Whats The Value of Your Time?

I’m often amused reading discussion forums or just ‘shop’ type talk at an annual ceu class when the subject of pricing or hourly worth comes up. The range of ‘self worth’ is truly astounding and the valuations different people place on their service is no less intriguing. While some boast of $150 dollar an hour pricing others scoff at the high number and I’ve heard as low as 25 or 30. Both have great arguments as to why one valuation is better than the other and I see successful examples of both all the time. So who’s right? Why isn’t there a standard?

This article is not to take one side or the other. I’d much rather hear from you as to what your thoughts are or if you’ve ever considered this and/or had the thought of raising or lowering your valuation (and thus pricing) and if so, why or why not?

These are just a few of my thoughts on the subject and how I’ve changed over the years.

Before You Prejudge

I guess it’s axiomatic that one would think the lower side of things is the one that has to change. In a way, if you’re too low than the only way to go is up so maybe that’s why. I however, have given much thought to lowering prices. The thought being that with the present economy maybe my customers would appreciate a couple of dollar savings and maybe even be more eager to refer me– It’s never been more than a thought though. But is it wrong to have lower prices across the board than your competition? Price sells right? Or does it say (as some explain) that you don’t think enough of your service, skill and expertise and therefore aren’t confident enough to ask for more?

How Bout Those Expensive Companies

We all have them, they’re in every town. You say $500 for a termite job and they’re always double or even more. What are they using that you’re not? Nothing-so you’d think you’d clean up on em at every turn but why aren’t they out of business and their salesman not starving, why do they have 15 trucks on the road and I am so small? I thought price sells. Somethings up. It’s not even all the mega outfits who have higher prices. I see mid sized, big and even a one man show here in my town who get top dollar.

Love To Hear Your Thoughts-These Are Mine

I’ve been around for awhile and I guess pretty soon new start ups in town will be looking at me like the ‘old fart.’ (if they don’t already) I’m not the highest price but I do hear gasps of unbelief at times when I quote someone for my service. I didn’t start out this way and for me to now give you some sort of speech as to why you need to raise or lower your valuation would be pretty condescending. I’m no better than you and if my self imposed worth is different–that’s my decision based on me. I really have no right to tell you that you are wrong. Having said that; Let me just state two observations I’ve made over the years and use to come to my self worth.

# 1 Nobody Values Your Time Until You Put A Price On It

It’s taken me a long time to realize this. Give it away for free and believe me, the client won’t expect to pay to much and will not see the value in your service. If you’re low priced already you’re in danger of just being replaced anytime for the next guy who comes a long singing and dancing and is as little as $1.00 less. Mainly, this applies to ‘free complaint’ services for things I DID treat for and then the calls for things I didn’t. Just because you called me out for fleas no longer means I’m including rats or roaches etc. I’ve put a price on that extra time, chemical, equipment etc. that I use to give away. Seldom do I get resistance.

# 2 Time Is Something You Can’t Get Back

24 hours is all you get. There’s no promise of tomorrow and you can’t do a thing to change yesterday good or bad. I’ve invested 1000’s of hours in training and learning and if a client wants a piece of that, I’m more than happy to share but I think it’s time I ask for my self worth–my price. Do I lose some work? Yes. Do I turn down some jobs? Actually I do which has always been a huge hurdle for me- I’ve been of the mindset that I ‘want’ every job that presents itself…..Now I realize the value of my time (that I set) and if a job can’t measure up, I have the strength to walk away. This is HUGE not only for me but anyone in business. Not all work is good work! Unless you can find a way to time travel–you too have a valuable day ahead of you, price it accordingly.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. Pestcemetery.com was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • Dylan

    I have spent a lot of time and effort in obtaining what little knowledge I have of this industry. I’ve learned the hard way (too many times) not to dispense it for free. We’re certainly not the highest priced, but we’re not doing the ‘free inspection’ thing either. But, like you, we have successful companies in our area that are on both ends of the pricing spectrum.

  • Wise man… just keep the faith 😉

  • exterminatorsrock

    when i was at my family’s company before, i basically used $125 an hour (+ chemical) pricing

    my vindication was, there were things we did, (away from the house) daily and weekly that my competitors didn’t do.

    1. tank cleaning. we never got a build up of that black mystery goop that i often noticed in my competitor’s tanks. Using a lot of non-repellents, i wanted to make sure no pesky mildewy crud could potentially affect my customer’s treatment. the filter also got cleaned a lot. sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, depending on the time of year

    2. equipment maintenance, for instance the Hilti drills. even though we didn’t drill inside a lot, rest assured when we did, the customer got to see drills that looked almost new, and didn’t have to worry about clouds of dust blowing from the vents or a cord that left mud trails everywhere we went. we would clean them after every job.

    3. pest control trucks also received “after job” treatments. Big tank, B&G dusters, all clean and maintained. i know it’s “part of the business”, but i have seen so many B&Gs i didn’t want to touch with bare hands, much less have it being pumped on my kitchen floor. Maintenance done right takes time, and that time’s value can’t be ignored.

    i could go on and on, but basically, i felt customers were not only paying for a contract, but paying for great service, and a great service requires more than a just smile.

    i slept good at night about how they were serviced, and felt good about the value i put on my time

  • That’s a great valuation… well put….I got a buddy who has nothing but broken down equipment and he charges 1/2 of what I charge–and he wonders how come I get more biz….. I think I’ll refer him to your comment…I couldn’t say it better