A lot of freelancers don’t have their prices on their websites. I used to be one of them…until I wised up.
As freelancers, we tell ourselves that every project is unique and requires its own estimate. And I still believe that to be true. After all, we’re providing a service, not selling a wide-screen TV. But not giving clients any indication of our prices up front only sets us (and our clients) up for disappointment.
To illustrate, imagine you were shopping for a housecleaning service.
You have one picked out, but you have no idea what they cost. Do they charge hourly? Or use a day rate? How long will it take them to clean your place? Do they offer a discount if you want them to come every week versus once a month?
The big question you’re asking is: Can you afford them?
You like them. You want to hire them. You’ll even consider going outside your budget a little because you’ve heard they do great work, and this is a service that will make your life much better. They have an option to call for an estimate, but you dislike the idea of having to say, “Thanks, but I can’t afford that.”
Instead of taking action (so you can enjoy to a sparkling kitchen next week), you drag your feet.
Even though you were totally sold on this company with its sustainable cleaning products and mint-on-your-pillow service, you put off making the call. You casually start seeking other options by asking people you know if they have a service and how much it costs them. Finally, you shelve the idea and spend Saturday mornings with a dust rag in one hand and a vacuum in the other.
This is one way clients revert to status quo.
Jill Konrath, sales trainer extraordinaire, says in her book, SNAP Selling, your only true competition is your client’s status quo. If you’re not solving a client’s priority problem, they’ll put you on the back burner (the way we did in our search for a housecleaning service).
To keep clients' attention (and keep their problem—the one you solve—front and center), clients need to know if they can afford you.
And the best way to do this is to make your pricing available on your website. Here are six benefits you get when you do this:
1.) Clients see what they get for their money.
One of the biggest problems today is that most clients can’t gauge if they’re getting a good value for their money until after the project with you is over. That’s because they don’t know if paying $500 for a lead generation email is a good deal or not. (Dear Clients: When you hire a high-quality writer who will knock it out of the park for you, it is.)
2.) Clients self-select (so you don’t have to).
If you're looking to climb the ranks as a high-quality freelancer, the truth is not every client can afford your services. And that’s okay.
Sharing your pricing helps clients decide if your services fall in their budget range. Of course they’ll look at how you price the specific project they're considering, but they’ll also look at the prices of your other services to get a gauge of how much you cost overall.
If your prices are in range for them (and their need is immediate), they’ll reach out. If not, they won’t. Saves them from that uncomfortable “That’s-out-of-our-price-range” conversation and saves you both time. Win-win.
(Another benefit is they now have a list of all the services you provide, which can jog their memory about other potential project they could hire you for. And your price estimates can help them budget for your services down the road.)
3.) Gives you more confidence in negotiations.
For many freelancers, the most dreaded part of a call with a prospective client is the “money conversation.” But imagine what it would feel like if the client already has an idea of what to expect. This takes the pressure off you to guess what they think is a reasonable fee because if they didn’t like your price ranges, they wouldn’t’ve contacted you in the first place. And this is another way to “price from a position of power,” (a strategy all freelancers need to embrace to make a good living).
4.) Gives your value prop, portfolio, and testimonials more credibility.
Cost is a big way we determine value. (Imagine if you could buy a Bentley for the same price you’d buy a Honda.) If you’ve spent time developing your value proposition (who you help and how you help them), building an ace portfolio, and cultivating glowing testimonials, your price schedule can only boost your value more. Why? Because it shows that you really can deliver what you say you deliver, and your prices reflect that.
5.) Sets you apart.
Not many freelancers make their prices available on their website, making this a great differentiator for you. It also elevates you above the “cat-and-mouse” pricing game with clients and communicates how confident you are in the services you deliver.
6.) Helps normalize the industry.
The more freelancers become transparent about their pricing, the more the clients learn how to value the skills and value of every freelancer they work with. Understanding that a mid-level sedan could cost between $17,000-25,000 makes you think twice about that entry level hatchback at $12,000, especially if you’re looking for a reliable family vehicle that will last you a decade. Same goes for clients. The more savvy clients become about what quality freelance services costs, the more it will benefit freelancers driven to deliver it.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we look at seven best practices to help you successfully post your prices on your freelance website.