My dad is addicted to American Pickers (History Channel) and it's a great show. But one of the biggest problems I have with it is how they value things. They say “I paid this much money for this ($50), and this is what I can get for it ($100), so they say profit equals $50." Where is the return on their investment? The gas spent to make their way to their pick, the cost of the van, the cost on maintenance of the van, staff, and most importantly, the cost of their own time?
Sometimes we devalue ourselves and forget that our time has value and should be accounted for. You have to remember that ROI has to include you and your time, not just the time for you to do the job, but the time it takes to do the estimate, the back end stuff that takes your time, answer the phone calls, making up the contracts – sometimes that takes hours but if you don’t bill for that time, how can you claim a profit?
It shouldn’t matter if you have other jobs to fill those billable hours or fill that time. Even in a bad economy, if you give your time away, others will devalue you too. Once you know your value, find clients willing to pay it. Those that aren’t willing to pay your worth, aren’t worthy of you.