I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are no extravagant schemes or methods for earning more money in executive protection.
In fact, it comes down to a single thing: Never cut your rates. As simple as this sounds, anyone who has been in the close protection business will know there always seem to be compelling reasons to reduce your rates. But when you do so, you create a landslide of difficulties barring access to increased future earnings.
Most of us have experienced the disappointment of purchasing an item or service at full price only to find the same item from the same provider days later for substantially less money. When this happens, it doesn’t take much to figure out that the seller was offering the item far above market value in the first place. Whenever this happens, you immediately feel taken advantage of. This is the same thing that occurs in your client’s mind when they realize your rates were always open to a downward adjustment.
This is also true when your client is the one who manages to negotiate a better rate with you and when they hear of another client getting a better rate for the same service. The second problem with cutting your rates is that it sends a signal to your client that you are not worth the money you charge. Again, think of this as a consumer. People who are selling a superior product or service do not have to drop their prices. They know their product is worth the money. And they know their customers will pay a fair price.
This is not arrogance; this is confidence. Clients may not always enjoy paying for services rendered, but they appreciate knowing they are getting good value for the money they spend on personal protection. When you stick to your guns, you send a message to your client that your services are worth every penny of what you are charging.
Another reason for standing firm is that when you agree to accept less for your services, you are telling your client you are desperate. The problem with being desperate is that it indicates no one else would want to hire you. This is a wrong message to send to a client who is counting on you to keep them safe. It’s a little bit like shopping for a bullet-resistant vest, and the shopkeeper is uncompromising on his price for the first three you look at, but on the fourth nearly identical vest he is more than willing to bargain. Anyone who values their life would not pay for the fourth vest. And you would probably not wear it even if the shopkeeper was giving it away for free.
The way to fix this problem is to do a fair market analysis and price your services accurately for the market you are in. Write up a solid business plan that explains why you are worth the rates you charge and include honest appraisals of your services compared with the competition within your market.
Bring value to your client and be prepared to explain why you have priced your services as they are. Try not to be offended when they ask you to justify your fees. This is your chance to shine and let them know what they are getting for their money.
List the certifications and training course you have attended. Explain how you’re EMT certifications, language skills, marksmanship training, and other acumen benefits them. Once you determined the fair price for your services, stand firm and show your client that you are worth the investment. It might mean you lose a potential client or two in your journey. But in the long run, you will make up the difference by holding firm with the confidence that your pricing is both fair and in synch with your talents.
How much are you really worth?
By Harlan “Hucky” Austin
Harlan Austin is a long time executive protection specialist, having worked with some of the most recognizable names in the entertainment world. As a consultant, he is also the founder of BodyguardCareers.com a site developed to educate, as well as connect protection specialist with job opportunities.