ergo consulting tips May 05, 2022
In the more than 15 years that I’ve been an Ergonomics Consultant, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. Many of them were avoidable if only I’d been told what not to do and what the consequences of my actions were. From conversing with the members of my Accelerate program, I’ve noticed that some of these mistakes are often repeated again and again.

So in this post, I’m going to share the TWO big mistakes that many ergonomics service providers typically make when making recommendations, what can happen if you do this, as well as some tips so you can avoid making these mistakes. What I’m going to share below isn't rocket science, but it's something that you absolutely have to be putting in place. Let’s go!

Mistake #1 - Undervaluing Yourself

Many ergonomics service providers, especially new consultants, are pressured to lower their prices because they think they’ll attract more clients this way.

However, you’re missing an important point here: your rates reflect your value, skills, and expertise. If you assume that your prospects and clients will not invest in your services if you set it at a price that'll give you a healthy profit, then you need to shift your mindset on value.

As ergonomics service providers, we know that what we offer is a valuable service that can benefit both organizations and individuals alike. You’re an expert who knows how to solve their ergonomics concerns and help them achieve their goals. 

There’s a general belief that “you get what you pay for,” and underpricing your services may convey a message of low-quality work. So if you set your rates too low, what message do you think that would send to your prospects? Do you want to attract only low-paying clients?

Here's the thing: If you charge a low hourly rate to try to get your foot in the door, then you later realize that you’re handling a complex case that needs a great amount of due diligence, what do you think will happen? You’ll get burned out easily, and you’ll run the risk of rushing them over and giving them recommendations that simply do not address the root cause of the problem. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll not be getting paid for that office ergonomics assessment because you didn’t have enough time to successfully finish your job. That leads to that client spending more money to bring in another consultant who’ll likely charge way higher prices to solve that problem.

What to do differently?

Some important things to consider when setting up your rates include doing your due diligence to research the prices of your competitors in your area and recognizing the unique value that you bring to the table. Most importantly, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of time it takes to go through the internet to search for the right equipment, call the chair vendors, check the product to ensure that you're giving that client the right make and model, and write the reports. So don't forget to estimate the amount of time and money required to finish the job.

I can say with confidence that we must be charging good fees for the time and quality of services we provide, and I'm talking about at least $150 an hour at minimum for the amount of time it takes to do an office ergonomics assessment. This allows you ample time to do a really thorough job to ensure that you’re recommending the best product to solve their problem. Acing that ergonomics assessment and doing a job well done is what leaves a satisfied customer who'll invest in your services again and helps you get referrals. Working with clients who understand your worth will not only help your business grow, but you’ll love your work more rather than drown in it.

Mistake #2 - No Clarity on the Expectations

Many ergonomic service providers often find themselves spending more time on tasks than they actually quoted because they fail to ask the important questions early on. When you’re helping a client who may need a lot of guidance, you may find yourself answering phone calls or emails instead of serving other clients or taking care of other things in your business. If something like this happens, you’ll build a relationship where your client may always expect this from you. 

I’ve been in situations where I've been called in to do an assessment on just one job, and there was a miscommunication with the definition of what a job versus a task is. As ergonomics professionals, we know that a job can have multiple tasks. And assessing an entire job can be a lot more expensive because it takes a lot more of our time. 

You may feel hesitant to address this before signing the contract with your client, but this really has to be done in order to avoid wasting each other’s time, prevent conflict later on, and for you to have more work down the line with that client. It's not the end of the line either if you find out that you misquoted your job. If there’s a miscommunication in the contract, by all means, have a conversation with that client and get a new contract in there. Always see to it that the hours you spend working on your client's problem is time you’re getting compensated for.

What to do differently?

Don’t start a consulting contract without being clear on the client’s expectations. You need to clearly outline your deliverables right from the start. Miscommunication can lead to lost time, money, and resources, and can affect your relationship with your client in the long run. Don’t just assume that you’re on the same page with your clients, so make sure to ask more questions if there's any sort of uncertainty with the quote or the scope of work. 

It’s critical to be aware of these common mistakes so that you can take action and avoid them. If you’re just starting out doing office ergonomics, make sure to steer clear of making these mistakes. What about you? What would you say are the biggest mistakes that you’ve made when doing ergonomic assessments? I hope that you’ve found this post valuable. 

Discover untapped opportunities in your ergonomic consulting business by joining the Accelerate: The Business of Ergonomics Membership. The Accelerate program is the only program that gives you the tools, processes, and support to stand out from your competition and turn leads into paying customers. And if you have a passion for helping people and want to get started with Office Ergonomics Assessments, click here to learn the steps on how to ace it.


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