Should You Display Your Pricing On Your Website?

Every project and every client is different. Freelance creatives need to consider the unique needs and objectives of each client when determining their fees.
A common question from freelancers representing a wide range of industries: “Should I post my pricing publicly on my website?”
 
While many independent contractors do post their rate schedules, I am of the mind that it’s not beneficial. Publicly posting fees, or ranges of fees, creates certain expectations in the minds of potential clients which can prove to be detrimental for you. 
 
There are so many variables when it comes to estimating a creative project. Displaying fees doesn’t allow you to address those variables.
 
In my experience every project and every client is different. Freelancers need to consider the unique needs and objectives of each client when determining their fees. 
 

 
Side note: I think it’s crucial to establish a minimum engagement — a minimum creative fee that is non-negotiable. This is the very minimum amount for which you’ll accept a project. The minimum engagement is a filter that helps you easily turn away low-budget clients. You don’t need to publish your minimum engagement amount.
 

 

Five common-sense reasons why you should not publish your rates:

 
1] You won’t be able to negotiate an equitable fee for your services. Instead you’ll be constricted by your own words. If a client’s project is complex, but they’re coming to you based on your fee schedule, they will hold you to what you publish on your site. Instead, you can discuss your fee ranges during the discovery process before you offer a contract. 
 
2] It positions you based on what you do, not the results of your work. It prevents you from promoting expertise, and puts you in the running to be considered only if you’re the lowest bidder. 
 
3] It commoditizes your creative work, basing the value of what you do on the ability to be bought and sold. 
 
4] It allows no option for flexibility. As I said, every project is unique. You reduce your negotiating power. You may have been able to negotiate a higher fee, but your own website works against you, keeping your rates lower than the project scope warrants.
 
5 ] It prevents price changes — up or down. The market economy fluctuates, and your creative fees will as well. 
 

Reasons why you’d want to publish your fees

 
There’s a school of thought that promotes displaying your rates on your website to attract clients, creates transparency, and builds trust. I understand that. 
 
So if you make this choice, do it wisely. Here’re a couple approaches to consider:
 
1] Establish a minimum rate (”starting at $x,xxx.xx”) and publish that. This gives you flexibility to move up the pricing ladder. There is no cap. And the minimum will filter out undesirable clients offering a lot of work and a small budget. The minimum is an anchor. Note that it will be hard to go up from that anchor because your client will want you to hold to that.
 
2] Establish a range, for example: $7,500–$10,000. Consider carefully that a range has a cap. There’s a minimum and a maximum. Your client will want to fall within that range, and hold onto the lower end.
 
Publishing prices or price ranges means you don’t need to have a sales call. For example, I publish prices for coaching sessions, products, and independent instruction. I publish prices for Freelance Road Trip Business School and my design courses. And I specify what’s included for that price. But this is a different model than serving clients. With clients, I have conversations, and we come to terms about scope of work, fees, costs, and schedules. The contract is based on those aspects.
 
If you’re unsure about raising your rates and engaging in premium pricing, it means you’re unsure of your value to your clients and the marketplace you serve. You’re not delivering high value to your clients but competing with others who offer similar services at a lower or bargain price. Bargain-oriented prospects will flock to the lowest bidder, even if the value of the work is less than stellar. 
 
In the end, if you desire to work with clients you’re best able to serve and deliver value for them, you should engage in premium pricing and not publish your rates. You want instead to have those discovery and inquiry conversations to build trust, agree together, and manage expectations.
 
© Alvalyn Lundgren. All rights reserved.