Before you chalk this idea up to idiocy, which I know I am flirting with, let’s have an honest look at this. Give me a chance to persuade you :)
As a freelancer, I am more than familiar with the reasons why many of us do not list pricing on our website; however, as a client and consumer (of other products and services), I’ve often found upfront pricing extremely helpful. Perhaps I’d go further than that…sometimes, online pricing is essential to me. If I don’t see it, I move on to someone else’s website.
After looking at the grammar of some of my earlier blog posts, I recently began looking into hiring a writing coach. I was surprised at the number of writing coaches that can be found online. That said, I’d wager there are ten to twenty times more freelancer designers online that are looking for work.
As I clicked from website to website, I had to admit that I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking to find. While I did see some notable differences in what type of clients the coaches were looking to work with, what caught my attention was the significant cost difference from one coach to another. Some coaches charged per project, some per hour (up to about $600/hr) and many of them didn’t list any prices at all. This made it difficult for me to decide how I wanted to move forward. I quickly found myself getting overwhelmed. The unsavory thought of, “Am I going to have to sit here all day before I find someone? If I find someone at all,” began to creep into my head. With so many available options, I decided that I didn’t want to take the time to individually call or email a coach and ask them, “I visited your website today and was interested in learning more about your services, can you give me an idea of what you would charge?”
I know it may sound like heresy, but if I did not see some indication of how much the coach was charging for her or his services – I moved on to another website. And yes, I recognize that shopping on price alone is hypocritical and foolish, but after this experience I have a new appreciation as to what clients go through when looking for a designer. Price wasn’t the only factor I was looking at, but it was important. I didn’t want to invest even more time contacting coaches that didn’t list their pricing (which may have wasted their time and mine, and might have been embarrassing or awkward if their prices were too high). I didn’t want to incur risk: the risk of potentially wasting my time, possibly having to fend off a high pressure coach or feeling awkward if a coach’s fees were especially out of my price range. Can you relate to that? If you can, you can also begin to relate to how potential clients feel about contacting freelance designers with no prices.
To finish this little anecdote, I’ll share with you that I didn’t end up hiring anyone, which just goes to prove the old marketing adage, “The confused mind always says, ‘No.’” Nevertheless, the experience gave me a small paradigm shift in how I saw clients and their process to hire a freelancing consultant or designer. I could see things more from their perspective. As ridiculous as the idea might have seemed before I started looking for a coach, I began to wonder if freelancers should include a pricing section on their website. I fell back on the tried and true “Pro versus Con” model to help me decide if the idea should even be contemplate. Here’s what I came up with:
- Avoid attracting bottom-feeder, bargain-hunting clients.
- Won’t have to waste time on leads that are not qualified to work with you.
- Shows leads that you are upfront and confident.
- In learning your prices up front, you reduce the risk/fear clients may have in contacting you. Referring to my story above, remember that many clients may be apprehensive about contacting you for fear that you’ll be too far out of their price range.
- Other designers can readily see your prices. Personally, I don’t believe this is an issue, but I know many designers that loathe the idea of other designers scoping out your prices.
- Prices might scare potential clients off, especially if they don’t know
- Your website visitors (potential clients) may immediately jump to the Pricing webpage rather than explore what you can offer them, and then visit the Pricing webpage.
- Listing your pricing may limit your ability to negotiate and adjust your prices.
If you were looking for a concrete set of guidelines that will never fail you, I am afraid you’ll be disappointed with my conclusion. There are no hard and fast rules in deciding whether or not to list pricing on your web site or collateral material. You have to decide what is best for you.
What I can share with you is that I did not have pricing on my website; however, after the experience I had looking for a writing coach, I am beginning to give it some thought. Most of industry doesn’t list their prices, so maybe it’s something I should consider (we’re all looking for ways to stand out and above the crowd).
If you like the idea of reducing the risk/apprehension clients may have in contacting you if you don’t list your prices, at the same time, you want to avoid scaring price-conscious clients off if you do list your prices, I think I have a solution. Try something like this, “Projects typically start at $XXXX. Most clients happily find their projects fall within the $XXXX to $XXXX range; most designers with the same skill level and expertise charge upwards of $XXXX for the same service. Rates are reasonable and you’ll rave about the results. Let’s talk about how I can help you today; give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I am sure we’ll be able to develop a specific package that fits both your budget and goals.”
If you’re still not sold on the idea of listing any of your prices on your website or collateral material, that’s okay; it’s really up to you. My goal in sharing this information wasn’t to convince you either way, but to provide you with some of my observations and thoughts. I’ll leave the decision making to you.