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Doing Your Detective Work

There are other ways to find out what the competition is charging besides asking them.

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This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: I am planning to go into a business that has competitors in my town. But they won't give me their prices because they know I am a potential competitor. How can I find out what to charge?

Name withheld

A: Depending on your industry, there may be a trade association or a Web site that collects and publishes pricing data. For example, if you're a computer consultant, visit www.realrates.com; if you do editing, desktop publishing or Web site design, www.brennerbooks.com has a database of prices for desktop professionals. Often, industry reports are national or state averages and may not be applicable to your clientele. But at least they will give you a ballpark idea.

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