Industry sector: Consumer services

Aerial installer: Pricing

It's very important to get your prices right. You'll need to make sure that your business makes enough profit, but you'll have to be reasonably competitive if you want to get work.

Start by thinking about how you're going to charge for the services you offer. For example, you might decide to charge:

  • a standard fixed price for certain jobs, for example basic satellite system installations
  • an inclusive installed price for certain products you supply, for example terrestrial television aerials (you might offer this on condition that there are no complications, for example very high installations)
  • by the hour or by the day for certain types of work you do, such as diagnostic work and multi-point network installations

Think about what you'll charge extra for and what you'll include in your prices. For example, will you make a call-out or travelling charge, or will you include this in your price? Decide on any discounts you'll offer - for example to pensioners.

Decide how much profit margin - your 'mark-up' - you'll add to the cost price of the equipment you supply. This goes for both equipment you install and any equipment you sell to retail customers.

If you install subsidised Sky satellite package deals, the basic price charged to the customer is fixed by Sky. They'll pay you for the work and equipment at their standard agreed rate. They may pay you extra amounts like commission and productivity bonuses too. If it's a non-standard installation, with complications like difficult access, then you might charge the customer extra on top of the basic price.

When you set your hourly rate and fixed price tariff, decide whether or not you'll charge different rates to business, trade and sub-contract customers. Many of these will expect you to quote highly competitive rates. Your hourly rate might vary according to the type of job too. Try and find out what your competitors charge for similar services.

Estimates and quotes

You'll often be asked to give an estimate or quote for a particular job. Be clear about whether you're committing to a firm price or just giving an idea of the approximate costs involved. Many customers will want to agree a price before you start a job and will expect you to stick to this.

Be aware that many potential customers will get quotes from several firms, so you need to be able to quote accurately and competitively. However, don't cut your own throat. Many customers value good workmanship, reliability and efficient service and are prepared to pay a realistic price for it. Above all, make sure that you don't end up working at a loss because your quote was too low!