Should You Put Pricing On Your Website

Should you put pricing on your website

The debate rages on — to display your prices up-front or not, that is the question.

And it’s a question that plagues freelancers All. The. Time.

Like any good debate, there are strong arguments for and against. Me, I’ve always been firmly in the “for” camp. But nothing convinced me (and will convince you) as much as what I’m about to tell you.

First off, let’s clear the air: YES — you absolutely, positively, need to display your prices on your website, right up front.

 

Here’s why.

A lot of great freelancers left money on the table

Why? Because they weren’t even at the table!

Okay, let’s back up here. One fine day, I was looking to hire a freelancer for my own business. I had really specific needs.

  • They had to be a copywriter or someone who had previous experience writing copy
  • They had to be reliable
  • I wanted someone who understood the Freelance to Freedom Community and audience

Besides this, I had a really specific budget and it was non-negotiable.

I knew exactly what I was looking for. So I put out the call to the community and a couple of Facebook groups. Having too much talent is a great “problem” to have. Not being able to sort through tons of websites super fast was not.

I had a million tabs open, sorting through everyone’s work, going through their projects and testimonials. Do you know how many I exited?

Almost all.

Here’s the thing: there’s one of me and tons of great copywriters and content creators out there. I need to sort through everyone of the great people who actually responded to my call fast.

The websites I left either encouraged me to “book a discovery call” with them or contact them for more info on prices.

In other words, none of their pricing info was listed right up front and…well, nobody has time for that.

Because I had such a specific budget, I knew exactly what I was willing to pay. And I knew I was not willing to sit through a thousand hours of “discovery calls”, only to find out that they were either:

  • Wayyyy outta my budget
  • Wayyyy under my budget (which is Greek for “less experience”)

Luckily, for me, this meant a relatively small shortlist of people to choose from — those who had put their pricing on their websites.

Unluckily for the very talented freelancers who threw their hat into the ring…they left money on the table because, for me, the information was incomplete.

Why this likely stops potential clients from reaching out

Here’s what you should take away from my hiring experience:

  • I was deterred because I knew my budget: it was specific and non-negotiable
  • So many options, so little time, as it is, to go through everyone’s sites
  • I simply didn’t have time to go through the process of a discovery call (and the follow-up that comes along with it)
  • I moved on (I had to).
  • I created a shortlist of candidates from a really small pool of people who did have pricing info.

In other words…they showed up to the table.

Something Things Never Change: Arguments Against Putting Pricing On Your Website

I’ve heard it all before. But hearing is not believing — not in this case. Many “gurus” will tell you to be coy with pricing because:

  • Then you can “custom quote” — offer a tailor-made price point that accounts for everything they’re looking for (minus everything they’re not)
  • You can “play it by ear” — or, rather, a freelancer can quote based on the client’s budget (which, obviously, you can only figure out when you talk face-to-face with them)
  • With a discovery call, you’re not committed or locked into a single price

To which, obviously, I have several counters:

  • You can always custom quote, based on an intake form (I talk about that extensively in my Stress Less & Impress module on the “Hire Me” form when getting started)
  • Sorry folks, but freelancing is not settlement poker, where one side tries to get the other side to reveal their “bottom line” — this makes the client-freelancer relationship feel way too adversarial, setting us off on the wrong foot…
  • You can use the contract to lay out everything that is included in the price, what’s not included and how much those extra pieces will be — so, technically, you’re not really locked in. No one’s putting a ring on it.

The Ideal Client Experience is Not About You

Are you sensing a pattern here?

Every one of these arguments “against” pricing on websites comes from the perspective of the freelancer.

Who benefits from a custom quote? Who’s worried about being “locked in”? Who wants to try and quote based on budget?

The freelancer.

Here’s my bottom line (this is a poker-free zone): client services are not about you.

Your ideal and potential client’s experience should be about them: their needs, their wants, their benefits earned. In my case, my needs were about time. For others, it might be a question of transparency, for example.

Yes, all freelancers have a stake in their work and they should expect clients to appreciate and respect that. But the way to do that is to anticipate what your client needs and respond to it before they even know they need it.

Empathy works. Always, and especially when it comes to the ideal client experience.

As a freelancer, you can always convert a client from just “client” to true-believer by simply putting yourself in their shoes. So if time is their issue, like it was for me, make it easy for them to say, “Yes!”

Of course, this means that, really, you’re winning too. Right?

Why Up-Front Pricing Is a Strategy that Works for Both

If you were kind of annoyed at that whole “it’s not about you” thing, thinking “Leahhhh, okay, but…I’ve got bills to pay and I have to be strategic!” Hey, I get it. And I’m here to prove to you that that’s best for your client has a funny way of coming full circle, delivering benefits right to you.

Why pricing on your website works:

  • Avoid the cheapos right away who are contacting you just to get a low-ball quote (ew)
  • Don’t waste your time going through a proposal process with people who are just “window shopping” — you don’t want to be one of the many
  • Don’t turn away those who think that, “Discovery Call” is Latin for “Sales call where I try and sell you on my exorbitant prices” — i.e. they may think you’re wayyy outta their budget
  • People who love transparency and time-savings will love you forever (me)
  • You’ll actually get people who are in the range of what you want to be making, who will justify your quote based on their project
  • Your pricing will tell them about your value: so if you quote high and have the testimonials or portfolio pieces to back it up, they know they’ll be getting quality
  • They’ll appreciate you, in the long run, so much more

A word to the wise: if you’ve never given up-front pricing a try, think about this. How crazy would it be if you walked into a Levi’s store, tried to buy a product and you were told you have to schedule a “fitting appointment” where they ask you about your budget, measure you, custom quote you and then, in the end, it fit…but it didn’t make your butt look all nice?

Yeah.

I encourage you to do some A/B testing. Run your site as is, for a month, and then see what happens to the quality and profile of potential clients who come knocking when you put pricing up front.

The difference will be as obvious as your pricing.

Join the conversation!

We’re talking about this topic in the FTF Community Facebook group right here.

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Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Hey Leah.. as one of the sites you visited I struggle with this idea. I’ve created a bit of a compromise putting ballpark figures on my site, but what I really want is clients/companies to contact me because they like what I say and then I can build a relationship where money isn’t the most important factor.

    I think it comes down to understanding who you want to work with and learning to speak to them directly. If I wanted to create more partnerships with (I have one now with a great graphic designer) other freelancers (like yourself) then your copy/pricing should reflect that. If you want to build partnerships with small/med businesses your copy/pricing should reflect that.

    In this particular circumstance, which do you fall under? 🙂 Good luck with your search!!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis

      Hey Beth, I don’t think I’m understand your question to me fully. I agree that it’s great to create partnerships and I think that’s a whole different topic. With partnerships/collaboration on services, that is something to discuss when making a connection with someone directly. Still though, them having an idea of your front-end pricing will help them want to contact you if they are seeing your website before creating that connection. I understand that you want people to contact you to build a relationship where money isn’t the most important factor – but unfortunately, a lot of the time it is AN important factor. I definitely care about the quality of work and the type of person when looking to hire people myself….but because I have to keep my business afloat, pricing does play a huge factor in whether or not I initially contact that so that’s why I’m a big fan of it. Hope that helps a bit!

      • Yes, rereading my comment now sounds a little vague.

        Your post was about finding someone to work with you on a project, and I was asking what that project fell under. More of here’s a job – can you do it, or partner with me to make x happen.

        I think I sometimes forget that other people are price conscious b/c they are small businesses not because they don’t understand the value I might bring. 🙂 Thanks Leah.

  • So true! I try to be as transparent as possible with my pricing. I even offer different tiers based on the amount of work a potential client wants to accomplish. It helps make communication so much easier during discovery calls!

  • Before, I hadn’t considered putting the price on one of my websites, cos the rates are flexible depending on the client. But those who inquired are really low ballers, and ended up wasting my time. So from then on, I put my rates.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis

      Good! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • All my freelance writing is passively aka, not promoted, but as for my blog coaching services oh yes, I share pricing on the site. Weeds out tire kickers and bargainers and barterers to make room for serious people who actually want to improve their lives. Super post Leah!

    Ryan

  • I totally agree with this! Completely about it being client-centric, but I’ve also sunk way too much time into crafting custom proposals for people whose budget was just nowhere near what I charge for my services. That sucks. Plus, I find those “discovery calls” can be SO AWKWARD for both parties because a lot of people DON’T have a very specific budget like you did. And with that, it’s so hard to get people to even give you a budget range, so if that’s the point of your discovery call, they can be so useless. That’s at least the case if the prospect is hiring out this service for the first time, so they have no context. They’re so much happier just getting and idea for varying costs and going from there.

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