Thursday, March 9, 2017

New Fee Schedule for 2017

We are moving away from "Squishy Mud 101" workshop projects, and focusing more on the highest and best use of our skills and experience.

And I am finally taking some excellent advice from some long-suffering partners and advisers (including Ernie and Paul).

- I am recruiting office support, including a virtual assistant, task assistants, an accountant, and special "scholarship funds" managed through colleagues' well-run offices. 

- I am working with several primary teams, focusing my energies near home(s) and proven collaborators, and turning down projects that require me to hold someone's hand through their own, preventable crisis.

- I am raising my rates.  Everyone who already has an existing, scheduled engagement for 2017 will get the agreed-on services at the agreed-on rates.  Others wishing to hire us, please see:

Please see
 for details on all of this, including 'help wanted' and 'gots and wants' exchanges.

The draft rates for 2017 are:
- Projects, Your Way: $10,000+
- Projects, Our Way: $3,000+
- Projects, Lead/Train Your Crew: $1000 per day + expenses
- Public Events and Custom Coursework: $500-1000 per half-day + x.
- Private Consulting/Tech Support: $150/hour + x.
($90/hour for flexible clients, $300 base rate/deposit for preliminary consulting).
- Self-Study Resources: $3-50 per book, plan, video, or online course

How can you Justify Such Fees?!?

Paul Wheaton's personal practice for private consulting is: Any time somebody actually pays my listed rate, I double it.  He is currently at $500/hour. 
(He prefers to make his advice available through his 'home turf' of online forums at, or through public speaking, podcast, and online video formats that give broader value for his time.,

I like talking with people, and I love giving advice, and I don't love juggling AV tech to make podcasts. 

So it's time to stop competing with my students, and with the YouTube self-help audience.

I liked what three other respected colleagues had to say, regarding the necessity for contract professionals to charge seemingly-prohibitive hourly rates, and restrict their time to those who make it worthwhile:

Art Ludwig / Oasis Design: "Send me $300 and I'll think about it"

Joseph Lstiburek / Building Science Corporation:
"Sonny, when you learn your high school physics, you can come and sit with the big boys."  (See his 'contact' form for a concise brush-off of casual/non-business inquiries.)

Jim Buckley / Buckley Rumford Fireplaces:
Finish today's reading with a wicked-fun plumber/lawyer joke:

Articulating my Age 40 Level Up revelations:

I may not a "big boy" building contractor - but I am now at the point where I can offer things to Art Ludwig that he critically wants to know about fire-wise building and landscape design, and I am offering non-suicidal wood heat solutions that make the certified heater-masons drool.

I am belatedly realizing that I was raised in the "big boys' club" when it comes to people-puzzles, organizational structure, and hands-on education.  You don't realize your gifts until you meet people starving without them - or someone pats you on the head and says, "Honey, you're REALLY good at that.  Keep doing it."

Before age 20 I learned many things through family, education, and professional opportunities - the Landlord Training Program, PSU School of Social Work, AHS Masque, Hampshire College, Hoffman Construction. 

In my 20's I learned at work and through volunteering with OMSI, Illahee Society, City Repair, TrackersEarth, 8Shields. 

In my 30's I've been working with,, personal mentoring from my broken-superhero husband Ernie (international-level maritime, firefighting, HazMat, and command experience) and his equally-impressive father Captain Ron. 
And I've been diving into the high-dry-semi-arid hardscrabble conditions of the Okanogan Highlands, and meeting incredibly generous and resilient neighbors, through hands-on rural skills training as a volunteer fire fighter and part-time substitute farmer. 

What I learned "just doing my job" for these regional, national, and international leaders include many things that many small organizations struggle and fail for lack of knowing.

So I'm planting my feet in the Okanogan Highlands, continuing to collaborate with my clan and tribe across North America and the world.  And I'm laying the groundwork for healthy boundaries around my time and talents, to protect my ability to thrive while giving my highest and best service. Following my calling, tending the garden(s) that are mine to tend, celebrating others' gifts to connect where I am weak, as part of the web of stewardship that guards my world.

Done with DIY / Ready to Do It Together (DIT).

We have never been interested in camping on our old skills, or competing with our direct students.  Here's some examples of what "leveling up" means for our professional role:

Expert support for up-and-coming natural builders and DIYers:
Anyone can teach their own mud-stomping workshops.  Of course, not everyone can do a good job, or teach safe and effective methods for structural, fire, etc.  Self-taught builders make a LOT of mistakes, and the permaculture and natural building world is riddled with people who took one or two week-long workshops and are completely unaware that they are posturing as "experts" alongside tradespeople who did 3- to 7-year apprenticeships in skills that have 3000 to 10,000 years of best practices and preventable mistakes already known.
  So natural building workshop hosts: Increase the value and charge more for the workshop regardless of your own personal skill or experience, by leveraging our expertise. Show one of our videos at the beginning, and then hire us for 1 hour at the end to do some Q&A  / "expert review" of the project you've started together.  We can now Skype from home, you won't even need to pay travel time if you can get good video of the on-site project and bring your class to a Skype-ready location for the final Q&A.  Failing that, speakerphone works.

If your project involves drainage, foundations, timber framing, masonry... really, anything that human beings have been doing since before recorded history ... consider bringing in a local expert or master craftsman, or hiring a journeyman off their team, to give a similar grace-note in their areas of expertise.

Teams that want mentoring and are willing to put in time in advance, like sending a vanload of volunteers to help with my on-site projects, may get chunks of my time at very reasonable rates.

Teams that can get me a tax-deductible donation receipt for the charitable 'discount' can make a counter-offer based on the public benefits of their project.

No comments:

Post a Comment