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?
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.
[Tweet “Listing prices on your website is a quick way to weed out potential problem clients. #freelancing”]
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.”
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.
[Tweet “Want clients who care more about talent and less about cost? Remove prices from your site.”]
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:
- Potential clients with smaller, simpler projects see the absolute minimum I’ll require for a project.
- 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:
- Determine which category above your business seems to fit into best.
- 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?
- Consider what “feels right” to you – whatever you choose, you’ll be happiest if you’re comfortable with it.
- 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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