A recent message to my voicemail (message played on the podcast) was challenging me on why I charge for my service when so many people were in need. The question reflected what I often hear from people starting in business “Should I Charge for my services?”
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Three Views on “Should I Charge for My Services?”
We can view this question “Should I charge for my services?” from three different views:
- The person who needs help and does not have the money to pay
- The business person who needs to feed their family, but wants to help those in need
- The non-profit, who sees it as their job to serve for free.
Here are some realities of this question:
- No money = no value: I do not mean that your free and volunteer services are not worthy, but when people do not pay, they do not value. Just look at any neighborhood where government money is used to support or supplement the rent. Only a few of those homes will be well kept. The others are not valued. No investment.
- Non-profits chase money: The sad truth about non-profits is that they have to chase money to stay in business. So rather than focus on those they are there to serve, they have to focus on those who donate and support their mission. Running a non-profit well is a very challenging job – and few are up to it.
- For profits have leverage: When I want to impact a large group, I need money to do that. If people are paying, then I have resources to expand my message and help more people. Done for free I can only impact those I can work with directly. With income, I can hire help and get resources to expand.
- For profits give: The best leverage of a for profit business is that they can (and most do) provide for needs of others. When someone comes with a need and cannot pay, the business has leeway to offer their services for reduced rates or free on a case by case basis.
So if you are desperate and need help, do not be afraid to ask for what a business might be able to do. And if you are a business, do not be afraid to charge what you are worth.