Thursday, September 09, 2010

Worth It

I just raised my rates for tutoring.  I find myself reluctant to tell potential clients how much I charge because I don't feel like I'm worth that much.  Also, at least a few times, I've gotten the response of "Well, I could hire a college student for $15 an hour."  Yes, yes you could.  But a college student is not a teacher.  Teachers are actually professionals, who have gone through education and training and theoretically at least, know what they're doing.  Of course, part of the problem is that teaching is so underpaid and under-respected that it's hard to get good people, and bad teachers make the whole profession look bad.  I think another problem is that it's a pink collar (traditionally female) job, which tend to lack in adequate compensation and respect.

However, I must be good at what I do, and there are at least a few people who think it worth paying for.  I actually raised my rate - sort of accidentally.  I was talking to the mom of a potential client and trying to figure out how I would work it into my schedule.  I didn't really think it would be feasible, so I inflated my rate by $10/hour, thinking she'd write me off as too expensive. She didn't even pause but agreed right away. 

Two more thoughts:

Has anyone else noticed that self-employed women tend to have a harder time charging what they're worth than men?  I think we really don't think we're worth much, and it's sad.

If one more person says "I'd love to teach elementary school; they're so cute," I am going to take them up on it and we'll see if they survive a week. 

One year ago: Tragedy

Four years ago: Dear Mom, How are You Doing in Jail?

1 comment:

Letseat said...

My industry is completely different so this may not apply, but when I started "consulting", I picked a rate that seemed reasonable. After trying it out on a few people, they seemed way too okay with it, so I slowly ratcheted up my rates until I reached a happy medium where half the people would say ok and half would either walk away or try to negotiate me down. In my situation (as in many, if not all) the amount I was "worth" was whatever people would pay.
As it turned out I was charging more per hour than most agencies for the same type of work. People felt that they were getting something more than they would with an agency though. (More attention? more senior level work rather than having it handed over to the junior person in the firm? I have no idea.) Whatever it was I went with it and everyone ended up happy.