One of the most frequent questions I get as a witch and reader is how to determine what to charge. I see hundreds of readers or witches great under charge their worth for fear of not getting sales or that they are overcharging. Chances are, you’re not and I’m here to tell you why.
First off, let’s conquer this idea that witches and/or readers shouldn’t charge. It’s absolute bullshit to say that these services should be available for free. I mean literally the most absolute bullshit in the highest scale imaginable and when I’m told this I literally stare at the speaker as if they were on fire. Because in my mind I’m probably lighting them on fire. By saying that readers and witches should offer their services for free, you’re doing five things:
- Pushing your opinions, ideas, and values on others and in many cases using your religious, spiritual, or personal morality and ideology to silence others and force them to conform to your beliefs on this topic. That’s a horribly shitty thing to do and it needs to stop. Now.
- You’re saying that their services and skills are worth nothing. Please go out in the street and flag down the nearest electrician. Now tell them they should spend hours rewiring your house and, while you do that, tell them that their skills aren’t worth shit and they’re overcharging. Tell them there’s dozens of other electricians who charge less, many amateurs who aren’t trained or licensed who would do it for free, and clearly they should just not charge you. Then go to your therapist or doctor and tell them the same thing. When you say that there’s lots of readers out there and thus someone’s overcharging and/or they aren’t worth what they’re charging and/or they should just give these services away, that’s exactly what you’re saying. You’re saying that religious and spiritual services are not worth paying for. You’re saying that they, as people, are doing something worthless. You’re demeaning them, their practice, and their faith. Essentially, you’re being a piece of shit.
- You are ignoring the INCREDIBLY long history of these services being paid for. Village healers were paid for their services in kind or with money. History guarantees this. Why do I say this? Because there are just as many tombs of valued priestesses and healers as there are rulers and warriors. I can literally walk into a museum and see the crown of a priestess next to the crown of a fucking king. You can bet your ass those priestesses didn’t go dig up the gold and smith it themselves. So when you say shit like “no TRUE [whatever] would charge for this” you are LITERALLY shitting on every single one of those practitioners before you that makes up those traditions you so viciously defend and adapt to your practice.
- You are saying that working in an religious or spiritual field is a waste of time and not a profession. You’re saying religious and spiritual organizations shouldn’t make money. And that is clearly false as shit. I present to you: the Christian Church, one of the richest organization in the history of the world. You’re welcome to have this belief but you don’t get to force it on others (see #1).
- “It doesn’t work!” I can’t prove that faith works either but tithing is still a thing. And if you’re using THAT as your fucking basis of an argument, then you’re once again committing #1 and forcing your beliefs on others. And for fuck’s sake, so long as the client’s fucking happy, who gives a flying fucking shit? Additionally, it’s basic fucking science that there’s no way to prove something doesn’t exist. Just saying, the possibility is absolutely out there.
Now that we’ve covered that, moving onto the business side of things.
I recently posted this comment “if you’re going to run a business then run a damn business.” I completely stand by that. And the tips I included are really simple:
“Get a business spreadsheet for prices, put in the materials, how much time you spend doing the thing, how much base pay you want, taxes if applicable, shipping if applicable, what kind of profit margin (if any) you have and presto! Instant price. Pop that into the “how much box” and call it a damn day.”
This is absolutely true and has saved me so much trouble and heartache. If left to my own devices not only would have (and have I) undercharged my services, but I still struggle with this today. (Actually, I struggled with it less than an hour ago before I said fuck it, typed in what the numbers said, saved it all, and starting writing this.)
Why do this? It takes out the emotion of it. It’s entirely and completely clinical and that makes it far easier to sell the item and to actually charge what the item is worth and make money off of it.
“Be honest with how long it takes you and round up, not down. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s for tarot readings or if it’s for selling homemade candles, break that shit down and work it out.”
This is sometimes the hardest thing but absolutely, positively the MOST IMPORTANT. You need to be charging an hourly wage, especially if you need to make a certain amount each month or this is your only occupation. For example, I charge $25 an hour for my services as of this writing. Right off the fucking top. That price was determined by how my bills and expenses and what kind of savings I wanted to make. To be honest, it’s not enough to do what I want to do (like actually repair my car) and I’m thinking of raising my hourly wage to reflect that. Am I worth that? Fuck yes. For what I do and in my area I can charge $75 a hour or more. I don’t because I like my services to be accessible to all. And yes, I do mean all. Charging what I’m worth allows me to donate to charities and organizations. I offer free readings to inmates and spells for the homeless upon request. I have the time and materials to do that because I charge what I’m worth. It means I’m less stressed and can cater to my clients properly. Plus I can pay my bills which is really kind of cool.
“You shouldn’t have to feel guilty asking your worth.”
This is arguably the hardest part of it all. We have been told time and again that our services and this field isn’t real, is a waste of time, and we should feel obligated to not sully out gifts this way (please tell Beyonce she shouldn’t charge for her shows or albums because she’s a gifted singer. Go on and tell her. I fucking dare you.) You are worth something. Your time is worth something. So charge for it. You have literally no idea how happy I was once I said “fuck it” and stop letting others determine what I was worth (which, BTW, is about what a living wage should be). Is that possible for everyone? Fuck no, but that’s literally the debate on minimum wage. I wish this was possible for everyone. I really fucking do.
So that’s all well and good but HOW???
Spreadsheets. I downloaded and looked at dozens of hourly wage and pricing spreadsheets, combined them at will to best suit my needs, and moved the fuck on. I plug in the numbers and go. Don’t know how to use spreadsheet? Tutorials are your friend. Look at the help page and just copy and paste the formula at will. Save and make numerous copies of both untouched and touched spreadsheets in case you fuck up royally. Cry a bit in frustration when something doesn’t work and ask for help as needed.
Here’s some areas to consider for your spreadsheets:
- Materials. Put in each material you used, down to the tiniest screw. Determine how much that screw cost you. If you bought 50 screws for $4.00 that means each screw costs you 8 cents. You divide the the price (include that tax!) into the number of items and call it a day. 4/50. Use a calculator, the spreadsheet formula, or just type the math into Google.
- Overhead. This is what you spent each month. You can also pro-rate things. For example, I recently bought a sewing machine for the shop. I include that in my overhead. My rent, bills, food, gas, any tools I use (screwdrivers, for example), fees I pay out for services, business cards/advertising, and so on all get plugged in. Then that number gets divided by the number of items I produce each year. Here, I’ll perfectly admit I’ll fiddle with the numbers. I divide it by the number of items I could produce a year. This is primarily because I make things to order. I have a set number I use as a base and I alter it if I go over the set number in sales. (Example, my set number of items sold might be 300 but if I sell 500 readings, I’ll use 500 instead which will reduce my overhead cost.) This does mean I am potentially, yet again, undercharging for my items.
- Labor. Break it down. How long does the reading take you? Divide that by your hourly wage and call it a day. Making a candle? How long to buy the ingredients? To melt the beeswax? If you’re going to do a batch, divide those numbers by the amount of items you produce. And the spreadsheet do all the math so long as you put he right numbers in.
- Adding all the above will give you the price of the item that you should be charging. However, there’s one additional item to consider. Profit margin. Some folks use this, others don’t. Usually it’s a percentage. This is going to be absolutely pure profit, extra money for the item. Use this wisely and at your own desire.
No, but seriously, HOW????
How do I decide how much something is worth? I do it. I make whatever item I’m going to make and time myself on how long it took me. Then I multiple that by however much I want to make hourly and call it a day.
Look and talk to fellow practitioners of the same craft of you in the area. How much are they charging? You should match them relatively in price. Don’t go by online prices. Go out on the street and get the prices there. Why do I say this? Because there are so many people charging less than they should online and it’s a fucking tragedy. If you’re an artist, go up to street artists and ask how much they’re charging. If you’re a reader, ask other tarot readers how much per a reading and what that reading entails.
Make your product different and unique. This can be really hard if it’s the same kind of service. Flaunt your experiences, skill, and personality. Offer fantastic customer service or free gifts. (I like my gifts to be a surprise because it’s really cool and I love it when I discover I got something extra whereas when I’m told I’ll get a free gift I expect it and eventually start to think of that item included in the price of whatever I’m buying. Having a cohesive aesthetic and running with it helps. Most of all, make your products unique and then see what clients say about your prices. Do they think they’re getting a great deal? Then you can probably charge more. Have they not mentioned the price at all? Then you’re probably in a good place price-wise. If they mention that you’re overcharging or it’s price-y (and it’s consistent on a single item for example), check around for what others are charging, change your target audience, and/or look for ways to reduce cost.
This is a lot of math.
Yes it is. But you can do it. I swear to all your gods and mine that if I can do it, you can too.
Why do I say this? Why am I so certain? I am absolutely math stupid. My six year old brother can add and subtract better than me. I am absolutely fucking serious. It’s a game by brothers play to throw numbers at me. I don’t get angry, I literally stop. I stop functioning because I simply do not get numbers. I stop while my brain tries to figure out numbers, even simple addition like thirteen plus five. (It’s called Dyscalculia and it’s occasionally the bane of my existence. I wish to everything that is holy I was diagnosed as a kid because maybe I wouldn’t have ended each homework session crying into my multiplication tables. )
ANYWAY, remember that intelligence doesn’t negate learning or cognitive disabilities so you can absolutely fucking do this.
This is a lot of business jargon.
Look, my hatred of math made me avoid all math and, in turn, business. As soon as I could, I dumped math off my to-do list forever and never looked back until recently. What I know of business I learned from reading books and articles, asking questions, trying stuff and seeing if it worked or failed. I started my business up because I was broke as fuck and with my chronic sleeping disorder I can’t hold down a nine-to-five (At all. I fell asleep on a TV once. I’m not kidding.) I learned so much and I love my business. Love it now. It makes me want to actively seek out business stuff. I don’t understand most of it without breaking it down (and calling friends who get numbers to ask them to explain things to me) but it’s a journey I don’t regret in the slightest. I might not have a head for business but I have a love of my business so I will do what I have to do to make it thrive.
Final words are this: Just because we work in a spiritual and religious field doesn’t mean we can’t make a living off of it and still remain accurate, authentic, and true to ourselves and our beliefs. Best of luck everyone!