The The PR Desk is a regular column on FBC written by PR professional Heather Travis to help food bloggers navigate the ins and outs of working with PR agencies and brands. This month, Heather makes the case for why you should ditch your rate cards in her ongoing Show Me the Money! series.

The Case For Ditching Blogger Rate Cards | Food Bloggers of Canada

We deviate slightly from our Show Me the Money! series path to clear up a little grenade I tossed out there in two previous chapters to our story (here and here). The grenade was my suggestion that rate cards should be ditched, and so I'm here today to explain why.

But first (as usual), a story …

I had a yard sale recently and sold every single item without ever having to put a price tag on any of the stuff. Here’s how it worked: I put all my things at the end of my driveway, made a sign for my street letting people know there was a yard sale, and when people came up and asked, "How much?" I told them my price. Sometimes they offered a lower price and I accepted, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I never got to say how much because they walked right over and said, "Five dollars for this chair,” and sometimes I asked for more and got it, and sometimes I sold it right there.

At the end of the morning I had an empty driveway and a pocket full of cash. I also was very pleased with the value I achieved in my various sales.

The moral of the story is this: I didn’t need price stickers, just like you don’t need a rate card. Ditch your rate card.

The Case for Ditching Your Rate Card

All a rate card says to me is, "I'm unwilling to negotiate" and, "I don’t care what you want or need from this because here’s what I need (this much money)." It also says to me you've allocated too much of your precious hustle time to make-work projects like a pretty and well-formatted rate card.

A Rate Card is Not A Media Kit

A rate card is different from a media kit. A media kit can be a valuable tool to introduce yourself and what you're all about to potential new clients. Think of it is a way for them to get to know you!

Know Your Rate But Be Open To Being Flexible

Yes, you should know your rate. This is part of knowing your worth and determining your value, but you shouldn’t walk around with those numbers stuck to your forehead.

Yes, you should know your rate. This is part of knowing your worth and determining your value, but you shouldn’t walk around with those numbers stuck to your forehead. I do writing work for four different clients, each client has slightly different requirements for the writing I do, and so my rate for each client is different. Not vastly different, but different enough that if my conversations with them started with the sending of a rate card I most likely would have zero of those four clients.

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And ponder this for a moment … if I had somehow managed to get work with all four clients with just a "here’s my rate card" email, I'd be making LESS money than I am now. And I saved my precious hustle time by not making a rate card and actually used it to hustle, have a meaningful conversation, get the job, AND get paid what I feel I'm worth.

Why is this?

Have Meaningful Conversations

A conversation was had around deliverables and goals. I knew firmly what my time was worth for each project effort and what value I'd get out of it. Where some clients/projects offer more money, others offer exposure, which is valuable to me.  If you're confident in the value you can bring and the rate you charge for that value, you shouldn’t need a rate card to help you get more money.

Hustle gets you paid, not a rate card.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…. Next up: When to raise your rates!


Heather Travis is a PR professional and lover of all things creative. She has extensive experience developing and implementing integrated public relations and marketing programs for agricultural brands, producers and processors, as well as high end sporting goods. She’s a DIY junkie with a mean power tool addiction, and can often be found painting, refinishing, and scouring both junk yards and antique markets for her next fix … err, piece of content for her blog Find Heather on Twitter @heathertravis and Instagram @heathertravis.

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