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Putting your design prices on your Site

...tired of sticker shocked clients

9:11 pm on Oct 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Do you have an "FAQ" or something similar on your web design company's site that alludes to your pricing?

I am not talking about the "$499 for 5 pages" menu crap. I am talking about giving an accurate idea about possible costs of a hand coded site built from scratch.

I think many people, business owners included, live in a delusion that a full-blown website still costs "Eight Hunnerd Bucks"

So many potential clients come in wanting the moon, and then are blown out of the water when they get my proposal. They want a fully developed site with an all-new design, CMS to manage it all, an HTML e-newsletter, photo galleries, a little flash, secure forms, multiple layers of security, on and on, and then SHRIEK at the price.

I recently had a young lady show me a really nice flash portfolio website that she wanted to recreate to highlight her graphic design portfolio, and wanted to spend between $150 and $500.

I am at the point, career-wise, where I would like to entertain serious inquiries only - corporate ad managers who realize that you have to spend money to have a professionally designed functional site. OTOH, I don't want to scare anyone off.

Has anyone done so, on their site? I.e. "professionally designed sites can be costly - prices can run anywhere from $X,#*$!.00 to $XX,#*$!.00 depending on your needs".


8:21 pm on Oct 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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good topic. I find that I get a lot of potential clients in the same frame of mind you are getting also. No idea the amount of hours that go into custom designs. That said, I still do not put any price structure at all on my site. I even have a "Pricing" page but I don't list pricing. I simply try to explain that there's no way to give an accurate quote without discussing the needs of the project. I think maybe it's dangerous to put out any numbers at all before evaluating the situation. I see your point though, as I said, good topic.
8:40 pm on Oct 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I provide an al a cart pricing menu and still people get sticker shock. I recently had in inquiry about a design, hosting, and cart, and when I ask what their budget was, they literally asked "budget?" Ultimately, i told them to use a free store on PP or G or anyone like that. But yes, ignorance runs deep when it comes to cost. In the same vein, people will spend several hundred a month to be in the yellow pages. Go figure.


12:11 am on Oct 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I provide an al a cart pricing menu and still people get sticker shock.

I would never nor have I ever put my prices on my site. I think doing so turns our profession into a commodity instead of a customized marketing profession. After all I don't see too many attorneys list their price on their sites, so why should we do it?

I price my services as Alan Weiss discusses in his book "Million Dollar Consultant" which is to say value based pricing. My fees have shot up dramatically since doing this. My nearest direct competitor can't lay a glove on me in almost every case. Don't get me wrong, I have lost out jobs on a couple of situations because of my higher prices, but I am confident that in those cases I wouldn't have wanted to work for those clients. Low paying clients are like a cancer, they start out small but eventually kill you. They are demanding and their list of "just one more little change" never ends.

I have a few tools to get around sticker shock. The first is the phone. When they call I get a discussion started about their expectations. Once I have a brief idea of what they need I throw out my minimum price to work on it. Basically I word this like..."well, Mr. Client based on what you are telling me you are probably looking at starting somewhere near $#*$!#*$!#*$!x for the project and going up from there." If I get silence or hear a body hit the floor on the other end of the phone then I am not out much more than a 5-10 minute phone call.

If on the other hand they are ok with this then I will invest more time in actually meeting with them. At the meeting I pour on the salesmanship skill and show the full value. Once I have them on the ropes I hit em with the proposal with at least 3 options from very expensive for option one and my starting price quoted on the phone for option 3. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has ever taken the lowest option. They usually sign at level 1 or 2.

I close at almost 80% for my proposals. Now I should qualify that and say I give less proposals than other companies, but the ones I give are much more lucrative and close at a much higher rate. As a result I make more cash for less work and almost never deal with low/late paying clients that complain forever. Absolutely wonderful!

1:47 am on Oct 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Alan Weiss discusses in his book "Million Dollar Consultant"

Thanks for that reference. I took a look at it on A and will be getting a copy ASAP.

I just sort of shot myself in the foot by taking what should have been a small job on a fixed price basis. Scope creep is killing me. I had originally intended never to go fixed price on web design but to go time and materials. After taking a look at the book I think there might be a better way of doing things. (ie project based but in a way that maximizes revenue).

Anyway, thanks fortunehunter for the lead on that book.


1:48 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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shot myself in the foot by taking what should have been a small job on a fixed price basis. Scope creep is killing me.

I have done this as well. In fact, my recommendation to Alan Weiss is also a form of fixed price quoting. Granted Alan's fees are high, but still fixed. Scope creep is a problem regardless of how you price unless it is by the hour.

I believe the secret is clearly defining what is included for the price. Then include a simple statement that says items outside the scope are subject to another project fee or fees above and beyond quote.

Now when scope creep occurs, and it will, you need to make a few decisions. First, is the request small enough that by doing it you aren't really out much, but it could be used to give a lot of goodwill to a client that is already paying a substantial fee and may come back in the future? If so, I usually just do it.

However if I have a low or late paying client and the request is larger than a simple change or I doubt I will get any future work from them then I simply tell them straight up that their request is outside of the scope and it will be "X" to add it in there. For the low/late payers this is usually enough to back them off. If they really want it they will pay for it. If on the other hand they were just trying to get extra work added and figured you wouldn't object then doing this tells them anything outside of our agreement is going to cost them more. Note you may have to repeat this process 2-3 times for the stubborn client, but eventually they will get the lesson.

By no means am I perfect at this. I think it is always a learning curve, but I am really starting to see that scope creep from small clients with little chance of repeat business can kill you and you have to be tough and show some spine to keep from losing money.

11:19 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I post something that says prices start at $#*$!x. Seems to have cut down on the calls from startups who don't want to spend any money.

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