Someone’s approached me…

Someone's approached me about individual writing tutoring, and I'm trying to figure out whether this is something I want to offer more generally in the future, as opposed to just teaching classes. I'd have to charge a higher hourly rate than I charge for classes, since it's more work / student (and more individualized).

A friend who does this says that she charges sliding scale $125 - $150 / hr, which seems like a lot to me; I usually figure my class rate as around $25 / hr / student. (She's comparably published to me, although in somewhat different areas.) I guess I'm having trouble figuring out how to scale it appropriately. Any thoughts on how to approach this? I find this whole process confusing and stressful.

I also hate pricing my artwork. And negotiating salaries. Same problem. Is this a gender thing? Or do guys hate putting a price tag on their work just as much?

6 thoughts on “Someone’s approached me…”

  1. Yup pricing artwork and value for service is a tough one. I try and compare it to other things that people are willing to pay for: One hour, one on one pilates session – $95
    One hour massage – $130
    One hour acupuncture – $95
    So I don’t think that $125-$150 is over the top. (That being said I’ve never charged an individual more than $50 for a private dance class!) As long as it doesn’t cost you – what will your childcare cost be while you are tutoring?

  2. A friend of mine who is a professional artist says that an artist who does not do it full time should charge based on the hourly rate she could get in a job she is qualified for, figuring out how much time was spent on the artwork. This makes sense to me.

    For someone on a salary, I suppose the hourly rate would be [annual salary] divided by 2000.

  3. Figuring out what your work is worth is hard. You also might want to factor in what your time is worth. You are so busy right now that I would think the hourly rate would have to be on the high end to make it worth your while to commit time to this rather than all the other things you could be doing.

  4. If you don’t value your time, education, work, yourself then no one else will. Typically, consultants charge more than what an employee hourly rate.

  5. I also have a hard time putting a $$ amount on pieces I make. Part of that is that it is so intuitive and fun to do, that its hard for me to assign an arbitrary #. (I’ve had to do that in the past for art shows, and have always been amazed that people want to buy my work!)

  6. I saw an article not long ago about salary differences by gender, and about women being (by and large) less likely to ask for raises than men. Blanking on where the article was—was that something you linked to?

    Here’s one article from 2007, but I think I was thinking of a more recent one.

    There are, of course, plenty of men who are uncomfortable putting a price on their work. I hate negotiating salaries; I hate asking for money even for worthy causes; I would rather give stuff away than have to set a price for it, and it’s even harder when I’m talking about my time rather than about physical possessions.

    One thing I’ve done is to calculate what my time is “worth” (whatever that means) based on my salary at work; figured out my hourly pay, figured it would be roughly double that if I were a contractor. (So, for example, if taking an expensive taxi will save me two hours of travel, and cost less than an hour of my salary, it might be worth it.) Of course, the tech industry has ridiculously overinflated pay rates, but I think the same general idea could apply to anyone who gets paid for their work.

    (But that leaves out whole vast areas of unpaid work, like parenting and housekeeping, and whole vast areas of value of time and energy, like needing time to write your own stuff, and like emotional fulfillment from a job.)

    One other thought: my handyman was charging what seemed to me to be a very low per-hour rate until he met another handyman and found out the other guy was charging nearly twice as much. (At which point my handyman quite reasonably raised his rates; even so, they’re still fairly low.) So I think it can be very instructive/helpful to talk with multiple people who do the job in question (and/or look up such people online) and get a sense of what they charge. (You’ve obviously already started on this by asking your friend.) Might vary some by geography and such, but still could be helpful.

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