One of the most challenging parts of being a sex worker, especially in the beginning, is picking a rate for your time that is fair, smart and profitable for the services you offer. How do you even begin to come up with a number that encompasses the time, effort and emotional energy that give to clients?
I’ve found there isn’t a one-size-fits-all structure for rates. Rates can be such a mind game, especially if you’re new to sex work. Emotions can sometimes take over where equations should be, and it’s hard to know what value is warranted for your time and services. It’s a challenging balancing act – wanting to ensure your rates are low enough that you get enough work, but also not wanting to devalue yourself and your time.
Let’s chat about how to figure out a realistic amount to charge, plus how to create a unique experience to back up your rates.
It’s easy to spend hours scouring escort directories and get swept away in what others are charging. If you do this, I’m going to tell you right now: STOP. Stop doing this to yourself. Comparison fatigue is real, and you don’t need to put yourself through that.
Why do rates vary so widely across the industry? Our situations, lives, experiences, and business are incomparable. I want you to remember that you have NO IDEA what other sex workers’ lives are like. The girl whose profile you are drooling over because she is charging $1000 per hour might only be doing 2 bookings per year to fund a family weekend away. You never know what is going on in someone else’s life and why they have structured their business the way that they have. So, let’s quit the comparison game and get to the heart of YOUR situation.
Click here to download my FREE goals quickstart guide, so we can work through YOUR goals together on paper. If you’re going to hit your goals, you need to be crystal clear about what those goals are.
First, let’s calculate your expenses. I want you to write a list of everything you spend money on for your job. Examples of expenses include: incall rent, electricity, gas and hot water bills, internet and phone services, web hosting expenses, advertising fees, photoshoots, lingerie or costumes, supplies (towels, sheets, toiletries, condoms, lubricant, massage oil, baby wipes, toys), sexual health checks, hotels, flights and Ubers or taxis. These costs may vary month to month, but I want you to try to estimate how much you spend on each category. If you’re unsure, you might like to skim your bank statements to get a rough idea. Once you have an amount, you’re ready to move onto the next step.
How much money do you need to break even? (If you haven’t done the step above of calculating your expenses, go back and do it! It’s essential to this process, trust me). How much money do you need to make ON TOP of your work expenses to cover your personal expenses (e.g., your personal rent or mortgage, utility bills, car registration and servicing, school fees for your kids, groceries, toiletries, clothing, haircuts, etc). How much money would you LIKE to make in an ideal world? What’s your ultimate goal? What are you working towards? How would your life change if you met this goal? I know that looking at finances can be scary and confronting. I used to feel a pit of anxiety in my stomach every time I opened my banking app. But the only way you’re going to get past that fear is by being clear and honest with yourself. You need to avoid avoidance.
Next, you need to consider how many hours you can dedicate to sex work. Be realistic and consider your other commitments (Do you have another job? Kids? Study? A partner? Volunteering?) Make sure you also take time for travel, getting ready, cleaning up and administrative tasks into account.
Be honest with yourself: do you think is this something you can achieve? How will you achieve this goal? What will you need to change to make this happen? What will happen if you don’t meet this goal? Do you have a backup plan?
Crunch some numbers and make sure you have a plan no matter where you are in your business. The first place to start is by DEFINING that earning goal – whether it’s your survival amount or your ultimate dream.
This is where it becomes a delicate dance. You have to pick the ideal number that will generate enough interest to sustain your business, while also ensuring you are charging enough so that you feel valued, rather than resentful. And this number is different for everyone!
Pinpointing your pricing model isn’t easy, and you will likely end up adjusting your rates over time as your business and financial goals change. The biggest thing to remember is there’s no one standard approach to pricing. And this is why I encourage you to STEP AWAY from the escort directories (I’m serious – close that tab right now!) You need to come up with your own pricing structure that reflects YOUR needs, YOUR expenses and the experience that only YOU are offering. If you get tempted to set your rates based on everyone else, read this blog again and again. Remember: you have NO IDEA what other sex worker’s lives are like, why they have set their business up in a certain way, or how many bookings they do. Stop the comparison game and instead focus on YOU.
Okay, so we’ve got:
Time for some maths. Let’s say your earning goal is $2000 per month and you have 20 hours per month to dedicate to sex work. Of those 20 hours, you spend 5 hours doing administrative tasks such as updating your advertising and replying to client inquiries. This leaves you with 15 hours. For every 1-hour incall booking, you spend 45 minutes getting ready and 15 minutes cleaning up. So, every 1-hour booking takes you 2 hours to complete. 15 divided by 2 is 7.5. So, with your available time, you can complete 7 1-hour bookings per month. If we divide your earning goal of $2000 by 7, your hourly rate would be $285.
Let’s say your situation changes – you go back to university, you take up extra hours at your civilian job, you have a baby, etc. Now you only have 5 hours per month to dedicate to sex work. Of those, you spend 1 hour doing admin, leaving you with 4 hours. Every 1-hour booking still takes you 2 hours to complete, so with your available time, you can complete 2 1-hour bookings per month. $2000 divided by 2 leaves you with an hourly rate of $1000.
The difference between these examples is the reason you can’t compare yourself to others. Two sex workers with the SAME earning goal can have VERY different rates. This is why you need to structure your rates around YOUR expenses, needs and goals, rather than someone else’s.
Throughout my time in the industry, I have worked at all different rates. I have done bookings for $50 and bookings for thousands and thousands of dollars. I really have done it all. I’ve spent a lot of time working out what works best for ME and what earns me the most money. I think it’s absolutely fine to play around with your rates until you find what works.
It’s also important to change your rates over time as you gain experience and knowledge. If your hourly rate is $400 and you DREAD going to a booking because it doesn’t seem worth it for $400 then it’s time to raise those rates! Sit down with your numbers and work it out. What amount would inspire you to jump out of bed for a last-minute booking across town? How can you make that amount work with your earning goal and available time?
So, even if you have the available time, why would you do 7 1-hour bookings for $285 each if you could just do 2 for $1000? Price is NOT the sole factor in sales. You need to be able to drive clients to your profile and draw them in so that they are enamoured with the idea of booking you before they can even figure out if the price is right for them. While many sex workers obsess over the full moon or mercury retrograde or school holidays or the football or the election impacting how busy work is, there is always that one escort who has bookings coming out of her ears. WHY? She has created a brand and experience that clients can only get from HER.
Your profile needs to be drawing your ideal client in. You need to create a brand that endears clients to YOU specifically, rather than just scrolling endlessly through escort directory upon directory. You need to figure out what approach you can offer that’s unique from others in the industry. When you find that unique approach and build on it, you’ll find that the pricing won’t drive your sales anymore.
I know pricing, and money in general, is a hot topic that can be intimidating and frustrating. But your time is precious, and I want you to make the most of it so that you can reach your goals. You might not hit the perfect rates on the head right away, but you’ll review and adjust as needed. Only you can decide what your time and efforts are worth, and that’s a pretty awesome position to be in.
If you’re ready to take the next step and start hitting your goals, click here to download my FREE goals quickstart guide.
Photo by Unsplash.
Disclaimer: I cannot, and do not, speak for all sex workers. I speak from my experience of working in a legal brothel and as an independent escort in Australia. Where possible I try to be inclusive. However, I can’t relay every experience of sex work – especially if I haven’t experienced it myself.
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