How much should you charge
as a consultant?

When it comes to being a consultant, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is determining how much you should charge for your services. It’s a question that can be difficult to answer, especially if you’re just starting out or you’re not sure what the market rates are in your industry. But getting your consulting fees right is critical to your success as a consultant. Charge too much, and you’ll struggle to find clients. Charge too little, and you’ll end up working long hours for little pay. 


So, how do you determine your consulting rates? There are a number of factors to consider, including your experience, your skills and expertise, your niche, and the market rates in your industry. You’ll also need to think about your business expenses, such as overhead costs and taxes, and factor those into your pricing strategy. 


But pricing your services isn’t just about crunching numbers. It’s also about understanding the value you bring to your clients. What problems are you solving for them? How are you helping them achieve their goals? The more value you can provide, the more you can charge for your services. 


We’ll take a closer look at the factors that go into determining your consulting rates, and we’ll provide some tips and strategies for pricing your services effectively. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of what you should be charging as a consultant, and you’ll be well on your way to building a successful consulting business.

What is a consultant

A consultant is a professional who provides expert advice to individuals or organizations in a specific area of expertise. Consultants are typically hired to help clients solve problems, improve performance, or achieve specific goals. They can work in a variety of industries, including business, finance, healthcare, marketing, and technology, among others. 


Consultants are often brought in when an organization lacks the internal expertise or resources to solve a particular problem. They can provide an outside perspective, offer fresh ideas, and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. 


Consultants can work independently or as part of a consulting firm. They typically work on a project basis, and their services may include conducting research, analyzing data, developing strategies, and implementing solutions. 


One of the key benefits of working with a consultant is that they bring a level of objectivity to the table. They are not tied to the internal politics or biases of the organization, and they can provide an unbiased assessment of the situation. This can be particularly valuable when an organization is facing a difficult challenge or needs to make a major change.

For more information, read our blog where we explain exactly what a consultant does 


What to keep in mind when calculating your hourly rate

Determining your consultant hourly rate can be a challenging task, but it’s a critical part of building a successful consulting business. Your hourly rate will determine how much you make per hour, and it will impact your ability to attract clients, cover your expenses, and make a profit. Here are some basic steps to keep in mind when you calculate your hourly rate.


1. Determine your annual income goal: Start by figuring out how much you want to earn each year as a consultant. This should be a realistic goal based on your experience, skills, and the market rates in your industry.


2. Calculate your business expenses: Consider all the expenses associated with running your consulting business, including overhead costs, taxes, insurance, and any other expenses you’ll need to cover.


3. Estimate your billable hours: Think about how many hours you’ll be able to bill each week. Keep in mind that you’ll need to factor in time for administrative tasks, marketing, and other non-billable activities.


4. Determine your hourly rate: Divide your annual income goal by the number of billable hours you expect to work each year. Then, add your business expenses to this amount, and divide by the number of billable hours. This will give you your consultant hourly rate.


5. Adjust your rate as needed: If your rate seems too high or too low, you may need to adjust it based on market rates, your experience level, and other factors. Keep in mind that it’s better to charge a fair rate that reflects the value you provide, rather than undercutting your competition or charging too much.


Calculating your consultant hourly rate can be a complex process, but it’s an essential step in building a successful consulting business. By taking the time to consider your income goals, business expenses, and billable hours, you can set a rate that reflects your value and helps you achieve your goals.

Pricing models

Choosing the right pricing model is critical for consultants to ensure that they are compensated fairly for their services and that their clients are satisfied with the results. By understanding the different pricing models available, you can choose the one that best suits their needs and the needs of their clients.

Multiply by three

One approach that some consultants use is to calculate their salary by multiplying their hourly rate by three. The idea behind this approach is that the consultant’s hourly rate should cover not only their direct costs, such as their salary and benefits, but also their indirect costs, such as overhead expenses, marketing, and business development. By multiplying their hourly rate by three, consultants can ensure that they are covering all their costs and generating a profit.

If you were an employee before this, you can use that salary
from last year. If not, Find an average salary for someone who has similar
skills as you, for example you can use Glassdoor or Indeed. To calculate the
hourly rate, you divide the annual salary you use by the number of working
weeks you have in the year, we use 50 working weeks as an example. Then you
divide that again by the number of working hours per week, for example 40. Now
you have calculated the hourly rate. To compensate for your extra costs, you
multiply this amount by 3 and you have the amount you should charge. 

For Example: Germany – The annual salary of a consultant in Germany is €77,820.00.

€77,820.00/50 = €1.556,00/40 = €38,91 per hour

€38,91 x 3 = €116,73 per hour for your recommended hourly rate.

Annual salary target

Setting a salary target is another good and simple way to determine the hourly rate. You determine a certain amount that you want to earn per year. For example, if you want to make 77,000 and you want to work about 20 hours a week and have 50 work weeks, you would do the math by dividing the work hours times the work weeks. Then divide the desired annual salary by the number of planned hours.

For Example: You want to earn €77,000 annually with 50 working weeks and 20 working hours per week.

50 x 20 = 1000 hours per year

€77.000/1000 = €77,-  per hour for your recommended hourly rate.

We have listed the annual salary of consultants in europe below

Management consultant salary per year

By project

Consultants often calculate their salary based on the projects they work on. This is because consulting work is often project-based. If you do similar projects for a longer period of time, then you become faster and faster and you use fewer hours, and if you charge in hours, you make less and less turnover, which is why it is useful to charge in projects

You will estimate the number of hours you need to work on a project. This will depend on the scope of the project, the deliverables required, and any other factors that may impact the project timeline.  Frome here, you will be able to estimate your total earnings for the project. You may also factor in any additional expenses, such as travel or equipment costs, that you will need to cover while working on the project.

To calculate the project fee we recommended this formula:

[expected working hours + 20% possible additional costs] x hourly rate = project charge

For example: In this example we use a project that contains 20 working hours and a hourly rate of €55.

20 + 20% = 24 hours

24 x €55 = €1320 is what you charge for the project.


In conclusion, determining how much to charge as a consultant can be a daunting task, but it’s crucial to get it right. Your fees should reflect your experience, expertise, and the value you bring to your clients. It’s important to research the market and understand your worth before setting your prices. Be transparent with your clients about your fees and the services you provide. Remember, don’t undervalue your services, but also don’t overprice them. Aim to provide high-quality work that exceeds your clients’ expectations. With the right approach, you can set fair prices that benefit both you and your clients and build a successful consulting business.

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