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Hi, I'm starting a small local business doing decorative painting and art work on walls and furniture. I've already contacted several interior decorators to make them aware of my work. Can you give me any guidance on how to price my work?

Hi, Eleanor!

I don't have direct experience about how businesses of this type structure their fees, I'm sorry.

What I *do* know is that:

1. You have to cover all your indirect expenses (things you don't pass on to the client directly) in order to be profitable, so you have to think through all those expenses on a per-year basis, divide that number by the number of hours you plan to work, and you'll know how much you need to make every one of those hours to pay your expenses.  Be sure to budget for all the expenses you have now or might have. An example of something people don't budget for is health insurance if it's currently being provided by/though a spouse's employer. It has to be budgeted for in case that "been" becomes unavailable for any reason and you'd need to get insurance for yourself. If you don't budget for it, then when you need to buy it, the money won't exist for you to get it.  So think through all the things you can think of and plan budgets for them; if you don't know what something might cost you, like, for instance, health insurance, call a local company and get a quote and use that.

2. What you do is a skill, of course, but also art. There should be a premium for that.

What I would do if I didn't know what to charge is research local companies offering similar services and find out what they charge. Then charge similarly.

Hope this helps :)


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Anastacia Brice


My company, Assist University, trains people in every aspect of starting, and more importantly, sustaining, their businesses, while having high quality lives. Additionally, I am a professional business coach. I coach clients to get from where they are, to where they want to be, professionally. All of my clients are small business owners and women.


I've worked for myself for more than 20 years, and have owned my own successful company for more than 15--there's something to be said for that, when the majority of businesses don't see a fifth anniversary. In addition, I've trained and supported more than 1000 people to start and sustain their own businesses.

I never graduated from University. I'm pretty happy about that--especially in a world that tells us that we need a degree to be successful. :)

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