By Andrew Neitlich

Should you post prices on your website?

By Andrew Neitlich

A recent Sitepoint forum posed a great question: Should you post prices on your website?

The answer depends on your strategy:

1. If you are primarily a product-driven company and not a service firm, by all means list your prices. For instance, if you offer templates or rapid logo design, provide pricing.


2. If you offer some low-cost products as part of your offering, then list those prices. For instance, on my web site, I offer books and copy writing. Both are a small part of what I do, and I list the price to get people to test out my knowledge/services.

3. Now here is where it gets interesting:

3a. If you think of yourself as a trusted advisor, and price based on value, then I would avoid posting your prices on the web site. That’s because you want to assess the client situation and price based on your value to them, as well as how challenging this specific project mightbe. Also, by posting your hourly rates, you set yourself up as a vendor rather than a relationship-driven advisor.

3b. Having said that, you might check out a very successful consultant who posts $550 per hour rates: http://www.treyryder.com

He markets to lawyers, and his philosophy is that professionals should be up front about their rates.

But I tried his approach, and got 0 clients, so I’m back to 3a.

What about you?….

  • I agree that service firms should avoid. Charging by the hour is a nightmare, and I much prefer what Brendon Sinclair recommends in his kit.

    Charge based on the value you provide the client.

  • JMorrow

    Interesting, Andrew. While I don’t remember what prices you posted, I remember thinking they were reasonable. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I contacted you about consulting in the future.

    Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but if a person can justify it, then I don’t mind paying. For example, I pay my tax attorney $400 an hour because he’s one of the best in the nation and saves me a lot of money.

    From experience, many businesspeople also equate a high hourly rate with quality service. It’s silly, but it happens. I charge about three times more than my competitors and I’m getting three times the business.

  • JMorrow

    I forgot another important point. Used in the right industries on the right projects, posting hourly rates can create a lot of business for you. I’ve found that one fairly reliable way to find executive team members is to hire several industry experts as consultants for an hourly rate and offer jobs to the ones that make the best fit. The winners receive a nice salary plus stock. In my current case, that means about $180,000 per year, plus dividends.

  • drakke

    My feeling (and I could be wrong) is that people who are unfamiliar with technology like to see prices up front. Otherwise they feel that someone will ‘pull the wool over their eyes’. Options specific to this industry that I have seen are:

    1. Offering certain ‘packages’ which are a websites with a collection of features and certain design elements. Then show them some examples of sites that adhere to the package restrictions. Any extra design or features will cost extra. Also show some work that added extras and also give the price.

    2. One company in my area does not advertise prices but shows some sites along with the prices that were charged. Although they are good, there does not seem to be too much correlation between the prices and the quality of the websites as far as I can see.

  • My personal preference when using the web to find services is to see prices and to have a general sense of the cost before I contact someone. I’ve avoided dealing with people who haven’t listed prices upfront because I don’t want to waste time sitting through a sales spiel from someone who’s going to end up miles away from what my budget can handle.

    So for my own site, I list prices for my services. I do, however give a range of prices so that I have room to tailor a quote to the project. But by showing the lowest I’m going to go, I avoid wasting my time dealing with people who expect to get a full website for $100, or a dozen custom illustrations for $20 a pop.

    I’ve also avoided hourly rates and instead price based upon complete projects. When you price based on your rate, people instantly compare you to their own salary and instinctively think ‘what the heck is so special about this guy that he gets tumpty-tump times my salary.’ If you tell them flat out, solving your problem will cost $x, they can very easily rationalize paying that amount to make a problem go away.

  • aneitlich

    Great posts! It is terrific to see the range of different strategies that people use successfully. Keep the comments coming….

  • Jon Arve

    I don’t post prices on my website, but I’ve tried both putting a price on the complete project and informing about the hourly cost. The response I often get when telling them hourly fee, is “Ok, keep it below 20 hours”.
    I think the clients like to know what the solution will cost.

  • Desired

    Wow! Thanks for the quality comments, very interesting! I had prices on my website for a year or so and have received got more jobs since removing them.

  • FWIW – We have always had our prices on our website and have had clients since past 7 years. Not very strangely though there are some who say that our website does not show enough of our work (and I agree;) )

  • jason

    I’m glad you bring up this important point:

    “because you want to assess the client situation and price based on your value to them, as well as how challenging this specific project might be.”

    It seems weird to charge differently for the same service, but often the client’s situations are so different that the service is therefore dramatically different.

    charging differently allows me to tailor my prices to the relationship, either to help catalyze one or to keep one going. excellent point of view.

  • The thing that I have found out from most clients is that they hate not knowing how much something is going to cost so they tend to not like the hourly rate approach. Clients want to know exactly what something will cost up front which is why I choose to provide a free estimat for the project. I like to use an estimate range because as most of you already know, a web project can easily go in a few different directions once production has begun. I try to avoid constantly having to go back to the client as ask for more money because of changes he/she has made during development. By using the range, I have already prepared the client up front that if things being to go in a different direction and more work was required because of a change request by the client, then the final price of the project will be closer to high end of the estimate that I provided.

    I almost always end up getting the higher end of the estimate because things never go according to plan and the client is usually fine because they were involved during the development process and know that changes were made so I do not need to justify the higher price. I have never had a problem with this method because I do not have any hidden charges or scary hourly rates.

  • heshys

    I take a hybrid approach. I tell people my hourly rate then give a range of the number of hours it will take to complete a project. I discount the houly rate slightly because I’m getting a lot of hours. The advantages are:

    * They get a range so they know what the project will cost.
    * They feel they are getting a bargain because i’ve lowered my hourly rate
    * They know my rate so they respect my time.
    * As unexpected/new features come up I tell them how many hours that would take so the client makes a consious decision whether it’s worth it.
    * The client is involved in development so they know if issues are coming up but i still try my best (and succeed) to come in within the range- even if i need to eat a few dollars- to build a relationship with the customer.

  • What a coincidence.

    I just received a call from a gentleman who wanted to know how much we charged to produce a 4 page website. I told him there were many factors when building a website and the cost could range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. That answer wasn’t good enough. He wanted to know how much. So I through out a random figure of $1000.00. He gasped and said that was way too much and hung up.

    At the time I was disappointed and relieved because it probably would have been a nightmare job if all he was concerned about was price.

    But after thinking about it, why couldn’t we create some website packages? We could appeal to two markets (1) Custom based solutions: TBD price and (2) Templated solutions: fixed price. Hmmm…

    We currently don’t post our prices for website design. Customers have many different needs and it’s just too hard to fit a nice round number into the cost of building a custom based solution.

    Purchasing a website is not like buying a Coke…or maybe it can be.

  • One reason that my company doesn’t post web development prices (besides some reasons already mentioned here), is that the prospect needs to contact you to find out the price, and then you know they’re interested. If you properly design your site to attract the prospect and establish yourself as an expert then they will want to find out your price. You have to make sure your contact information is always readily available, though.

  • EricV

    typeO, you should check out http://www.YVOD.com. They are a marketing agency that sells web site packages in just the manner in which you were speaking. The product is a website template that allows a certain number of pages, a certain format, and allows the user to plug in the information they wish. All for a cost starting at around $1000 US.

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