I’ve been looking at the search criteria that has landed people here, and it looks like people really want to know how much to charge when you speak.
Now, we’re all quite aware of the adage that it’s never polite to talk about politics and money. Especially money. We rarely share with others how much we make. It’s gauche.
But I want this blog to be of practical help, and so this week I’d like to start the ball rolling by sharing a sample fee schedule at several different levels. But first, a few thoughts:
1. When setting your fees, make sure that you delineate between different sorts of engagements. For instance, there’s the one time talk, usually under an hour, which you give at an evening event, or as a workshop at a day-long conference. Then there’s the one-day event, where you speak two times. The Friday/Saturday retreat usually involves speaking three times, with an overnight stay, and the full weekend usually involves speaking four times, with two overnight stays. If a Friday/Saturday event required a second overnight stay because of distance for me, I’d probably charge a little more. So keep that in mind. You need to have these different fees in your head, because you don’t want to quote a low amount when they’re really talking about a big conference!
2. Decide on an hourly rate. When I started making up my fee schedules, I asked myself, if I had to support my family on my own, what would I need to earn an hour? I came up with that figure. Then I asked, what would my expenses be over the year? I added that amount to my hourly rate.
Then I began to figure out how much I needed to charge for each type of event. For instance, let’s say you wanted to make $20 an hour at a one-time event. That requires being at the event for 3 hours, driving for 3 hours, and preparing for 3 hours. You should be charging $180 or $200 then, with mileage on top of that. Which brings us to our next point:
3. Factor in travel time to your fees. I live in a remote area, so anywhere I go I’m driving about 2-3 hours each way. That means a 6 hour drive to an engagement. I need to be paid for that time. If that makes me more expensive than more local speakers, so be it. My time is worth something.
Now, all of this talk does NOT mean that you can’t offer a discount if you feel God calling you to speak somewhere without charging, or at a reduced rate. But I find that in such circumstances, it’s good to figure out what you would have charged, and then give an invoice for that full amount, with the discount on the invoice, so that the church or organization understands what they’re getting. When they see that you’re worth a certain amount, they tend to take you more seriously.
4. Always charge travel expenses separately. (this is different than travel time; it’s simple expenses). The IRS allows $0.51/mile, and that’s a reasonable amount. You don’t have to charge that, of course, but keep in mind that that is the going rate. Mileage should not just be gas money, but it also has to take into account wear and tear on your vehicle.
That being said, here are some possible Fee Schedules. I’ll provide three different ones, and you can see where you end up:
Level 1: Just Starting, and Want Some Experience:
One day, 1 session: $75
One day retreat, 2 sessions: $150
Two day retreat, 2-3 sessions: $250
Full Weekend Retreat: $350
Level 2: Established Speaker
One day, 1 session: $350
One day retreat, 2 sessions: $500
Two day retreat, 2-3 sessions: $650
Full Weekend conference: $950
Level 3: Advanced Speaker
One day, 1 session: $600
One day retreat, 2 sessions: $850
Two day retreat, 2-3 sessions: $1,000
Full Weekend Retreat: $1,400
Now, whether or not you can ask for the higher fees depends on a lot of factors, including geography. I’m Canadian, for instance, and getting Level 3 fees would be almost impossible. But that just gives you an idea of some fee structures.
What I would recommend is that you start at a lower rate, and then, if you find yourself getting booked up, raise your fees. I tend to raise them every season by a bit.
Again, I don’t mean for these to be set in stone, but I know people want dollar amounts. So what do you think? How do you set fees? Share your thoughts!
Soon I’ll be starting an email course on how to launch your speaking career! Sign up to be notified (it’s FREE) here.