The Best Kept Secret of Charging Higher Coaching and Consulting Fees

To make it in this business, we need to charge fees that will allow us to stay in this business. But, for a lot of coaches and consultants, pricing their services is often a source of considerable distress. Often, they will flip-flop between these equally bad alternatives:

1. Charge what they think the client will pay, then…
2. Decide on a slightly lower price to assure them of getting the engagement. Then…
3. Before presenting the proposal, they will again reduce the price a bit more thinking they will surely get the business. Then…
4. Reconsider and raise the fee a bit higher, then…
5. Go back to #1 and repeat the process until the proposal is presented to the client.

If you have never done any of the above, I give you permission to you to stop reading now and go do something else. Since I have been guilty of some of the above myself in the distant past, and maybe you have too, let’s stay here and talk about it. Regardless of how long you have been doing this, and whatever you are charging now… you are probably not charging enough. But the question is why?

  • Misquoting fees (usually charging too little but sometimes too much) can create a lot of problems that can be deadly to your coaching or consulting business…
  • The stress of having to constantly market for that next client
  • Increasing financial problems often papered over with credit card debt
  • Low paying clients who suck you dry emotionally and are time-consuming.

So why do so many coaches and consultants tend to struggle when it comes to fairly pricing their services? In my experience, it often boils down to this…It’s not about the amount you charge, it’s how you feel about your own worth. Let me put it another way… thinking that YOU are not worth “that kind of money” or the opposite… will eventually destroy your business. What it really boils down to is having a right-headed appraisal of both yourself and of the value what you provide.

The Secret is Providing VALUE
The key is to look at things objectively. It is important to disconnect our fees from our self-worth. If you’ve gotten this far in life, chances are that you’ve had some demonstrable successes in your work life. (If you are in doubt about this take out a piece a paper and start listing them! Be sure to include jobs you’ve had as well as volunteer positions.)

Then, we need to crush that little voice inside of ourselves that says things like, “There’s no way I can charge more,” or “I can’t charge that much,” or “I’m not worth $38,000 for this engagement.” Instead, we need to remind ourselves of specific instances where we have provided great value that people were happy with, praised or complimented etc. What you think about yourself has nothing at all to do with the value that you provide to clients. Resist discounting yourself or your accomplishments… It is NOT about what YOU are worth, it’s what you do is worth to the client.

If you still don’t think you can get past this issue… even though others you know are charging more than you are… then you may be falling into what I call the “easy trap”. Most of the stuff we do for clients is easy for us because we’ve spent half a lifetime learning how to do what clients can’t do for themselves.

If your clients had to develop that expertise or solve the problem on their own… they’d spend WAY more of their time learning how to solve the same problems that you can solve much faster… precisely because of what you know that they don’t. That savings in time and money has a real economic value. If your expertise helps clients earn 25% more or reach their goals in less time, there is always a quantifiable dollar value that can be assigned to that type of outcome. That is where the value lies.

Value is not created by lowering fees, it is created by achieving positive outcomes for the client.

(I do have to mention that there are times when even if we are comfortable charging more and know the value you’re providing clients, you still might hit a ceiling for what you can charge because you’re in a market that has become commoditized, like general sales training.)

It is still up to us to establish the fact that the value that we provide to the client is worth more than our fee. But, what is the best way to accomplish that?

I used to write a unique proposal for each individual client’s needs. As time went on, I realized that I was causing a lot more work and stress for myself by creating something different for each prospect I approached.

Fast forward to today…
Most everything I do now is based on time-tested and proven templates. Why? because I’ve learned that I needed a well-defined structure and process to ensure that I consistently delivered the high-value outcome I was promising to the client. Higher value means greater fees.

Having a repeatable and standardized package will give you a basic platform that you can continue to improve upon as you gain more experience in delivering it. My programs are broken down into specific steps or modules that I can move around or expand upon as I am working through it with my clients. This eliminates the “cookie cutter one-size-fits-all” approach that doesn’t always produce the best results.

If you are interested in how this can work for you, grab my eBook…

“How to Create High-Value Packages that Attract More Profitable Clients”
Download it, study it and put the ideas into practice. It’s time for you to stop underearning and start making the kind of money you deserve!

Jim McCraigh helps his clients build profitable, growing and sustainable business. He is on a mission to help you sell more of your professional services! He has been the owner of Business Growth Strategies, a professional services firm, since 1987


  1. Kay Muhlhy

    Very relevant!! Finally, I have found something that helped me. Thank you.

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