How to Become a Mediator
By Steve Gillman
To become a mediator you should like to fix problems, to negotiate
for a resolution between parties that are not always on speaking
terms. Training is a necessity, of course, but the legal requirements
are minimal. There is a lot of competition, but there are niches
to be filled where you might have the market almost to yourself.
For example, in the June 6, 2011 issue of Forbes magazine,
Tom Van Riper reported on Ken Gutman, who started a company called
"Fiscal Resolutions," doing mediation specifically
for franchisees and franchisers. According to Forbes Magazine;
As of 2009 at least 8,100 professional mediators had set
up shop in the U.S. More keep piling in. A majority look to settle
matters involving divorce or business contracts, or employee
issues like wrongful termination. Despite the 3,500 franchises
running 450,000 locations in the U.S., negotiators with franchise
expertise are rare. "You're lucky to find five good people
in any state, while you can find dozens for divorces," says
Chuck Doran, founder of Mediation Works Incorporated in Boston,
which provides and trains professional mediators.
Certifications are available and recommended, even if not
required by law in your area. Essentially you have to like being
the guy (or gal) in the middle if you hope to enjoy this line
of work. You are hired by one or the other or both parties in
a dispute so that they can avoid a more costly trip to court.
How Much Can You Make?
The niche and your skill--both at mediation and at marketing
yourself--will determine what you make. It's common for a new
professional mediator to struggle, but experienced mediators
can make up to $700 per hour. In the case of Gutman (in the Forbes
article) he charges $150 an hour and travel expenses, and says
he works the first half-day for free in order to show clients
what he has to offer.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
The niches are the place to start if you want less competition.
You might choose a niche like dealing with builder/client disputes,
for example. But you need to know the niche well if you want
to charge top dollar.
For additional revenue you can offer advisory services. You
might help a client find ways to cut costs, for example, or find
If you want to keep your marketing costs down, you can rely
on referrals, visit to industry trade shows, use email to contact
prospective clients, and sign up for networking websites like
Qualifications / Requirements
The legal requirements vary from state to state, but in addition
to checking out any licensing or certifications you may need
or want, get educated in the area you'll be working in.
Check online to see if there are any legal requirements to
become a mediator where you live. Then do some research to see
if there is a demand for the type of service you plan to offer.
Finally, get some training as a professional mediator--and perhaps
Forbes Article - The primary source for much
of the information above, and a good success story as well.
Training Institute International - One of the companies offering
training and certification (in less than a week for some programs).