What Should I Charge (Consultant)?

I’m going to be doing some sub-contract work, and I would like opinions as to what I might charge. I’m in a pretty good position, because I know what they charge their customers for services like mine and I have pretty unique skills.

What I’m looking for is opinions on what percentage of what they charge I might charge them. I think as a standard in this industry, an employee of the company would get approximately 1/3 of total billings as salary–does that make sense? Plus, of course, they get benefits and the computer equipment, which I would be using my own.

The general field is technology, but the product is unique. I’m not looking to sucker anybody, but I want to make sure I don’t low-ball myself. This is not my primary source of income, and I don’t particularly enjoy it.

Kind of being intentionally vague, so let me know if you need more information. Thanks, beloved Dopers.

Starting with a disclaimer that I’ve never been a consultant or hired one, here’s my thinking.

You know what they would charge the customer for your services - point in your favor. The question I’d have is how unique is your talent - that is, if you ask for a higher end amount, could they just find someone else, or would they negotiate in order to secure your services? If you’re particularly qualified and/or certified, that’s definitely worth something.

Another thing to consider, and I learned this from my husband when he was in business for himself - don’t undervalue yourself. Businesses expect to pay for professional services. They want a good value, but they might be suspicious of a low-ball figure, thinking if you were any good, you could command more money.

Hope I said that so it makes sense. And I hope you can glean something of value from it. Good luck.

Thanks, FairyChatMom . I am in a pretty good situation because they know my work and I know they value it. It is a unique skill and they would basically have to train someone else, who would also be coming in with just the right kind of experience…and I know they don’t have enough work to fill a full-time job.

Thanks for the “undervalue” note…I know this happens. Luckily, I’m not trying to make a business of this and it’s not my source of living. But like I said, I don’t want to sell myself short…i.e., I deserve what the market will bear.

I’m guessing I should ask for at least 1/3 of what they bill, but probably an overhead charge as well for my equipment and having to have my own insurance, etc. If anyone’s made a science of this, I’d really appreciate hearing about it.

Management consultant at a top firm for almost 13 years, and I have no idea what you are setting as your range.

All this talk about percentages and relatives amounts IS important, but so is the absolutute amount. Body shop tech houses (I assume you know what I am referring to) charge $75 - 125 per hour for their programmers. Top-tier IT shops charge $400+ for Partner time when it comes to large jobs with teams of dozens and that Partner is managing them.

I would need more to go on, but if you have a scarce skill and you are subbing yourself out to a firm that is marketing you as a differentiating resource (i.e., the client needs you), then $200 at least.

But again, my experience is with Fortune 500 companies and a bunch of MBA’s…