As a freelancer or other service-based business, chances are that you have asked yourself this question. Perhaps you’re just starting out and you’re asking it now, which is why you’ve landed here, or perhaps you have a few years in the game and are evaluating your current strategy.
I have a pretty firm opinion on this, only because I’ve seen first-hand how it has impacted my business and workload when it comes to dealing with leads when I first started as a freelance marketer, designer, and photographer. Long story short, I didn’t put them on my website to begin, and then I added them on. Keep reading to see why.
I Didn’t Put My Rates on My Website When I Started Out
Why didn’t I? Well…
- I was worried that my competition would see how much I was charging. And to this day, I’m not sure why this worried me. I’ll explain more later why it actually ended up being a good thing for my competitors to see my rates for my services.
- I was scared that my peers, friends, and family would judge me. I had a belief that others would think I was full of myself for asking for the rates I was charging. What was funny was that it turned out I was charging way too little to start, but I was worried that for those who were not familiar with pricing strategy as a freelancer and were comparing my rates to hourly rates of traditional employment, they would see me as greedy.
- I had a hard time setting my prices when I first started, and so I worried that I would be changing them all the time and thought it would be strange to be updating them on my website all the time if need be. Spoiler: It’s normal to update your pricing/fees regularly. But at the time I was too concerned with perception to know this.
Why I Updated My Website and Added my Rates
After about six months I realized that perhaps being elusive about how much I was charging wasn’t the best game plan. And so I added them on and haven’t looked back since (over two and a half years later of working for myself full-time). Here’s why I added them:
- I was getting quite a few inquiries. Which felt nice. But I was investing a lot of time into these inquiries and once the discussion of pricing came up, only about 20% of them stayed interested. Adding my rates allowed me to only spend time nurturing leads who were truly interested, saw my value, and had the resources to invest.
- As I mentioned above, I was scared about my competition seeing my rates. But something really interesting happened after I added them. I noticed others in my primary market (Vancouver BC at the time) were paying attention and copying my rates! At first this weirded me out. But then it turned out to be a blessing. Why? Well, a lot of these service providers weren’t getting the kinds of results I was getting for clients, they didn’t have the reputation I had, nor did they have the publicity I had. I was already in demand, so what did I do knowing others who weren’t as effective as me were charging the same? I raised my rates! It helped me to actually understand my value.
- And to continue on with the perception angle, having my rates on my website communicates my worth — it shows that I am not a low-end service provider. It shows that my work gets results and there is a fee to be associated with that.
- If you don’t have your rates on your website, people may think you actually charge MORE than what you do. And this could deter them from even inquiring to work with you in the first place! I was actually in disbelief the first time someone said ” Oh, that’s reasonable! I thought you were charging way more.” And that makes the sale really easy at that point.
- And lastly, people just like knowing how much something costs before making a serious inquiry. Ever go to a store and there is no price on the item you want? I’m not sure about you, but I for one have never taken that item up to an associate and asked how much it is. I simply put it back and go for another option where the price is displayed.
Tips for Including Your Rates on Your Website
Whether you’re offering photography, graphic design, virtual assistant services, social media marketing, digital advertising, or anything alike, chances are that you’re going to have a variety of services and levels of fees associated with them.
I’ve noticed that just including the baseline rate for a service is enough to give a potential client the relief of knowing they can afford you. It’s enough to open up the conversation and start the sales process. It also relieves a lot of pressure off of you and allows you to give more accurate quotes based on the scope of the work instead of having to adhere to a set in stone rate someone saw on your ‘work with me’ page.
Continuing on with this, I do think it’s best to keep it simple. You want to avoid putting in every single rate for every single service, as this can dehumanize the experience and make your potential client feel like they’re ordering off of a fast food menu instead of working with a high-value professional. For example, if you offer social media management, it might be a good idea to avoid listing out your rates for each individual platform and service you do on them, and using the ‘starting from’ angle. Ie; Social Media Management: One Platform, Starting from $900 / month.
Overall, the main take away is that if you’re going to publish your pricing on your website, you want to ensure it accomplishes two key things: it communicates a minimum rate so it disqualifies those who do not have the budget to work with you, it doesn’t make you seem like a robot and as though the client experience will lack empathy and compassion.