How much is a ‘reasonable amount’?

9 October 2014

When we set out in the big wide world of professional genealogical research, we set our rates for family history and tracing work at a price which we considered ‘reasonable’ for the time and effort involved and ‘affordable’ to our potential clients. But what is a ‘reasonable amount’ for the work we do?

Looking at other company’s websites, we have been stunned recently at the rates and packages that some other people offer. Many companies state their hourly rate…. though of course, how much can a genealogist achieve in an hour? (similar to the question of how many ‘Real men’ does it take to change a light bulb?!) Do the skills of the researchers at Family Wise enable us to do the same amount of work that another firm would take two hours or more to do? Who knows?

Packages range from researching four surname lines for £895, to nearly £1,000 for an ‘Ancestry package’ and over £1,300 for a ‘family tree package’….. the most reasonable packages coming from what we would consider the more widely known companies. So, how do professional genealogists set their rates? How does Jo/e Public know whether s/he is employing an outstanding researcher?

At WDYTYA in Glasgow in August, there was a Symposium (which we blogged about here at FWL) about The Future of Professional Genealogy. The videos have now been posted online of the discussion. Some participants felt strongly that there should be a qualification that we should all have in order to call ourselves ‘professional’, whilst others were vociferously against this suggestion. But how can we bring more of a professionalism to our profession? So many people profess to hold the title ‘professional genealogist’ when most of us are actually self-titled! Does a title really matter? Or does experience count for more?

Look forward to your thoughts, fellow genies and others….

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