As a freelance trainer, do you find yourself procrastinating about how much to charge for a training workshop?

Like setting your corporate rates or settling on a day rate, it’s one of the pricing issues that keep coming up in Google searches and within the training community.

Hopefully, the hints and tips below will help you price your next training workshop at a level that feels fair to you and your clients.

What goes into the price of a training workshop?

·         Tangibles where you can track time or money spent

Even before we think about your skills, knowledge, experience and the value you offer (more about these below), the price of a training workshop must include several more tangible elements.

Some or all of the following should go into your price:

  • Researching the client (if delivering training for a company) or the needs of the attendees
  • Creating/preparing the content and workshop schedule
  • Designing the presentation and/or training materials
  • Rehearsing the presentation
  • Planning group activities
  • Preparing and printing handouts (and any associated costs)
  • Venue fee (if applicable)
  • Refreshments/catering (if applicable)
  • Travel time and costs (to and from venue)
  • Setting up the training room
  • Delivering the actual workshop
  • Clearing up after the workshop
  • Gifts/goody bag/takeaway materials (if this is something you offer)
  • Follow-up documentation about the outcomes of the workshop
  • Virtual administrator fees (if you get support from a VA in any way to do with the workshop)

As we can see, these are all elements of preparing and delivering a training workshop that can be measured in terms of time and/or money spent.

I found an excellent article from entrepreneur Susanna Rantanen where she used Toggl – a simple, free time tracking tool – to calculate how long it took her to prepare a six-hour workshop for one of her clients.

In the article, she handily breaks down the various elements including preparation, rehearsal time, travel, delivery and follow-up. In total, she spends 28 hours on this workshop.

·         Value-based elements

When working out how much to charge for a training workshop, you will need to factor in elements of your offering that aren’t as easily defined by the time or money spent.

These are the ways that you offer value to your clients and include your:

  • Knowledge
  • Experience, e.g. theoretical and/or practical
  • Skills
  • Education/qualifications
  • Reputation

Let’s imagine, for example, that you’re pricing a workshop aimed at people who have just moved into a leadership role for the first time in their career.

You have 15 years of experience training people at this level, as well as having been a successful leader for the previous 10 years of your career. You use Harrison assessments to look at leadership behaviours and derailers before the workshop and can provide 50+ case studies demonstrating how your workshops have helped junior leaders transition into their new responsibilities.

When you’re not training, you write about the issues with which new leaders are concerned and have also been featured in the press as an expert on this topic.

This experience has a huge amount of value for an organisation that wants to help new leaders fulfil their potential and retain them for longer.

Your workshop in this scenario would directly impact positively on productivity, team dynamics, employee retention and much more. You can also offer far greater insights than someone who only has a couple of years’ experience under their belt. This has financial benefits for the client and the trainees.

It’s only fair that your workshop fee reflects this value.

How much should you charge for your skills and experience?

As we’ve covered in previous blogs about fees and finance for freelance trainers, knowing how to charge for your skills and experience takes some practice. You’ll need to think about your:

  • Time and financial investment
  • Fees to accrediting bodies
  • Level of experience
  • Availability and waiting list

You’ll also want to consider how you compare to other trainers in your industry (are you more experienced or more widely published, for example?) and what fees the marketplace can bear.

In addition, consider what your client does, their budget and how the workshop outcomes will benefit the client or trainees.

For example, a not-for-profit organisation may have a smaller training budget than a big tech or finance company. Equally, if you’re intentionally pitching your workshop at students or people on low incomes then your price will need to reflect this.

A workshop pricing example

In my previous article about setting your corporate training rates, we looked at pricing for value and experience in more detail.

If you followed the advice in this blog, you will potentially have a sense of how much money you would like to earn per hour. This should be a figure that reflects your experience, skills and training. Clients don’t need to know this figure but it can be a good starting point for coming up with a price for a workshop.

If we use the £75 hourly rate example from this earlier blog, then a workshop that takes 28 hours to complete (see above) would be priced at £2,100.

Hopefully, you can see how this approach gives you a starting point for pricing.

Charging per attendee instead of per workshop?

If you plan to offer a training workshop that’s open to the public or people from different organisations then you will need to settle on a price for each attendee.

A helpful way to approach this is to calculate how much you would like to earn for the workshop as a total – including all of the pricing considerations we’ve talked about so far – and then split the price by the number of people attending the workshop.

For example, if we take £2,100 from the example above and say the workshop would be open to 12 people, you land on a fee of £175 per person.

Again, you’ll want to consider what the trainees stand to gain from the training. What will their new skills or knowledge enable them to do? Being able to pinpoint the outcomes will help you to show the value of your price.

Other considerations for how much to charge for a training workshop

Of course, the figures above are just examples. You may decide to price your workshop well above or below this.

One good piece of advice is to have two figures in mind:

  • Figure 1 is your resentment price – this is the lowest figure you would want to charge for a workshop. Anything less than this price and you would feel undervalued.
  • Figure 2 is your ideal price, the figure that you would command for workshops if the budget wasn’t an issue.

Typically, the price you charge will sit somewhere between figures 1 and 2. Ideally, it should be high enough to test your resolve a little bit but not so high as to make you cringe when talking about the price with a potential client.

You might need to practice talking about your pricing in front of the mirror or to a supportive friend!

Can you use the same workshop multiple times?

If you have to start from scratch every time you run a workshop, it will eat into your potential profits.

A better solution is to create workshops that can be used time and again for different clients.

This doesn’t mean that you have to come up with a ‘cookie-cutter’ version of a workshop. Instead, you can have a framework in place that just needs tweaking for the client before you run it.

If you already have a good sense of this framework when someone enquires, it’s easier to provide a quote instead of pricing something that doesn’t exist yet.

Remove the barriers to buying from you

However you decide to price your workshop, a good strategy is to remove the barriers that might stop people buying from you. Most often, this is the perception of risk, the worry that the workshop may not deliver the promised results.

You can overcome this by demonstrating:

  • The outcomes for previous workshop participants
  • Reviews, testimonials or case studies supporting the workshop outcomes
  • Your expertise via your blog
  • That you follow-up on the workshop to see how trainees are using what they learned

Your price will never be right for everyone

Pricing is a big challenge for many freelance trainers. One of the biggest difficulties is being confident about what to charge and not taking it personally if and when someone says that you’re charging too much.

If you’re currently short on funds, it can be especially easy to assume that everyone is in the same financial position as you. You may decide your only option is to price your workshop as low as possible.

I’d always caution against this.

The truth is that you will never be able to land on a price point that’s right for everyone. Some people are struggling for money but others aren’t. If someone can’t afford your workshop right now, then it just means they don’t have the budget. It doesn’t mean that the price point you’ve carefully chosen is wrong or unfair.

I hope the pointers above will help to give you confidence.

Do you have a formula for knowing how much to charge for a training workshop? Is there anything in this blog that you can use in your pricing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Or if you want to talk about pricing with other trainers, we’d love you to join us in the Trainer Talk community.

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