Pricing Pages: Should You Add to Your Freelance Website?
There’s an ongoing debate amongst freelancers that revolves around whether or not to publicly display pricing on their portfolio website’s pricing page.
For many, the worry stems from the possibility that publicly sharing their rates on a pricing page will deter potential clients—especially those just outside of their typical range.
The major question then becomes: will adding pricing to your freelance website work for you or against you?
Before you get caught in a negative loop about publicly sharing pricing, I’d like to share something important that I’ve learned from an earlier career in a totally different field—sales.
Working in sales has demonstrated to me that early qualification of leads is necessary to ensure that you don’t waste too much time on a prospect who will never close. As a busy freelancer, this has become even truer—I simply don’t have time to play salesperson. I have so many other roles that demand my time and attention!
Regardless of whether you’re selling as a career or as a necessity for building your freelance business, the idea of lead scoring—creating a system to qualify leads in terms of their value—is one that deserves some thought. After all, regardless of which particular role you find yourself in, you still have to hit certain targets in order to make sure that you make an income at the end of the day!
Before attempting to definitively answer the question of whether or not adding public pricing information will hurt your freelance business, let’s take a look at some of the other aspects of the possible existence of a pricing page that plague freelancers:
Pricing Page Considerations
The traditional sales model involves relationship building and working through objection before finally quoting a price to close the deal. Having an extended conversation can unveil the ability to upsell on additional products/services that a person might not even know they needed but are open to. It also gives you the opportunity to collect “softballs” (another term from my sales days), or problems a prospect is having that you know your solution can solve (which you can then use in your eventual pitch with pricing).
However, B2B sales has certainly shifted recently in terms of prospect education and the sales process.
Nowadays, 57% of the B2B buying decision is already made before finally connecting with a salesperson. Before they ever talk to you (or any other related service providers), it’s likely that they’ve already done their own research, which likely involves benchmarking your price compared to your competition.
Knowing this, why not arm your prospects with the information they’re so desperately seeking out?
In doing so, by the time they do get in touch, you’ll know that price isn’t an objection. Furthermore, this saves you some time wearing your “business development” hat so you can instead spend time on directly revenue-generating activities while wearing your “web developer” hat.
Here are a few considerations to ponder when it comes to adding a pricing page to your freelance portfolio website:
- Will it deter people right outside my price range? The short answer? More than likely. But think of it this way—the people who are going to nickel and dime you are probably not your ideal clients. I learned this the hard way in my freelance writing business—spending more time giving concessions than keeping the time I spent on discounted work open for more lucrative clients. Lesson learned: your time is valuable and the right clients won’t take that for granted. Furthermore, it’s usually small businesses that are the most budget-conscious. To be a six-figure freelancer (or whatever more lucrative income goals you might have), you’re going to want to focus on medium/large businesses, anyways. I realize that I’m generalizing but it’s a lesson I wish I’d learned earlier on!
- Will people think I’m charging more than I’m worth? That depends—what do you think you’re worth? Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself”? Same concept. It certainly helps to get the point across if you can back up all the great things you say about yourself with social proof—like third party testimonials and client logos—on your pricing page.
- …Or will people think that by adding pricing, I’m commoditizing myself? This seems to be a common thread when discussing the idea of publicizing pricing on a freelance portfolio website. Like, only “cheap” freelancers make it this easy to access pricing. I can sort of understand the thought behind it but ultimately, it’s the pricing itself—not the action of displaying it—that communicates the value you bring to a project (and the value you feel in yourself).
- What will my contractors think? This is a tough one. If you’re subcontracting client work to contractors, it’s fair to assume that they might stumble across your pricing page and understand the gap between what you make and what you’re paying them. But just because you’re making it public doesn’t really change the fact that they already know this—it just gives them the opportunity to see the raw numbers. It’s been my experience that contractors understand the value that I bring to a project: my experience attracts high-quality clients, I handle business development, project management, and any edits/cleanup that need to happen before a client gets a final deliverable. There’s a value in that that can’t be denied and that likely won’t be challenged—both within their own thoughts or outwardly by mentioning it to you.
- Will it push people toward my competition? If a prospect is especially price sensitive, yes. But again, do you want budget clients? Can you really make a living off of appeasing everyone who asks you for a discount?
- Where do I fall in the industry average? This question is best answered through a bit of competitive research in terms of your service offerings and the industry you cater to. If you can’t find publicly posted pricing for other freelancers or agencies, it never hurts to do a little recon via an inquiry on their contact page/via phone call, with details that represent your average client project.
- Will people be more focused on pricing than the value of my services? It all depends on how you present it to them. If your pricing page is a bare-bones menu of services and pricing, then it’ll be pretty easy to dismiss. If you instead take the time to create a compelling sales page, including a laundry list of deliverables and insight into your process working with clients, then it will be much easier for prospects to understand the value that you bring to a project. Present yourself as an experienced professional and you will likewise be seen as such. Again, adding social proof can be critical to converting attention to a first contact.
- Instead of listing exact pricing, can I provide a range—or a minimum for working together? Of course! This is especially recommended if your deliverables tend to vary a lot by project. The idea is to use pricing as a signal for the type of clients (and budgets) you’d like to work with. Check out Ryan Robinson’s pricing page for an example of this in action:
Also consider wording such as, “My hourly rate is x” and “Hire me for min x hours” to set expectations for the type of projects you’re interested in taking on for project pricing that’s impossible to state more clearly.
- Will adding pricing to my website restrict me to a certain budget range for all projects? For the rest of my life? Here’s the beautiful thing about WordPress websites—you can update them whenever you want. Think of your published pricing as a place to start the conversation—not a strict guideline for how to run your business for the rest of your life. Create urgency for action by adding a note that pricing goes up once a year on x date and, if it makes sense for your business, that current clients will be able to lock in pricing for a certain period of time to reward them for their loyalty.
When it comes to pricing pages and the question of whether having one might hurt your business, try to think of it this way: it might feel like a waste of time to both parties if you’re completely out of range, hurting the relationship moving forward. Sometimes, a client isn’t a good fit right now… but they might be later. Or, they might not be able to work with you but they’ll keep you in mind when others are looking for similar services. By being upfront with the people interested in working with you, you’re creating trust—the most important aspect of sales.
Another argument for having a pricing page: an employee might be doing research for another decision maker and not listing prices may mean not being on that final list of professionals to consider.
The easier you make yourself to hire, the more likely you are to be hired! It’s really that simple.
When it comes to creating your pricing page, here are a few questions to ask yourself to help shape the final output:
- What type of client am I trying to attract? How can I signal that on my pricing page? Consider the implications of listing hourly rates vs retainer pricing.
- Are my services fairly straightforward? Complicated pricing is better discussed personally though it can be helpful to provide a range on your freelance portfolio website, so prospects can determine if they’re in the right range. Add qualifiers to your pricing, such as: rush fees may apply, extra fees for project management, etc.
- Would listing pricing negatively impact current clients in some way? If the answer is yes, how?
- Do you want to be charging certain clients different prices? If so, why? I personally think it’s shady to upcharge just because you know a prospect company is bigger than your average client. Act with ethics and you’ll be able to charge high prices to everyone!
The Benefits of Creating (and Publishing) a Pricing Page
Pricing is just a guideline. Certainly, both you and your prospects are aware that not all project pricing fits neatly into a box.
Here are some of the benefits of adding pricing to your freelance portfolio website:
- It creates a low-effort inbound marketing/sales funnel. Though not directly related to WordPress web development, allow me to share a relevant example of how my inbound marketing funnel works. First, people read my bylined articles on websites like WPMU DEV. If they’re looking for a content marketer in the same industry, they find my portfolio link in my author bio and check out my portfolio website. They navigate around, stumbling on my services pages if they’re curious about what it would be like to work with me. They’re presented with more information about my experiences, processes, clients, and pricing—then finally, a contact form. When someone gets in touch with this form, I know that they’ve already been exposed to my pricing—the deal is all but closed!
- Everyone who contacts you is qualified for price so you can focus on closing the deal—not being a salesperson. Why waste time on people who you won’t be able to close based on price, anyway? You don’t want to waste their time, either.
- It acts as an easy reference point when pitching new clients. No need to put a price sheet together—it’s already on your website!
- Pricing is a trust signal and it shows that you’re confident in yourself. Customers will pick up on that, positively.
- Even if you don’t have any clients at your published price yet, showing off confident pricing is a solid branding tactic.
- Creating a pricing page is a good excuse to update your pricing and make more money!
- You can use it as a bargaining tool with current clients. For example, you might open the conversation to increase rates by saying: “New clients are being charged x rate—I’ll reward you for your loyalty by only charging you x more than your current rate when my pricing officially increases”.
- Super budget-driven clients are some of the hardest to work with. Use your pricing page to discourage them from wasting your time on a call or proposal.
- Having pricing on your website means that you also have the opportunity to convert on the spot (if you want to). With the right checkout process in place, people can prepay for your services even without talking to you!
How to Create Your Pricing Page
Ok, so let’s assume that you’re convinced that your freelance portfolio website needs a pricing page. How do you go about successfully putting it together?
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Display pricing at the end of your service pages. Since you’re trying to cut down on time spent on business development, use your portfolio website to doing the selling for you. Present your value first and lead to pricing information—then a contact form immediately after!
- Clearly lay out information for your most “straightforward” pricing plans. Like Hootsuite, spell out the differences between different tiered offerings. Ask prospects to “get in touch” if they don’t see anything that fits their needs exactly, letting them know that there are more options than just what’s displayed on your website.
- Use pricing tables. Whether you hand code them, make use of a theme feature, or use a pricing table plugin, pricing tables represent a clean and recognizable heuristic for displaying pricing. Besides just listing your services and pricing, add additional details regarding deliverables in each tier.
- A/B test your services pages. If you’re having issues converting traffic to your service pages, consider A/B testing the names of each pricing tier, the specific deliverables listed, and even the pricing!
- Offer pricing as a “lead magnet”. If you’re still wary of offering public pricing, consider giving it to prospects in exchange for an email address. This way, they’re still empowered to access this important information on-demand, while you also get a recorded lead out of the deal.
- Create scarcity. Use your pricing page to encourage people to “book you” in the future or “apply” to work together. This will shift their focus from any concerns they might have with your pricing to be more concerned about making sure they’ll have timely access to your expertise!
Pricing Pages: Should You Add to Your Freelance Website?
The answer to the question of whether or not to use pricing pages on your freelance website is entirely personal. Some are vehemently against it, while others (including myself) have found success by essentially cutting this step out of the sales process.
Before making a decision regarding your pricing pages, make sure that you have an in-depth understanding of your own services and the exact type of customers you’re trying to attract. With this foundational knowledge, you’ll be well prepared to make a decision that makes sense for your freelance business.