Should You Display the Rate Card for Your Agency on Your Website

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Deciding whether to publish your agency or freelancer rates?

When creating a website for your agency or freelance business, you’re going to create your home page, about page, services page, contact page, and even your portfolio. You’ll even decide between unmanaged or managed hosting.

However, there is one thing that you still need to figure out:

Will you publish your pricing or make your rate card public on your site?

When deciding whether or not to display your rate card on your website and be completely transparent about all of your pricing, you need to factor in:

  • What type of clients you serve and how savvy they are
  • What type of work you’re doing
  • What project levels you offer
  • What price point you’re at
  • Whether or not you want the flexibility to adjust pricing as needed

Now some agency owners and freelancers say you should make your pricing public and others are abhorred by the idea—and neither camp is right or wrong.

Whether or not you make your rate card public is up to you, but to help make that decision easier, we’re going to run through some pros and cons of publishing your pricing on your website and an alternate option if you can’t decide.

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Pros of Displaying Your Rate Card

As more and more businesses add eCommerce and online purchasing options to their sales strategy, consumers are becoming conditioned to expect a price to be displayed or to look for the pricing page on a website—and if they can’t find either of those, they’ll turn to social media to ask their networks about the cost.

Being transparent with your pricing and displaying your rate card on your website can be very helpful if you:

  • Compete on price, sell products, courses, or programs, or offer a commoditized service
  • Get a lot of inquiries about how much things cost
  • Need to weed out tire-kickers and bargain hunters who will never become a client
  • You don’t have time to deal with prospects who aren’t a great fit and ready to get started

Public pricing removes any questions, uncertainty, concerns, or nervousness about the investment required to work with you.”

Public pricing allows you to position yourself in the market effectively and your prospects to figure out if they are a great fit on their own—and when prospects know your pricing before they come to the sales call, the sales process is much shorter and easier.

Plus, let’s be honest, if clients ran the world, all pricing would be public. It’s why the very first question many clients ask is, “How much does a website cost?”

displaying your rate card

Cons of Displaying Your Rate Card

On the flipside, there are very strong arguments against displaying your rate card on your website and most are centered around misunderstandings, assumptions, and lack of flexibility.

For example, many agencies and freelance designers and developers don’t have a set price. Instead, they offer package pricing or value-based pricing that changes based on the scope of work, the timeline, and the client.

The arguments against publishing pricing on your website are quite obvious:

  • If a prospect sees your rate card on your website, they may automatically decide it’s too expensive and eliminates you from the discussion. Or they may think you’re too cheap and rule you out for not being at the level they need. Both decisions will be made without you ever having a chance to speak with them.
  • If your prices are public, it will enable your competition to use it against you or undercut you in competitive bidding situations.
  • When you publish your pricing, you can get stuck to that pricing structure and potentially lose out on larger budgets and larger projects. Oh, and you know those awesome portfolio-building projects you might charge less for just to win the project—you’ll probably lose out on those too.
  • If you publish itemized rates for things like administrative time, travel, and project management, in addition to the rates for design and development, the client may feel like you’re “nickel and diming them” — even if it’s what you’d do anyway in a package situation.

Another Option

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should display your rate card on your website, there is one other option. You can publish “starting at” pricing to establish project investment minimums. This approach is perfect for agencies and freelance designers and developers because it:

  • Sets a minimum price to weed out the tire-kickers and bargain hunters
  • Helps prospective clients see if they’re a good fit or their budget aligns with your pricing
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