Getting Clients-Price isn't your Problem

Since my post on virtual assistant rates continues to be discovered and enjoyed almost two months after I first published it, I thought perhaps it was time for another post on pricing for service related businesses. Yes, that includes virtual assistants.

And since we already tackled the issue of not charging enough, let’s move on to the first major complaint I get when I tell people they need to raise prices.

“It will keep me from getting clients.”

But that’s just not true.

Think about it.  How much does their mechanic charge per hour? How much do they spend eating out per month?  People will pay for what they want or what they need.

It’s not your price that keeps them from working with you.

It’s trust.

Or lack of trust to be more exact.

You see, if they trusted you to provide an answer to their problem, price wouldn’t be a sticking point.  In fact, they’d expect to pay as much or more to solve their issues.  They’d consider themselves lucky that they found you, since you and your services are so valuable.

Think I’m making this up?  Check out my testimonials page where one of my clients suggests people hire me before I start charging more.  They obviously value the services I provide them with and feel my rates are reasonable. Yet dozens of service providers have told me they could never charge that much. *Note: My rates are not excessive, in fact they are highly competitive in my industry. Those dozens of people are wrong.  They could charge what I do or more if they had the trust of their potential clients.

But there’s a hitch…

Building trust takes a lot more work than lowering your prices. Building trust takes a commitment to quality. It means not taking on work that you don’t know how to do. It means not offering services that you aren’t highly qualified to offer. It means you don’t ever ‘learn as you go’ unless your client is aware and agreeable with it.  You do your best to go above and beyond for each and every project and task.

Building trust means utilizing every avenue available in order to make you a credible person in the community your potential clients belong to.  It all takes time and effort. But it is what will get those service inquiries appearing in your inbox without offering ridiculously low rates.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TMarieHilton, T.Marie Hilton. T.Marie Hilton said: Following up on a popular rates post- "Getting Clients- Price Isn't the Problem" […]

  2. Alex (Ferndale, MI) on October 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Could there be a counter-intuitive element, too? An attorney I once knew told me how he had wanted to thin out his client base without letting clients go so he raised his rates. Soon he noticed that instead of shrinking his practice was quickly growing. Evidently the pricing projected an image of ability (which was matched by performance, because that was many years before I knew him).

    • T.Marie Hilton on October 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm

      Yes, I’ve had several people tell me the same thing, that when they raised their prices their businesses took off. I believe you’re dead on when you suggest a higher price projects an image of ability. Most people understand that skill comes with a higher price tag.
      Great point! Thank you for sharing and for stopping by and reading.