Tuesday, January 20th 2015 Thoughts
A few months ago I had the brilliant idea after trying to design my own logo for the millionth time that I was just going to hire someone to do it. Have it professionally done and then it also wouldn’t have the stigma of me designing it myself, so surely I’d like it for longer than a week, right?
I went around looking at a bunch of designer sites. Specific designers – ones that just do branding/logos, ones that do everything, because as most people do – I like to shop around. With designing (or my logo) it wasn’t really about what was the most affordable option but what was affordable on top of the style and options I knew I’d want. I understand you get what you pay for, so I’m willing to go a little higher in price in exchange for being closer to what I wanted.
However, time and time again I would end up on a site and I’d get pulled in by these lovely promises of revolutionizing my business with branding that pulls people in and captivates them until they just HAVE to work with me because their life would be empty otherwise. And I’d be like excited, because I’d like their work, I’d think it would fit great with mine – I’d look for a services page, bam! There it is, let’s take a look… services, awesome. Sales copy, I get it.
And no prices. Not even a ‘starting at’ rate – instead you get an ‘interested in working with me? Contact me for a pricing guide!’ Ugh.
Okay. Let’s think about this: I’ve seen their work around a bunch, so it must be somewhat affordable, right? Let’s contact them!
Wait a few days, receive a response. They’re so excited to hear from me, they like my work, they like the idea I’m going for, pricing sheet is attached.
I open it.
I suddenly realize their idea of ‘affordable’ and mine are completely different. Different galaxies, different. Sigh. Time to start all over (or, like I did, get frustrated enough you scribble your name on a piece of paper and run with it.)
Pricing transparency is something I thought a lot about when I rebranded my site. My good friend Rhana helped me with some of the ideas, concepts and things that I was working through and she actually suggested taking the prices off of my site – but with what I had went through with the logo, I already knew that was not something I wanted to do.
I get the various reasonings behind not being 100% transparent with your pricing. Some people are afraid it’ll give their competition a one up on them (although it’s a proven thing that helping others, also helps you), or that if they can sell the client on the product before they know the cost of it, that when they find out the cost it seems more reasonable. There is certainly logical reasoning behind it, but at what cost to the client?
If a client has a very specific budget and they know they can’t go over it, not having your prices on your site not only wastes their time if they contact you and they can’t manage to squeeze it, but it might also discourage them from reaching out to other designers for the fear of the same thing.
And among other reasons, I know I didn’t want to do that. If someone couldn’t afford my prices, then I simply am not the best fit for them and I want them to be able to know that without wasting their time filling out a mile long form, and then being disappointed. (Or you know, me spending 2 hours fielding questions to find out that it’s not going to work out.) I want them to still feel confident in what they want and what they’re looking for, and be able to move onto another designer if they need to.
But all projects are different!
This is very true, and I understand this point completely – this is why I use ‘starting at’ prices. It’s really easy – what price gets you out of bed in the morning? Is it the cost of your rent? The hours you’ll spend on a project x your hourly rate? When you look at your services, do you have a line you draw in the sand? “I absolutely won’t do X for under $XXXX”?
At minimum using a ‘starting at’ point sets an expectation – it immediately lets your potential client know what, at a minimum, they’ll be spending on your services. It also lets them know if it’s something they can swing or not, and if the time filling out your contact form is worth it or not.
Your time is valuable, but so is that of your potential client. Respect that.
How about you?
Other entrepreneurs, do you list your prices on your site? If so, have you ever considered not listing them? If you don’t list them, why not?
And lovely readers, do prices not being listed on a site deter you from reaching out to someone you’re interested in working with?