Should you list your prices on your website? (Here’s what I do)

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It’s a conundrum many of us creative entrepreneurs face: do I list pricing (or typical pricing) on my website or not?

Some entrepreneurs swear by it; others refuse…and both make valid arguments.

So what’s the “right” answer? And is there a “right” answer for your business that differs from the “right” answer for another business?

And how does this work out for differing pricing structures?

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

Let’s dive in and find out.

The case for listing pricing on your website

Most entrepreneurs who do list pricing (or typical pricing) on their websites do so to weed out prospective clients who don’t have the budget for their services.

The exploratory process can be a huge waste of time and energy, and it’s much harder to walk away from a project once you’ve all gotten excited about the project details, vision, and goals.

Also, some clients approach creative services like they do jewelry: “If I have to ask what the price is, I can’t afford it.”

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That mentality may not be true, especially if your services are more affordable than a local agency or other competition (but you have a beautiful, quality site).

Finally, you’ve got the window-shoppers – potential clients or administrative secretaries – who are trying to estimate the going rate for a project (which, we all know, varies widely). When they can’t get an estimate without talking to you, they often pass you by for others who will.

So what types of businesses benefit most from listing pricing on their website?

(Obviously, if you compete on price point, listing pricing is a must-do.)

For everyone else, businesses who find that similar-type projects often take the same amount of time/expertise might also consider listing pricing. For example, you might find that you often price the following projects consistently in the same range:

  • A typical family photography session
  • Business cards
  • T-shirt designs
  • Monthly website maintenance

Therefore, you might consider posting typical pricing for these on your website.

Of course, if you sell anything at a set price (ebooks, training, software, artwork, jewelry, etc.), you’ll almost always benefit from listing the pricing of those outright.

The case for not listing pricing on your website

Of the folks who don’t list pricing on their website, most reason that they’d rather their clients hire them based on their expertise, ability, and/or reputation rather than on price.

And while they know price can be a factor, they’re looking for the clients for whom it’s less of a factor.

Then there’s the niche industry of ultra-wealthy…clients who haven’t looked at a price tag in years. (Don’t we all wish?! But it does happen.) These clients may be turned off by the sight of pricing on your website.

Finally, many creative businesses offer products and services specifically tailored to each project or client. As the price can vary widely depending on the project parameters, these creatives don’t want to have to explain why the quote for a client’s particular project is more expensive than the pricing listed on their website.

So what types of businesses benefit most from NOT listing pricing on their website?

For some businesses, listing pricing might not be the best solution. These may include:

  • Artists and artisans who create custom paintings/drawings/furniture/etc.
  • Businesses who market themselves as handcrafting solutions tailored to each client.
  • Anyone who caters to the luxury or very high-end market.

Why and how I list pricing on my website

Well, as you may have guessed, for many of the reasons listed above.

I’m one of those shoppers who will almost always go elsewhere if I can’t at least get a ballpark figure without talking to anyone, so I tend to cater to other like-minded folks.

Also, I get a lot of referrals and interest from people/businesses/organizations I know personally. By pointing them to my website when they say, “Gee, I could really use <insert project here>…” they get a sense of what I’m going to charge them without me having to have that awkward conversation where I have to tell them that a $50 budget for a logo is nowhere near enough for me to consider their project. Since I don’t want my personal relationship with them to suffer, they can quietly check me out and pursue the project if we’re a good match.

(Note: This may be the hugest cop-out ever, but I’m a big chicken.)

If you go to my website, you’ll see that I give a short blurb on what’s involved in pricing and then get right to it. I list both the base (or starting) price for each item as well as the average cost, and I’ve found this to be helpful in several ways:

  1. Potential clients with smaller, simpler projects see the absolute minimum I’ll require for a project.
  2. Potential clients also see that the average project cost is quite a bit higher than the base cost, so they get a sense for how expensive their project could be.

I’ve also been toying with adding a sample proposal (with real pricing) to this page. Do you think it’d be a good idea? Share why or why not in the comments.

But what about value-based pricing?

For those of you who have implemented value-based pricing, you still have the option of sharing how you arrive at your pricing.

You may want to consider explaining the factors involved with pricing or sharing your process…or you may prefer to wait and explain your value to your potential clients with each proposal.

What YOUR business should do:

So what’s right for your business? Here’s how to find out:

  1. Determine which category above your business seems to fit into best.
  2. Think about what sort of pricing you’d list if you were to do share it on your website…does your business’ pricing structure seem feasible to list?
  3. Consider what “feels right” to you – whatever you choose, you’ll be happiest if you’re comfortable with it.
  4. If you’re still on the fence…try the opposite of what you’re doing now. Because really, if you’re asking yourself this question, it means you’re hoping to convert more new clients than you currently are, and this might be the key to doing so. (But it might be something else that’s causing lackluster website conversions.)

Need more help? Drop me a note in the comments and we’ll all do our best to help you out!

Got it all figured out?

Have you made your decision and know it’s the right one for you (at least for now)? Share whether you list pricing or not and why.

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About April Greer

April is the Director of Projects at Reliable PSD, a design-to-code company for designers, by designers. She’s the glue keeping everything together, organized, and right on time, and giving everyone a fantastic experience while she does it.

 

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Comments

  1. Good points… I use the ballpark figure idea, so people have Basic idea of what things could cost.

  2. Thanks for this article. I just spent hours adding/redoing my pricing structure to my website. I know putting it out there also means that my competition can undercut me, but if someone wants a $50 logo, I really don’t want them as a client. Like you, I want to weed out the people who don’t value what I offer or have no clue what design services cost. Saves me time and the awkward moment of sticker shock when I tell them how much things cost. And listing the pricing also keeps me from compromising myself. I’m far too easily talked out of my own pricing! πŸ˜‰

  3. Great post, April! I’m one of the freelancers that do not list their prices on their website. Mainly because I don’t want my services to be perceived as a commodity item.

    I used to get many emails from unprofessional people, wanting me to do outrageous tasks for next to nothing. I had to put a specify process in place so I could only focus on the right clients for me and my freelance business.

    So how do I avoid everyone from reaching out looking for a list of prices? I inject my process everywhere on my website, and filter out unwanted potentials with a questionnaire on my contact page. Why? This keeps the non-serious, unpassionate clients out. And by getting this crucial information upfront, I can easily determine if it’s a project for me. This cuts out days worth of wasted time; replying back and forth asking questions and waiting for responses. After that, I either turn down the project if it’s not for me, or I further discuss the project goals with the client. Then we move forward from there!

    Some people may not agree with this process, but I’ve been testing this out alongside many other methods over the past year. This specific process has been the simplest and best for me and my freelance business. I now only get emails for projects that I specialize in, and the clients reaching out are interested in working with me specifically – not because I offer a service at the lowest price – but because they know they’ll get the results they’re looking for by working with me.

    • Hi Brent! My name is Radu and I am a young freelancer from Bucharest, Romania.
      Regarding the pricing problem, I have also received some e-mails in the past asking for serious, difficult tasks, but when the budget came into discussion, they were only willing to spend a minimal amount. (Compared to what they were asking.)
      How did you go about negotiating with those unprofessional people? Or did you simply refuse the project?

      Thank you!

      Also, with this comment I would also like to congratulate April for the great post.

      • Hi Radu, great question! The first thing to consider is if the project is worth negotiating. In most cases, it’s not, so I either stick to my guns with the proposed project/cost or turn it down.

        However, if their budget isn’t too far off, or if you have the availability to take it on and the project is something you specialize in, then you can choose to negotiate. What I’ve done in the past to work with a lower budget is not to devalue my work, but to cut back on their demands. For example, if the client needs two versions of a logo, make it one. Or, if the client needs a website done with so many features and pages, reduce those. Find a way you can limit the amount of time needed so that their budget makes sense for your time. Again, this is only if negotiating the project makes sense. You’ll get to a point where you’ll be turning down more projects than you take on, and that’s okay. Not every project will be for you, so don’t be afraid to say no.

        I hope this helps! Best of luck!

  4. Yet again, your timing is spot on! I’m planning an overhaul of my website for a while and this is one of the questions I’ve been asking myself.

    I love the way you pitch your pricing on GreerGenius: you set realistic expectations while also giving potential clients actual figures to work with. Nice!

  5. I’m developing pricing packages based on their size as a company and the project scope that I share with clients once design is discussed.

    I think the idea to share specific services (business card, newspaper ads) is a good one. I’m struggling with logo design prices.

    What are your thoughts?

    • Logo design prices are the hardest for several reasons:

      1) Because most clients think it’s going to be cheaper than it is.
      2) Because it can take forever for them to finalize the design.
      3) Because depending on the size and reach of the company, there may be a lot of additional work.

      So I always err on the side of extra project time and a longer revision process on logos because it’s such a monumental decision for a business to make.

      Maybe create logo packages based on business reach? Like local/state/national/international company or something similar? Generally, for a company with international reach, you’re going to be doing a lot more research, drafting, and planning (possibly in multiple languages) than you would for a local startup.

      Hope this helps!

  6. I don’t like to reveal my pricing because I want to know what their budget is and make an offer based on that. There’s a good chance I’ll be leaving money on the table if I make the first offer.

  7. I totally agree about displaying pricing for projects to weed out clients who don’t have the budget. I learned the hard way to always put “Starting from…” The real struggle is putting a price on creativity:)

  8. An interesting approach to the topic – I’m thinking along the same lines.

  9. I use value-based pricing. And it’s accelerated my business tremendously. It’s the idea of positioning yourself as an investment rather an expense.

    I’m just a Padawan, but the master is Sean McCabe of Seanwes. You can get the foundational pieces here: http://seanwes.com/podcast/145-getting-started-with-value-based-pricing/ and then by listening to episodes 146 and 147. These will give you how you start pricing on the backend.

    He’s also putting a course together.

    If you need additional material after listening to the initial podcasts, check out episode 40: http://seanwes.com/podcast/040-how-to-price-products-effectively-by-focusing-on-value/

  10. Hi, real good article, I used have my prices on my site http://www.massappealdesigns.com when I first started and I was pretty cheap, after a few years of freelancing I removed them as at the time I was doing logos for Β£125 and sometimes clients would have Β£800 budgets and would see the price on on my site.

    I have launched a personal site at http://www.darrenmcchrystal.com and I am considering having my basic prices here, I tend to only take on jobs if its a weeks work so I base my pricing on how many weeks on average it takes to complete a task, as in a logo takes on average of 2 weeks

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