A trainer's expertise, professional record, and recommendations — these factors can be equally important for an organization choosing a professional for their employee training.
However, there is one factor that can outweigh them all. It's the price a trainer asks for their services.
If a company cannot afford training or, on the contrary, finds it suspiciously cheap, other factors become insignificant. That's why many trainers are concerned with determining the right fee to ask from their potential clients.
Getting the starting number
There is a huge number of variables that go into corporate workshop pricing: topic and industry you are working with, your experience and reputation, type of client and their training need, uniqueness of learning content and the level of customization needed, demand for the topic, and finally, your willingness to ask the price you want to.
The task is complicated by the lack of information about how others charge for their private services. Unlike public workshops' prices which can be found on the net, corporate solutions are usually not listed anywhere and it's not that easy to just refer to your competitors.
So what number to use as a starting point?
Do preparation work first. Before you start doing calculations, you need to lay down some groundwork: setting an annual budget and creating a training schedule. If providing training services is what you do for a living, we recommend aligning any job you accept with these parameters.
Calculate the training costs for this particular client. That's your starting number which you can adjust to the specifics of the job you received. Find the step-by-step plan for calculating the workshop cost in our guide to workshop pricing where we break down all the general aspects from time cost to understanding and increasing the perceived value.
Analyze your situation. To put it simply, your corporate training pricing should go in direct proportion with the time, effort, and financial resources you have to invest into this job.
However, there are situations when you can settle for a lower sum in exchange for other benefits.
In this article, we have listed different circumstances and explained how they can affect your rates. Try making a list of those points which apply to your case, then looking at the difficulties you might face and the advantages you might gain.
Once it's done, decide how much you should add to the cost of your program and what sum will make you feel that the job is actually worth it.
Understanding training's specifics
The first question to ask yourself is what kind of workshop you need to conduct. Not only will a detailed analysis help you better understand the price, but you will also be able to use these conclusions when pitching your services.
How much do you need to customize the training material?
Off-the-shelf training. If it's enough to just run a workshop you have already presented publicly, then you can name about the same price for each employee you ask for one ticket for your public workshops. You can even add a group discount since you don't have to worry about filling in the seats and you have more clarity in general about an upcoming event.
Some customization is needed. Clients might ask you to adapt your material to their circumstances so that employees can better relate to learning. It calls for a higher price since you have to spend time researching their needs, thinking of a way to reflect them in the course, and making changes to the training content.
Fully customized training. Custom solutions are expected to be expensive so there is no need to be hesitant about it. First of all, it takes up much of the time and effort you would have otherwise spent on other activities. And second, if a client relies on your expertise that much, they are probably confident in your abilities and prepared the corresponding training budget.
What's the format?
Before the pandemic hit, face-to-face training was an undoubtful choice for the majority of organizations and trainers. But in the post-COVID world, online learning and blended learning are now on equal footing with on-site classes so any of the three can be requested.
You may have one format you are especially comfortable with or the one where your course can show its full potential. If the request is different from your own preferences, the fee can change as well.
And there are factors you need to take into consideration in any case.
Classroom training. Include in your price travel expenses needed to get to the training location. If you have to travel somewhere far away, add the cost of your accommodation too.
Online training. Software subscriptions are not cheap so it makes sense to include them in your training rates.
Blended learning can include the expenses listed in both formats above. You need to decide which of them will be reflected in your fee.
What's the training method?
Some organizations will leave the choice of a training method at your discretion. Others will request a particular technique right from the start.
If it's something you have little or no experience with and you still accept the job, there are two opposite paths for you to take.
Charging more for higher difficulty. You will need some time to familiarize yourself with the new method so you can charge more for agreeing to this condition.
Charging less for the new experience. It's a great chance to broaden your specialization and offer a wider range of services later. You can go for a moderate price in exchange for a new experience, given that your employer understands you are trying something new for you.
Consider both options with your future in mind. If you think that you can employ the new skill in your other projects, the latter path is a more logical option. But if you don't see yourself using it ever again, then the first path is a better choice.
Who is your target audience?
Are you going to work with top management? HR department? Regular workers?
Leaders and top managers. Working with leaders usually requires a deeper level of preparation.
Regular employees might come in greater numbers which raise the level of difficulty. It's harder to engage many people at once and, if you need to track completion rates, it will take a lot of time.
Find out who you will have to work with and think how difficult it can be for you.
How experienced is your audience?
Beginners. When teaching the basics, you work with well-known topics and can predict most of the questions that might come up, which means that no special preparation is needed. In addition, the competition can be rather intense among those working with beginners. Therefore, your client would expect a reasonable price for this kind of training.
Experts. Running a course for a group of professionals with a bunch of tricky questions in stock will take more resources to prepare. By entrusting you to train experts, an employer recognizes you as an expert yourself. And the higher level of expertise is needed, the scarcer the market becomes. In this situation, you can charge whatever you see fit because gaining all this knowledge is worth a lot and it should be valued properly.
Number of training sessions
The number of training sessions, their duration, and frequency matter too.
The longer - the higher. In general, it goes like this: the more sessions you need to run and the longer each training session is, the higher the price will go.
Moderate price for long-term commitments. However, you can look at it from a different perspective. If you commit yourself to a long-term job, you don't have to worry about your financial situation for a while. You can compromise on some costs in exchange for the stability you get.
Level of participant engagement
Participant engagement in training directly correlates with its effectiveness and the workshop fee a client is ready to pay.
Just a presentation. A presentation in PowerPoint with you doing all the talking is not something that would be worth much in the eyes of your potential clients. Especially, when they might as well purchase an online self-study course with similar effect.
Active discussion. A workshop with a high level of attendee engagement is not what you can get from a self-study course. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and communication skills from a facilitator: from breaking the ice at the start to maintaining students' interest all the way through the training course and motivating them to employ learning experience into practice. Here you can feel confident in pricing because your potential clients will be more willing to pay for the services of such quality.
Level of facilitator involvement
The next aspect to pay attention to is the level of engagement expected from you. Services including a follow-up (e.g. a one-on-one coaching session with each team member) are more expensive than simply presenting the course materials.
Without a follow-up. When your responsibility ends with the workshop itself and you just walk away, leaving the employer to figure out for themselves how effective your training was, they won't see any need to pay much for your services, because they will have to do half of the work for you.
With a follow-up. Offering some form of help in applying the things students learned to their job and helping measure the training effect will become an additional cost and can increase the risk of being turned down because of this. But at the same time, it will bring more value to those who decide to book such a workshop and will turn this job into a success story you can use later to promote your services.
Who will handle organizational tasks?
While the number of changes to the training content can become a pivotal point in determining your fee, administrative work such as registering attendees, collecting feedback from them, and issuing certificates play an important role too.
A client will handle administrative work. If an employer takes most of these tasks upon themselves, the problem is solved. There is no need to think about how to reflect this part in your fee.
You will handle administrative work. In this case, you will need to consider two aspects: the time you spend on this work and subscription fees if you use any paid software for it. If included in pricing, they affect it significantly.
To lower the impact of organizational tasks on your fees and to make your services affordable for a wide range of clients, we recommend using a training management system like Workshop Butler. It deals with the organizational routine allowing you to exclude the long hours of manually handling these tasks from your price.
Understanding your client
All companies are different in size, activities, and problems they want to solve with your training. Sometimes, you can decide on the price depending on the client you will be working with.
Small companies vs large enterprises
You might have the same rate for anyone or change it based on the scale of operations and the amount of work that needs to be done.
Large enterprise means multiple employees, tons of data to research for preparation, and a whole set of pain points originating from different sources. Developing an effective program in these conditions is a real challenge so organizational leaders are prepared for significant expenses.
Small or medium-sized businesses don't have impressive training budgets. They wouldn't be able to afford an expensive corporate workshop. But in exchange, identifying the problem and implementing a solution is easier in a small group, than in a huge corporation. You can finish your work quickly and move to other contracts.
Commercial vs non-profit
Professional development is equally necessary for both non-profit organizations and businesses, but the approach to pricing your services for them can differ.
Commercial organizations can become your main source of income where prices are higher.
Non-profit organizations are usually not looking for expensive training. Working with them is not profitable but can contribute to experience and reputation. That's why many training companies offer discounts to them.
What do you need to achieve?
The more visible and measurable the results of your training are to an employer, the easier it will be for you to justify a higher price.
Increasing revenue (e.g. sales team training). The effect of such training becomes clear relatively fast and can be measured. Your client understands what exactly they pay for, even if it's a high price.
Improving customer service/decreasing high employee turnover don't generate profit directly, but affect it quite significantly. Its value is easy to prove too.
Developing soft skills/team building can help with all the previously mentioned goals if done properly. But the changes from such a program will be kicking in gradually and won't be that obvious. Many employers would be unwilling to pay large sums for something they won't be able to see straight away unless you have means to prove it. For example, case studies or testimonials collected from your past attendees and their employers can become a very convincing tool for your potential clients.
Who initiated the contact and why?
Was it you who reached out to a client or the other way around? Did they find you via advertising or come through a recommendation? Is it a returning client or a new one? This information might help you to decide upon the price too.
A facilitator contacts a client. If you decided to be proactive and offered your services, then it hardly makes sense to ask too much.
A client contacts a facilitator. If your schedule is packed or you're not sure whether you should take this gig, you can shoot for a higher price. If they agree, then you've got yourself a sweet deal. If they walk away, well, they probably didn't need you that badly.
A client coming through a recommendation already knows how good you are so you can try charging more.
For a long-term client, you can compromise on some costs for the sake of maintaining a good relationship and increasing your chances to be invited again.
Understanding your purpose
Not all jobs are done to make a profit. Some of them help you gain experience or increase your presence on the market.
Gaining reputation or experience. If you are just starting with your training business or you are trying to establish yourself as an expert in a certain niche, you will need a lot of practice. Potential employers might be reluctant to pay much to a new player. And you will get more chances to prove your value by getting as many jobs as possible, even if they are for a lower price at the start.
Earning money. Going cheap should not be an option for experienced trainers who fully realize their potential and the benefits they can bring to their customers. Many trainers say that their services started to sell better after they had decided to increase their rates. Consider raising your training rates once you gain a certain level of publicity and feel confident in your abilities to help organizations with their troubles.
Each corporate training job is unique. Even if you have a fixed rate for such services, most probably, you will have to make corrections to it to adjust to the client's request.
We recommend thinking about corporate workshop pricing with 3 main aspects in mind:
- Type of training you need to deliver: you need to clearly assess the amount of work that needs to be done not to underprice your services
- Type of client you work with: it's essential to understand your client to find the right number both sides can agree with.
- Your purpose in taking this job: seeing the benefits you can get from each job allows you to utilize them to the fullest and grow as a training professional rather than just finishing a job and forgetting about it.