9 Ways Professional Organizers Charge Clients for Shopping and Research

photo Empty Jars, Baskets And Boxes On Pantry Shelves In Storage Room.Recently, I was asked by a student, “I just spent hours preparing an organizing plan of action, researching products, and shopping for a client. Should I charge her for this?”

My Reply

Great questions! I think you said you were creating an excel spreadsheet with products. That is an excellent option. Research can be time-consuming, especially until you have built your resources toolkit that you can pull from for future projects. Other ideas:

  • Building “wish lists” or “favorites” on Amazon, The Container Store, Bed Bath Beyond, Target, etc.
  • Pinterest boards
  • Evernote
  • The Residential Organizing Guidebook in the Certified Master Professional Organizer course training materials has many product ideas.

I am happy to hear the Organizing Plan of Action (OPA) helped you plan the project. It gives me a clear direction on what the client wants to accomplish. As far as time spent researching, shopping, and preparing an OPA, here are a few ideas:

  1. Set a time limit of how much time you will spend at no cost, i.e., 15 minutes and anything over that you will bill at your hourly rate
  2. Charge your hourly rate
  3. Include it in a package, such as 6 hours of organizing + 1-hour research + 1-hour shopping
  4. Do the shopping online at your client session as part of the session time. I prefer this over other options because I can get accurate measurements. The client can pay instead of me and get reimbursed, and the materials can be delivered directly to the client’s location.
  5. Do a Zoom session with your client and you can go shopping together virtually at your hourly rate.
  6. Meet your client at a store and shop with her at your hourly rate or come up with a “shopping” rate
  7. Some stores, such as The Containers Store, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and West Elm have trade programs that give you, a professional organizer, a discount that you can pass on to your client because you charge for shopping.
  8. Charge for the OPA as a package offering. For example, the initial consultation + OPA for $250. A DIY option for your client.
  9. Not charge, thereby making yourself more valuable to your client than other professional organizers.


Do you charge your clients for research, shopping, or preparing an organizing plan of action? Tell us why you do or do not.


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  1. Elizabeth White on August 1, 2021 at 6:38 am

    The package deal & sitting down with them at the consultation make the most sense to me. I noticed some clients don’t have the time, so I would do the research & charge them. Others that are more engaged and have the time, we could sit & order together.

    Although, right now as I am just starting out, I like to not charge! I am starting to build favorite lists at Amazon & Ikea, and also buying go-to items at TJ Maxx & Marshall’s to have on hand.

    Thank you Anne for thinking of all the ways to save time & be more efficient with your time & clients!

    • Anne Blumer on August 1, 2021 at 10:44 am

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for sharing your comment and thoughts. I find it really is a case-by-case basis depending on what the client needs and wants. So, I try to have options for them because that is what they want to hear.

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