In this blog post, you’ll learn what professional services firms usually get wrong when it comes to figuring out how to package and price their offerings.

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1) No Idea About Their Base Cost Of Labor

First, they have no idea what their base labor costs are. 

In other words, they haven't considered their average employee salary.

They haven't divided it by 2,000 hours a year or some approximation like that.

They have no idea. 

They haven't thought about whatsoever what the average client costs them on an hourly basis.

2) Failure to Adjust the Base Cost of Labor for Actual Utilization Levels

Second, they haven't taken the time to adjust the hourly labor cost for an actual utilization rate.

Utilization rate is the percentage of your workweek, the percentage of time that's productively billable to clients (versus used for other things like administrative, training, logging in, logging out, breaks, and all that other stuff.)

In other words, it's how many hours an average employee can expect to bill in a given week.

And it's typically for most professional services firms, in the 50%, 60%, maybe as much as 75% range at the extreme upper end of the range.

If it's significantly lower than 50%, chances are you're losing money.

If it's significantly higher than 70% to 75% on an extended basis, you will burn out your team members.

So it's essential to keep tabs on that. 

And that utilization rate is also another critical part of figuring out what you should be charging for your professional services.

So you have your average hourly cost and must adjust that for the actual utilization rate.

So take your hourly cost and divide it by the utilization rate.

3) No Overhead Factored In to Arrive at Effective Hourly Cost

And then next, professional services don't think about their overhead to arrive at an effective hourly rate.

And their overhead is typically in the 20% to 40% range. 

It includes the employer's taxes, health insurance, 401K, professional development, telecommunications, IT services,  hardware, and office real estate. So all of that.

Your effective hourly rate, adjusted for your utilization rate, needs to be adjusted and multiplied to take into account your overhead, which is, again is typically going to be in the 20% to 40% range.

4) Failure to Incorporate Target Profitability Into Cost-Based Pricing

And finally, the fourth biggest mistake that most professional services firms are making is not incorporating a target amount of profitability into their pricing model. 

You're trying to get somewhere in the 20% to 30% range so that again needs to be added to your effective hourly rates.

Plus, take into account utilization rate, overhead, and some profitability.

So you multiply your effective hourly cost adjusted for utilization rate, adjusted for overhead, and adjusted for target profit.

And then and only then are you starting to get close to having the right kind of pricing model that makes sense on a sustainable basis for your professional services firm.

What have you found most challenging when it comes to arriving at the right kind of pricing model for your own professional services business? Let me know in the comments section below.

And to ensure that your pricing, differentiation, and competitive positioning set your firm up to grow better and faster, enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.

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