Is It Okay To Discuss (in SSG) What We Charge?

In other scoping-related forums I've participated in in the past, it was taboo to discuss rates. I was never sure why, but worries of price-fixing and such was whispered. What is your understanding of "price fixing" and how can we avoid it in helping our fellow scopists, et al. charge fairly for their services? We have always felt comfortable discussing rates in the SSG group and our survey last fall showed a wide range of prices for various services.

When I was first starting to collect prices so I could produce pricing tables to help fellow entrepreneurs, I spent a week in Washington, D.C. visiting and talking with people at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Federal Trade Commission. I wanted to know how much I could share in my printed books and online. I was told that as long as my company and I don't actively tell others what price to charge, there is NO LEGAL restriction on sharing prices. I was further told that I could share any of my prices with anyone without worry. That advertising, service price lists, and catalogs show prices all the time. I also discussed sharing pricing information on line. Again, I was told that as long as I don't say "You should charge this ...." then there was no problem.

So when entrepreneurs share what they charge on forums, they are NOT IN VIOLATION OF ANY LAW. They are simply telling others that this is what they charge. The bottom line is that you should not worry about sharing your rates on any forum. It's usually the forum moderators who don't understand this freedom of speech issue that causes them to err on the overly restrictive. When I tell you that I charge $150 an hour for my consulting services, I am not breaking any law. Nor am I telling you that this is what you should charge. So worry no more. You are free to express your rates as you wish.

Best regards,

Robert Brenner

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