In retail, there’s no question that every item for sale has a price tag, whether it’s online or in a shop on the High Street. But for service-based small businesses, the decision to communicate your rates seems to be a different matter entirely.
When you consider buying a service from someone, you’re almost always promised a quote only after you get in touch, with not a single rate in sight. But why is that? And more importantly: Should we really be so secretive about our rates?
(The illustrations in this post are taken from Attacat’s website.)
Why so shy?
In my opinion, if you don’t communicate your rates in some way, you’re missing out – unless of course, you are in the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” business. Price is always a sensitive topic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about it.
1. Save time
Nobody likes to talk money, but wasting time is even worse. Putting your fees on your website tells potential clients what to expect and, most importantly, if they can afford you in the first place.
This cuts out awkward calls, emails and consultations and removes a serious obstacle on the way to becoming your client.
2. Target effectively
Another result of displaying your rates openly on your website is targeting your ideal client more effectively. If you communicate your rates, your prices work as a filter by reflecting your target audience, their expectations and budget.
Whether you want to attract as many new clients as possible or get rid of discount hunters and price shoppers, visible rates help you attract the right people.
Find out more about why you should raise your rates and how you can communicate them to your clients.
Show people that you have nothing to hide. Your rates are what they are and being open about them builds trust; customers know what to expect and don’t have to worry about hidden fees.
Give potential clients as much information as they need in order to make an informed decision and you’ll build relationships that last.
Find your own way
I think you can only gain from being upfront about prices. Especially if you’re working in a specialised area where people have no idea what to expect. Or if you offer a service that is generally perceived as costly. That’s why I have a page on my website displaying my rates.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your small business, target audience and services, it’s not always as easy as uploading a price list onto your website.
Plus, there are valid reasons to be wary of showing your hand like this. So here are a few tips on how to show your rates without giving too much away:
THE CONs (and workarounds)
1. The competition
I often hear that small business owners, in particular, don’t want their competition to take advantage of them. But you can avoid that by just giving a ballpark figure.
For example, if your work is project-based, tell people your hourly or daily rate. That gives potential clients an idea of what to expect, but the competition still doesn’t know how many hours you quote for specific projects.
Another valid argument is that as services are so customised, you can’t tell how much a project will cost until you know all the details. If so, it’s still helpful for potential clients if you communicate your rates, even just basic ones.
Give them a ‘starting from’ price or add an FAQ to your website in order to clearly establish what size projects you’re looking for.
3. Price per client
It’s a fact: There are different rates for different clients. For example, you’ll quote differently for a charity than for a small business. And that’s nothing on what you’d quote if Richard Branson came knocking. So keep it open.
It’s absolutely sufficient to show a range, give examples or simply explain your process. Then, add a little note saying that specific quotes for charities and large-scale projects are available on request.
In general, you don’t have to be absolute in your pricing information. It’s often more than enough to give examples or approximate rates, as long as it helps potential clients decide if they can, and want to, work with you.
WANT TO READ MORE?
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
When Was the Last Time You Raised Your Rates?
How to Deal With Price Shoppers As a Small Business
4 Steps to a Successful Web Copy
How to Declutter Your Website for Quick, Easy Conversions