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Should my pricing be public?

Should my pricing be public?

I don’t think I could continue being called the ‘Pricing Queen’ if I didn’t have some sort of answer to this question, especially because it’s one that I get asked a lot.

I don’t think I could continue being called the ‘Pricing Queen’ if I didn’t have some sort of answer to this question, especially because it’s one that I get asked a lot.

If you struggle to put a dollar amount on your time, click here to grab my Free Pricing Calculator here and run your numbers for yourself.

It’s the best way to work out your unique recipe for your prices.

You’ve probably wondered not only how to structure your pricing, but whether to make your rates publicly and freely available.

Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as ‘yes you should’ or ‘no you should not’. I will give you my thoughts on it, but first, let’s look at some pros and cons.

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Pro: You can quickly weed out the ones who absolutely cannot afford you

Something we all have to deal with is tyre kickers. The ones who take a heap of your time, give you their life story, pick your brain (and pick it some more), only to respond with a shocked ‘are you kidding me? I can’t afford that!’ when you finally do give them a price.

Being transparent about your rates (on your website, for example) can stop this from happening. The ones who aren’t qualified to buy from you will learn that before they’ve had the chance to give you a run around.

Pro: It’s clear you have nothing to hide

Some prospective clients can be a bit sus when your prices aren’t slapping them across the face. They think that you’re being cagey and may end up charging more than you say you will. By putting your prices somewhere public, it helps ease this worry and build trust.

Pro: It’s obvious that your rates are the same, regardless of who the client is (and how cashed up they are)

A large business with a higher budget may be sick of freelancers bumping up the price simply because the company can afford to pay it. Being public about your rates helps overcome these hesitations and assures them that each client is equal.

Con: You’re less likely to communicate as much as you should

Because some people think that price is the only thing that determines who they choose as their freelancer, having your pricing public can mean you and your new client don’t communicate as much as you should.

They think they’ve got all the information they need, and because they haven’t asked for any clarification, you assume the same. The miscommunication doesn’t reveal itself until the deposit has been paid and you’ve submitted the first draft.

Suddenly you realise that their definition of a branding kit is very different to yours.

Now you’ve got to squirm through the awkward conversations that should’ve happened at the beginning. If they had, they wouldn’t have been awkward, nobody would be out of pocket, and you wouldn’t have invested time into something you might not be adequately paid for.

Con: It limits opportunities for you to upsell

This one is somewhat connected to the previous point about communication. When someone has to contact you for your pricing, it gives you opportunity to flex your awesome sales skills.

They’re obviously interested enough to get in touch, so make sure you do your due diligence in establishing all their needs (especially the ones they might not even realise they have). If they contact you for a logo, you could find a way to casually explain how important an entire branding package is (colour palette, fonts, etc).

Suddenly they realise that just a logo isn’t enough to get them where they need to be, and you’re quoting for something much larger than they’d originally planned for.

Con: it allows your sneaky competitors to undercut you

Honestly, I don’t usually give much thought to my competitors, but this is something to be aware of (especially if you’re starting out).

Unfortunately, there are competitors out there who don’t understand that pricing isn’t necessarily what secures a project. Therefore, their entire competitive edge is to become cheaper than you for (seemingly), the “same thing”.

You might be very clever in the way you package up and price your services to the point that it actually becomes a selling point for you. A competitor who comes along and copies it word-for-word isn’t a headache you need to deal with.

So DO I think your pricing should be public? Somewhat.

Because there are pros and cons to both, we need to take a little from column A and a little from column B.

When it comes to pricing, I suggest having ballpark figures publicly available, or ranges to give your clients an idea, but not much more than that.

Overall, the cons mostly outweigh any pros. The only reason I suggest having a ballpark is to quickly weed out those who absolutely cannot afford you. Apart from that, having them work for your prices gives you far more opportunity to communicate and actually seal the deal.

We want to do everything we can to encourage them to reach out, and keeping your rates private does just that.
It also keeps your competitors guessing….

Update… kinda…

So back when I published this blog a few years ago, I had some pretty particular feelings around the publicity of pricing and how clients could access the ticket price of our genius.

Well… *spoiler alert* I’ve learned a few more things that have helped me form new thoughts about this topic. And rather than ditch the original recipe, I thought I’d simply add the extra nuggets of wisdom here.

Some things should be private…

I still think things like hourly rates and bespoke project pricing should be held a little closer to the chest. For those scenarios, the price will vary and differ greatly when taking into account things like the type of client and the value you’re bringing to the table.

A great way to navigate this process is to have your prices on the other side of an enquiry process like submitting a brief or a opt-in download of a services guide. This way, you’re managing expectations and creating something that accurately reflects the job at hand.

BUT some things should be public.

If you’re someone who offers productised services, VIP days or creative retainers, having your price readily available for consideration is important in the buying process for the client. They’re looking for solutions to their problem, and they need the answer fast.

Of course, you don’t have to have these prices in big, bold letters across the page, but you can offer some starting from numbers, tiered pricing or have those interested provide their email details to download the price list.

In the end, depending on how you generally communicate with your clients and the process you go through to take them from interested to client, you have to decide what works best for you and your own freelance offerings.

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