Putting your rates on your website
Well, this can be a controversial subject, which some people feel quite passionately about, but it’s a strategic decision that you should make based on your market, and how you feel about it.
A high-end store doesn’t put its prices on its products, but it does have an extremely small niche compared with lower priced stores, so at the beginning its more important for them to prove its value proposition, through expensive marketing, so that it attracts its ideal clientele, as there will be less people willing to purchase without knowing whether the product is worth the money.
The same goes with services, do you price high, but only target a smaller amount of people and spend time networking, marketing and shmoozing… or do you go for a broader audience and perhaps need slightly more clients, but the marketing is less intensive?
You may worry about putting your rate on your website because perhaps you’re not sure if you are pricing yourself too high or too low, and no one else in your industry put their prices on, so there’s no comparison to be made.
And of course, if your price is dependent on a number of tacit factors, then it may be difficult to price on your website, but you could always have a “shopping basket”, so people can add and adjust according to affordability.
If someone’s doing research into hiring someone like you, one of the criteria might be on price, but there are also other qualifying factors that go into the final decision, such as word of mouth referrals, testimonials on your website or LinkedIn, previous experience and whether they feel you are a good fit with them.
If you have marketed yourself at the high-end, due to your skills and experience you may feel that by not divulging your prices, it may make someone call you for that initial consultation, and then understand that you offer a higher level of service than others.
You could also argue that if you do put your rates on your site and someone goes on your website and your prices are too high for them, then they probably aren’t your ideal client anyway and if they can’t afford your product/service, it might be better to know upfront, rather than to waste both your time and theirs by being transparent from the beginning. But then again, it doesn’t allow you to demonstrate the additional value you can provide, which that initial meeting may provide the missing information.
There are benefits:
• Honesty and transparency
• You only spend time with serious prospects
• Some people will only contact you if they know they can afford you
And there are also problems:
• Competitors can see your prices and adjust theirs accordingly
• People vote just on price, rather than value provided
• You don’t offer a standard service
• It doesn’t show any discounts, for special cases
Either way, even if you don’t put your rates on your website you will still need to calculate your rates, so how do you go about that?
Calculating your rate
Well you can do it on an hourly rate, that way, both you and the client can have total transparency on the cost per hour and they can choose how many hours they would like you to spend on a piece of work. Although, I have been in situations, where we have agreed that my hourly rate is suitable, and agreed the work to be completed, but not the number of expected hours. This does put you in a difficult position, because you then worry that you are taking too long, wonder whether they’ll baulk at the total cost of the project, or even worse, pay you, but never use you again because they didn’t feel that they were getting value for money, luckily this has never happened! But I would suggest that you agree both hourly rate and total number of hours you expect the project to take. Perhaps difficult when you are a newbie at something, because you haven’t many projects to compare against, so you need to take a best guess, then let the client know if something is not going to plan and is going to take a lot more … or a lot less!
You can do it on a project basis, so you work towards a fixed rate that both you and the client are happy with, or you can do it based on a supply/demand type basis. If your niche is very targeted and there are very few people that offer your skills, products or services, you can charge a higher rate than someone who is offering a more basic package, and of course if you are a well-known, popular brand, then you can also charge at a premium. This is easier to manage for both you and your client as you know how much it’s going to cost prior to work starting. You just need to ensure you understand how long the work is likely to take, so that you can agree a realistic price up front.
There are certain activities that are easy to calculate a rate for, i.e. email marketing campaign of 5 newsletters, setting up the automation and testing etc. However, most jobs I have been asked to support have been one-off, distinct projects, so actually are difficult to quantify as a general cost.
I have had conversations on social media about whether or not to put rates on and some people have said that they would only go with those who show their rates and others that have said it’s not important to them to see them prior to the initial consultation. Although I do have my rates on my website, in my experience, all prospective clients have asked me for my rates, rather than look on my page, but that might just be me!
If you need support on your website or business support processes in general, then please feel free to contact me via the details below