Being Your Own Boss May Not Protect You from the Gender Pay Gap

According to Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock and Linda Laschever women tend to ask for 30% less money then men when negotiating salaries.   Should this tendency become a concern for women who work for themselves as consultants, freelancers, and small business owners?

I believe the answer is a strong Maybe.  Salary negotiation of women could easily translate to rate negotiation.   It is still women negotiating for a form of payment. I have not been able to find any statistics on this yet it rings true to me.  I know, this is far from proven yet it’s a good question for female business owners, contractors, freelancers, and consultants to ask themselves.

Here are ten questions to help determine if you are underpricing your services:

  1. Do you still offer the introductory price you used when you first started your business?
  2. Do you ever not bill for some hours because you thought you took too long to complete the work?
  3. Do you check competitors’ pricing on a regular basis i.e. quarterly or annually?
  4. Do you ask people who hire a competitor, where your pricing fell within all the proposals?
  5. Do you revise your pricing structure as your experience and knowledge increase?
  6. Do you use a software program or other method to keep track of your billable hours?
  7. Do you invoice regularly referring to your good record keeping to ensure you are billing for all hours worked?
  8. Do you have an agreement that stipulates when the price quoted can increase due to the client creating new requirements or too many rounds of changes from first proof/sample?
  9. Do you bill your customers for travel and material as separate line items from your rate?
  10. Do you network with competitors at conferences or trade events to find out about their pricing among other things?

Regardless of what you discover from answering the questions above, you may want to spend a few minutes on web sites designed for freelancers and consultants to research projects and pricing.  Two such sites are and  Both of these sites will let you do some research without paying to become a member.

A little research can either give you positive feedback or help motivate you to change.  Either way,  you are better off for knowing.

© Copyright 2011, Katie Donovan. All rights reserved. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited