Should I publish my prices on my website?
Many of my customers run small beauty or complementary health clinics. They are often asking me for advice on whether or not to publish their prices. I am in 2 minds and wondered whether some of you could share your experience.
If your prices and services are comparable to those of your competitors, you're on the wrong track in the start. If you can create value added service packages and put a fixed price tag on them, you're a winner. Your competitors can't take advantage of that price, as they don't have a clue about the actual content, quality and customer added value.
If you are selling by hours or any commodity items or services, the prices are always comparable and your clients might go after a lower price. After all, only one can be the cheapest, and it is wise not to be the winner in that game.
My speciality is in creating such easy-to-buy packages that can have their prices public online. Like one of my listed company client said, "Jukka can make anything more sellable." :)
On the other hand, by showing the price you position yourself on the market. Higher price equals higher quality expectations. I go with Karen; concrete and beneficial reasons why your clients should pay more than the average market price. This is also one of my specialities to find those reasons.
A bit off topic: I've told my clients that bargaining is useless with me. If they start to bargain, I will go up with the price, as they are wasting my time. If I have a good day, I will come down to the original price. I manage well in this, as I establish a good relationship right off the bat ;)
I firmly believe in showing your prices lists and about knowing your worth and explaining to potential clients why they should use your rather than a competitor. I prefer to market my value and why they should use my services rather than marketing my price. For me Its about building the brand identity.
If they are using online shopping carts - which they should definitely use if they are selling products online, the prices are going to need to be listed not only to set up the cart, but to allow customers to go through it to make online purchases. If they aren't, no. The shopping cart is the difference maker.
You can find anything online. From stalking former high school friends to ordering your groceries, we have grown accustomed to accomplishing any task we want on the Internet. With millions of search queries right at our fingertips, we expect to find the information we need in seconds. And, when that information isn’t available, we move on to something else.
Case in point: restaurants. I bet that you are more likely to go to a restaurant with 50 Yelp reviews than a restaurant with zero reviews. In the absence of information, we grow suspicious. When information just can’t be found, we immediately start having doubts.
I believe this same thought process proves that agencies should publish their prices online. Consumers are used to seeing pricing information and expect this level of transparency. When your prices aren’t listed, potential clients will get scared. They’ll move to another website because they’ll think you’re too expensive. Or, they’ll think something is “wrong.”
Still don’t buy it? Here are three more reasons you should publish your prices online:
1. People are more likely to buy if they know they can afford it
Potential clients want to know what they’re going to pay before they can even think about purchasing a service. If they even have the slightest assumption that you’re too expensive, they won’t go through the effort of contacting you or filling out a form. Eliminate the potential for false assumptions and set expectations by being transparent with your pricing. This way, you’ll know the people who are contacting you are serious about your services.
2. Higher price = higher quality
We subconsciously associate a higher price with higher quality. If you’re communicating with two graphic designers, and one charges significantly less than the other, you’ll start having doubts about her skills and will assume her quality of work isn’t as high as the more expensive designer. This is why pricing is so important in building your credibility and reputation. When you publish your prices and explain the concrete reasons why your client should pay more than competitor X, you’re subconsciously conveying your value.
3. The opportunity to own the pricing conversation
Many people are worried about publishing their pricing for everyone, including competitors, to see. They think that listing prices tells your competitors how to “undercut” you, and gives them a look at your cost structure. Well, your competitors can easily find out your prices even if they’re not listed online. And this fear is actually a good thing! Take advantage of it and be the first one in your industry or in your city to publish your prices. You have the chance to own the pricing conversation and clearly explain why you’re charging what you’re charging. And, as an added bonus, there’s a huge SEO opportunity in publishing your prices. Because no one else wants to put prices on their site, you can easily rank for “copywriting prices” or “graphic design prices.”
You can publish your prices in a couple different ways. You could bundle your services in a package, and publish the cost of the package or packages. For example, you could have “Graphic Design Package A for $X, ” “Graphic Design Package B for $X, ” and “Deluxe Graphic Design Package for $X,” pricing each package according to deliverables.
If your prices change from project to project, you can just say, “Prices start at $X. Contact us for an exact quote.” Even if you can’t provide a specific price, you’re giving potential clients an idea of your pricing structure. You’re being transparent about your services from the get-go — that’s the most important thing. And what better way to build great relationships with clients than to lay it all on the table from day one?
Note: This originally appeared on my agency's website: http://www.nevermindmarketing.com/why-you-should-publish-your-prices-online/
I recently had this question myself. Posted it in a LinkedIn group and also spoke with many small business owners (who are my target). It was a pretty even split between service professionals saying "never post your price" and business owners saying they would be "more likely to contact someone if they knew they could afford it." If prices aren't listed, they assume it's out of their range and move on to find someone who has pricing up-front.
I wound up going with a "starting range is ...". Though I'd say the jury is still out on how it's impacting quality leads (definitely has cut down on unqualified ones though!).
As a consumer, if I don't see prices, I move on to another website because I think they must be too expensive or unrealistically priced.
As a business owner (Image Consultant), I do list prices for my services. I found that when I listed them, I received a lot more inquiries.
If prices differ depending upon the customization required, then I state: Starting at $300; contact me for a free quote.
I believe publishing a basic or starting price on your website that also includes precisely what the customer will get works best. The starting price should also be accompanied by text and/or graphics to inform visitors of your USP.
Customer trust is paramount and this approach shows transparency. Once you have a starting price you can add on extra services or products at a later stage if the customer so requires. The extras can be advertised on the same web page, as they should appeal to the same market. You should also consider offering bundles or package deals.
Price is relevant to the majority of consumers. Having a competitive starting price will inform the consumers that can afford your goods. The starting price will also save you time and effort dealing with the consumers that cannot.
I would never list my prices anywhere. First, it tells your competitors how to undercut you. Second, it doesn't allow you much room to customize projects for clients
Publishing prices will automatically remove all price concious buyers from your market. So, it depends on your target market. The reason high end salons do not publish prices is because they have the opportunity to explain the benefits of a more expensive product directly to the buyer. This results is higher profit for the salon, and a better product being used by a client.
For that business vertical, I think it's common to publish prices. Are their prices standard? If so, I don't see why not. As a marketing consultant providing several services, I don't publish exact prices myself. My website simply contains a disclaimer that my services start at $1,000 per month. It's intended -- and works to -- scare off clients who can't afford me, and hopefully draw in others who see "higher" prices as a reflection of value to be provided.
I'm assuming by publish that means on a website as opposed to other channels.
If so the rule I follow is that if you can buy it online, publish the price online.
If you cannot buy it online do not publish it online.
As has been advised by one other response - only exception I would make is that if your customers are those leading the charge in a race for the bottom on pricing then publish away.
I have two parts to my business. One is product based and I have all the pricing on the internet. Virtually none of my competitors do however. I would not have it any other way. When customers contact us there are no surprises. My prices are good but not the lowest. I also have more product info than most of my competitors. Basically when someone calls us we close a very high percentage of sales. My other part of my business is more of a service business and I have no prices on my web site. This part of my business is basically using the machines we make so it is a service business. There are too many factors that go into the pricing to really publish prices but if I could I would love to. I waste a lot of time doing estimates for people who think the price is too high although most are happy with the price.
I always appreciate it when others post their fees, so I believe in doing it as well.
Two main reasons I have heard people give as to why they don't want to post theirs:
1. Can't quote a rate because every client is different.
One way I like to address this is to consider a tiered level of service packages. (i.e. Bronze, Silver, Gold). That gives you more flexibility and you show what is included in each package and the potential client can choose the option they want (Who doesn't love having options?) You can also tack on "Customized packages and a la carte services available" so you have some wiggle room to add and delete as needed, but at least customers have an idea of the range of fees they can expect.
3. Don't want to drive them away based on price.
As others have stated, you could be driving customers away simply by not listing your price. I know there have been many times I have wished a website listed their prices...I've never wished that they hadn't. If my prices are going to scare them off, better to have that happen up front before I've invested any time or energy.
I think listing your price shows confidence in your capabilities and sends the message "Here's what I charge to help people like you, and I'm worth it."
Wendy Lees | Copywriter
This can be a difficult option, so here is my advice.
If you want to stop wasting time on potential clients and discovery calls that always end in "I can't afford it", then publish your prices. This acts as a gateway for only qualified leads to come through, so that you won't have to worry about haggling.
If your offer is high end ($10K), and you don't want to publish it, create an application or other judge of potential lead, so that you have time to demonstrate the value of what you're going to be offering, and ask pre-qualifying questions like what their budget is, and how much they are willing to invest.
It all depend on the business policy, constant updates and strategies. For some industries and businesses is counterproductive doing it. Few others, however immensely benefit when presenting 'no hidden cost' as a critical feature on their marketing. Clients need to feel well served - and planning for prices strategies is a good way to do it. There are situations in where businesses try to approach a broad and kind of segmented sectors that is hard to define prices for them publicly - in that case, you better don't show them.
This very much depends on the service offered. Product mostly yes. Services are much more complex in selling and pricing, and also easy to adjust along a spectrum of the level of service. For instance as an Executive Coach I have programs anywhere from $600/month to $12,000 per month for being a virtual Executive, interim CEO/COO etc. Clients rarely know what they need exactly and selling requires discovery of the root cause - so in this situation pricing is confusing, misleading and likely not helpful.
However, is is good to bound the lower limit to avoid the people with no budget and unrealistic expectations. I see people asking for full business plans on freelance bidding sites with a budget of $250-$500. They are clueless and essenatially failing before they start by attracting only incompetent people. Quality people will never never work for $5/hour. Their budget and expectations are literally off by a factor of ten! Don't waste your time with these people as they are horrible customers. Hence put some starting price or minimum.
I think it depends on the market.
Make sure that the businesses first and foremost promote their value proposition first, including their "differention." If this is done correctly, their prices (if you decide to display them) will have less mindshare in decision making.
N.B.: Be very cautious of price displays intened to gain marketshare. This is a slippery slope for the business and for they industry in general.
For a service, I would definitely say "no" unless your service falls into one of the two categories below:
1) it is strictly a commodity that cannot be differentiated from others offering the same service
2) You are the low price provider and you are committed to remaining the low price provider based on something you have figured out that your competition hasn’t.
By listing your prices, you are teaching your potential customers and clients that price is a primary consideration. People naturally shop price, and by listing your price, you are reinforcing this approach. I typically advise clients I consult to visit the websites of their competitors to get pricing information if it is available to see if their own pricing is competitive.
I do not believe in listing prices. There are exceptions - if you have a shopping cart, you need to display prices. This is usually for clearly defined AND bounded items.
For services or customized products - NEVER list prices.
First of all, listing prices tells your competitors how to undercut you. It also gives them an idea of your cost structure, which is not a good idea.
Most important - it keeps you from customizing an offering to your prospects needs without either sacrificing your margins or submitting a weak proposal..
Price is power if you have the right price.
Those with it proclaim. Those without don't
People know that.