Labor Prices Fluctuate Like Gold

Supply and Demand_Made by Fight.jpg
Agencies are not exactly seen as paragons of innovation, but there are some smart people working to change that. Portland agency Fight, for instance, has introduced variable pricing, a simple concept based on supply (of their time) and demand (for their time).
How Fight varies their rate is explained in detail on their site, but the general idea is if the rate drops below their standard $200/hour, it means the agency isn’t as busy as it could be.
Personally, I don’t like to focus too much on hourly rates. I prefer to focus on the overall project cost. But that runs counter to Fight’s thinking.

We are very far from the only company to consider varying their rates with how busy they are, but while many companies will raise and lower their rates relative to the amount of work that they have going on at the time, they tend to do this at the time that they’re putting together pricing for a job. This seems like exactly the wrong time to do this. Instead of creating an incentive for new prospects to engage with you, you end up rewarding ones that happen to come around at just the right time and not others who don’t.

Fight is arguing for its rate, and I admire that. I also fight to get paid a fair wage for the work I do. But for me everything’s variable. That’s why I practice the art of negotiation, as do the buyers of my services.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.