When you begin your speaking career, you will be forced to answer the question that every client will ask you from day one: How much do you charge for speaking?
There are a lot of factors that go into deciding the right amount to charge clients for your speaking services.
Here’s a list of factors that clients will take into consideration when booking a speaker:
Experience – Clients will pay more for speakers that have a proven track record. As you speak in schools and conferences, be sure to collect testimonials and letters of recommendations from clients. This is gold. The bigger the gig, the more experienced speaker the client will hire. Some schools will hire speakers solely based on the amount they charge. If you are just starting out, you may consider charging lower fees so you can book more gigs. The hardest part of speaking is booking your first dozen gigs, remember that.
Marketing – Your material will sell you before you mention your speaking fee. That’s why it’s important to invest & reinvest in your marketing materials which should include the following: website, speaking demo video, postcards, business cards and a one sheet. Spend extra on your material….land more speaking gigs and higher rates. Ever been car shopping? Remember the showroom car? Present yourself like the showroom car at used/new car prices and you’ll get booked all day long.
Education level – Some clients care about a speakers education level but most don’t. Clients want to know if you can deliver an inspiring message to their audience. However, if you graduated from college or grad school, you certainly want to highlight that on your website as it will give you credibility in the education industry.
Expertise – If you can become the expert in a certain field or niche, do it. There’s nothing like being able to be one of a few speakers that’ll speak on a certain topic and bring your level of expertise to the speech. If you’re set to become a general motivational speaker, it’s going to be harder to get noticed and other speakers will start to undercut your fee. Experts earn more because they charge more.
If I had to start all over I would invest as much as I could into a demo video and a nice website that is appealing to my ideal client. I would start by charging $1,000/per speech in a school. After my first year, I would reinvest in my business and increase my speaking rates another $500-$1000 per speech.
Remember that travel costs can be $500-$800 for one presentation, so consider that when setting your fee. Today, after five years, I’m now in the $3K-$5K fee range for one speech. Schools know exactly what they’re getting when they hire me, plus I’ve spoken to hundreds of schools and conferences and I’m confident that I’ll deliver. I now speak to Educators as well as parents making me more valuable in the eyes of clients.