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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 intoa business that has competitors in my town. But they won't giveme their prices because they know I am a potential competitor. Howcan I find out what to charge?

Name withheld

A: Depending on yourindustry, there may be a trade association or a Web site thatcollects and publishes pricing data. For example, if you're acomputer consultant, visit www.realrates.com; if you do editing, desktoppublishing or Web site design, www.brennerbooks.com has a databaseof prices for desktop professionals. Often, industry reports arenational or state averages and may not be applicable to yourclientele. But at least they will give you a ballpark idea.

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