If you’re deciding to make the move from permanent to interim there’s plenty to think about, including one of the most important considerations: how much to charge for your services.
Of course, now you’re independent, your day rate will have to take into account the ongoing costs of running your own business and not just your take-home pay.
Here we share 5 tips to assist with working out a rate that’s right for you and your business.
- Check out the competition
In professional services, there’s a balancing act of charging the appropriate amount for your ‘worth’ whilst remaining competitive. It’s definitely worth speaking to other interims with a similar experience level and finding out what they charge, and whilst it’s useful to carry out this exercise at the start of your interim career it’s something you should always be up to speed on. Keep in contact with your peer group and look at reputable sources for guidance. Depending on market conditions, as your experience increases, so should your value and ultimately your rate.
- Calculate a baseline
One very simple way of doing this is to take your permanent salary, add regular bonus and the monetary value of significant benefits, and divide by the number of working days in a year (260 in the UK), to give a day rate. We’re not suggesting this is what you charge but it will give you clarity. Add a % on top which will firstly compensate for the fact you won’t work all of those 260 days and to cover the added operating costs and risks of running a business.
- Know the value of your specialist knowledge
Your specialist knowledge is valuable and so it stands to reason that your client will pay a premium for ‘outside expertise’ to solve a specific business problem. Finding a niche in which to operate is a great way in which to capitalise on those sought-after skills and if you can find an effective way of marketing these skills, you’re likely to find yourself in high demand.
- Make flexibility work for you
Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of an interim career and, professional reasons aside, it’s one of the main reasons that many people embark on an interim career. Creating additional time for other interests or deciding to take the whole summer off with the kids are absolutely possible if you manage your interim career effectively, so make sure that the rate you’re charging when you are working takes these choices into account.
- Every project is unique
It makes good business sense to have a standard rate, but you don’t always have to stick rigidly to this rate for all projects. If you’re really going to make your interim career work, it’s prudent to consider each project separately and to develop a method of how you should charge for different projects. This will become easier to do over time and as you gain more experience but, if balanced with good commercial sense (like never undervaluing your skills), it can lead to a varied and rewarding interim career. For example, if there’s an opportunity that will look great on your CV – a high profile brand or project, or a non-profit – it might be worth the ‘hit’ on your standard rate.