't participating in or helping my community in any way, will pay full price, being none the wiser. They can export my ideas all they want and pay for the right to export them.

I don't care if people read my book for free. People who actually want to read it are more valuable to me than the people who can throw the most money at me. I'll give it away to people who genuinely can't afford it, and encourage people to share with those that either can't or won't pay for it. When I release a physical copy, it will be in libraries. But I want to be clear about the value of what they're getting, even if I'm happy to give it away.

TL;DR: Set a higher price and provide discounts abundantly. Better that people know the value and understand that they're getting discount than to have them undervalue your work.
 
Posts: 48
Location: Northern Colorado (Zone: 3b/4a)
14
transportation dog hunting earthworks chicken bee building wood heat
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tereza Okava wrote:People who pay more tend to respect their service providers more, in my experience.



This.

The most infuriating job I ever took on was for an old couple that were "trying" to sell their house. The basement had flooded when they were in Arizona for the winter. The story was they didn't have enough money to fix the house, and they'd pay me when the house sold. They would find the tinyest little defects in anything I did to the house, and expect me to come fix them. The drywall ended up being a little wonkey in one corner, and they wanted me to tear it out, fix it, and repaint it, because it wasn't perfect to look at. As long as it passes an inspection for the new buyer it shouldn't have been a big deal. They were mad that I put a seam between a hallway carpet and a bedroom carpet. Looking back it was clear that never intended to pay me, and they were looking for any excuse to refuse to pay me. It has been about a decade, I've never received a dime, and they still own the house. I have a lien against the house, but I won't get paid until they either sell it, or die.

My advice is to charge more for your time. You can spend more time doing better work for fewer people when you charge more. I also make everybody pay up front. I'm done playing the I'll pay you when he pays me, but somebody else never paid him game. Escrow accounts are easy enough to set up, and if people want to fight over things in court the money is safely at the bank for any bankruptcies or other tomfoolery. The 100% paid up front into an escrow account has completely eliminated my difficult clients. I think people are typically difficult, because they never intended to pay you in the first place.
 
pollinator
Posts: 403
Location: Missoula, MT
169
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I grow trees and sell them on the internet. And I see a lot of other nurseries charging like $20+ for 1st year bare-root seedlings of things like hazelnut and black walnut, and I'm just like WTF that's such a ripoff, especially with run-of-the-mill seedling plants that can vary in so many characteristics, cold hardiness included. When the people who run the tree nurseries that I respect see those outrageous prices, I assume they probably think the same thing as me, since their prices have remained cheap/reasonable over the years. I'd rather appeal to people who know what's what, as opposed to the people who just assume the most expensive version of a product is the best. No one is going to be offended by a price that reasonably reflects the cost to produce, and I'd much rather have it be a good deal for the customer, and have more happier customers than if I just tried to squeeze the maximum price out of every tree.

That said, I walk people through the nursery and they'll be like "how much for that peach tree over there?" and I'm like "I only have three of them left and I want to plant them all myself, so I'll sell you one for $30." In that case the price is based on me not wanting to sell it, while still being open to selling it, and most people are cool with that pricing scheme. At other times, I have trees that I want to get rid of, so I price them dirt cheap and they fly off the shelves so to speak.  

I think the thing that makes it easiest to price things is to survey the market, and get feedback from other people who are buying and selling, like Tereza says in her comments. See who has the cheapest version of your product, see who has the most expensive, and what the average or most common price is. And take note of who has the has the highest quality product vs the lowest, and gauge who has the "best value." Then you can reasonably assess where your product/price lies on the spectrum.

Of all the alternative currency I've received from selling all kinds of stuff over the years, I'm pretty sure I still have those pesos and rupees and silver coins stashed away in a jar somewhere, but i'm not actually sure where there are, so go figure. Sometimes when making a sale you get a sense that a person really needs or wants something but they can't afford it, and those are the times when I feel like it's fine to more or less give stuff away or accept useless currency.

Bartering for me is really a matter of right person / right place / right time. If it's easy and obvious that it's a good deal for both parties, bartering is where it's at. A lot of cities craigslists have a barter section, or you can post in various categories adding WTT ("want to trade"). It's pretty hit or miss, but occasionally you connect with someone who's got what you want and vice versa.

The only other thing I can think of is when you go the grocery store and are buying vegetables or bread or whatever, you can be like "I'd have to sell X amount of my product to afford Y amount of Z product," which puts things into the broader perspective of the present economy outside of your industry.
 
John F Dean
master steward
Posts: 6568
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2322
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Rachel,

The older I get, the more I go back to my childhood when we lived on 16 acres in the 1950’s.   I can’t imagine my father or mother charging a neighbor for anything and vice versa. Yes, there were common sense exchanges ….such as our neighbor getting sick and my father milking their cow and keeping part of the milk, but exchanges of money were rare if ever.
 
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rachel Lindsay wrote:I'm not allergic to doing work...I am allergic to asking money for the hard work that I do!

SO I have rates for my online work, and they are above what I myself would ever be able to pay for the services I offer. However, multiple people in the last year who have paid me have said I am not charging enough. (!!!)

But still, I would feel horrible charging more--I already feel guilty about charging what I do! (Note: online teaching is a hobby for me, an avocation, not my family's bread and butter.)

This post is because I am very interested in non-traditional, Permie ways to think about money and livelihoods and work. I have had one student who traded me  music lessons for my teaching time, and that was one of my favorite arrangements I've ever had. What else could I do? What are ways y'all think about billing, fair wages per hours spent, and using vs. not using fiat currency? I'd love to hear several folks sound off on this topic!



Rachel, you are obviously very good at what you do. If the people are recommending that you charge more they are expressing guilt about short changing you. Perhaps you could charge what the market is requesting  you charge and then provide work gratis to people who you encounter that want or need your services but have no ability to pay. In no way are you bilking people for your work and the more you make from the affluent customers the more you can give to the rest of the community.  From a permaculture perspective, enrich the land by overproducing knowledge transfer. You have the rare opportunity to be generous doing what you love.




 
Rachel Lindsay
gardener
Posts: 1238
Location: Tennessee
817
homeschooling kids urban books writing homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Charles Moeller wrote:

Rachel, you are obviously very good at what you do. If the people are recommending that you charge more they are expressing guilt about short changing you. Perhaps you could charge what the market is requesting  you charge and then provide work gratis to people who you encounter that want or need your services but have no ability to pay. In no way are you bilking people for your work and the more you make from the affluent customers the more you can give to the rest of the community.  From a permaculture perspective, enrich the land by overproducing knowledge transfer. You have the rare opportunity to be generous doing what you love.






Thank you so much! I appreciate that. I do indeed do just as you suggest now. This winter I have several people who are happy to pay me a pretty good hourly rate, and there are some that don't,  whom I teach pro bono, and that's been working out okay. I feel very happy about all that!
 
master pollinator
Posts: 4578
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
1249
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was shy about invoicing in my early days as a freelancer. Companies had to chase me to get an invoice. More experienced people quickly set me straight. Being allergic to invoicing for services provided is akin to saying "I am allergic to eating!"

There is nothing predatory or unseemly about fulfilling a reasonable contract that both parties agreed to with eyes wide open.

You are NOT doing your clients a favour by not invoicing. You are creating problems for them.
- It will mess up their accounting cycle and their tax filings.
- It will make them question if you are a serious, reliable provider of services. I.e., they will wonder if you may disappear at any time and leave them scrambling to find a quality replacement. Or, they may be insulted -- good people are proud of paying their debts when they have given their word.
- Also important: if this is an intellectual property, they do not have the legal right to use it until the creator (you) has been paid in full according to contract!

If your clients are serious enterprises and say you should charge at the market rate, listen to them! They want you to stay in business because they like your work! If you want to return the favour, tell them you appreciate their feedback and their business, and will give them 10% off of the next equal size job in appreciation. This builds a win-win situation!
 
Posts: 18
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Rachel Lindsay wrote:I'm not allergic to doing work...I am allergic to asking money for the hard work that I do!

SO I have rates for my online work, and they are above what I myself would ever be able to pay for the services I offer. However, multiple people in the last year who have paid me have said I am not charging enough. (!!!)

But still, I would feel horrible charging more--I already feel guilty about charging what I do! (Note: online teaching is a hobby for me, an avocation, not my family's bread and butter.)

This post is because I am very interested in non-traditional, Permie ways to think about money and livelihoods and work. I have had one student who traded me  music lessons for my teaching time, and that was one of my favorite arrangements I've ever had. What else could I do? What are ways y'all think about billing, fair wages per hours spent, and using vs. not using fiat currency? I'd love to hear several folks sound off on this topic!



Op, have you considered setting up a "tip" section in your billing process?
 
You've gotta fight it! Don't give in! Read this tiny ad:
100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine - now FREE for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/45/pmag
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic