Should you show your prices on your site? It’s a common question, but more than that, it’s a question I see stressing out a lot of people when they’re planning their websites.
People really agonise over it. I get it, money is a sensitive issue and talking about it makes a lot of people nervous, so publicly listing prices is bound to cause some jitters. But it really needn’t be a big issue.
So what’s the answer then?
Most of the time I’m heartily in favour of showing your prices on your site. There are a few exceptions though, and you should always do what feels right for you, your business and your customers. But publicly showing your prices does come with several benefits. Let’s take a look at how it could help your business:
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It could deter customers
Let’s start with one of the most common objections to displaying your prices: you’re worried about putting people off.
But let’s face it, if people are going to be deterred by your prices, it doesn’t matter if they see your rates on your site or if you tell them the cost by phone or email. They’re still not going to buy from you. They’re simply not in your target market.
I totally get it though. I’ve been afraid of appearing too expensive and putting people off. ‘Cos rejection sucks. But you know what? It’s actually a good thing to deter some people.
Let me explain…
I hate writing quotes. Really, properly hate it. I think I’d rather do housework than write quotes! But aside from that, even though I’ve streamlined the process as much as I can, writing quotes takes time. So I want that time to count; I want people to accept my quotes all or, more realistically, most of the time.
That means I shouldn’t be writing quotes for people who can’t afford me. I want to filter them out before we even get to the quote part of the process.
Part of that is being totally upfront about costs. They’re on my website so if people look at them and can’t afford me they’re unlikely to get in touch.
When someone does get in touch I send them an Intro Packet, outlining all sorts of info about working with me, including the costs again. So they have another opportunity to filter themselves out if we’re not suited to each other. Only after that will we have our Strategy Session and I’ll write their quote.
This process means I write fewer quotes, therefore spending less time on something I hate. And more importantly, most quotes do get accepted. And of the ones that are rejected, very few people give the price as the reason.
So when people can see your prices right there on your site, they can see immediately whether or not you fit their budget. If they can’t afford you, or aren’t willing to make that investment, they can just move along and find someone else who’s a better fit. That saves you and them a whole bunch of time – yay!
It shows that you’re affordable
Of course, there’s a flip side to this too. Some people might look at your awesome website and assume that they can’t afford you. Someone as good as you must be way out of their budget.
So they move on to the next site without ever getting in touch with you and the opportunity to work with them is gone.
But if you show your prices on your site you can avoid that. Imagine how chuffed they’ll be when they see that they can in fact afford you! That your services are totally within their budget. Yay! They’ll be filling out your contact form faster than greased lightning, super excited at the thought of working with you.
Talking about money can be awkward
I don’t know if it’s a female thing, a British thing, or just a people thing, but the money conversation is always so cringey, isn’t it?
Especially if you’re not confident about your prices. You worry that people won’t take you seriously, will think you’re too expensive (see above to deal with that one!), or even too cheap. It’s just worry, worry, worry.
But that’s just your imposter syndrome talking. That pesky wee voice loves to pop up every now and then to undermine your confidence – and where better to start than with money.
If you’re not confident about your rates, you won’t want to display them publicly. But doing just that is one of the best ways I’ve found to become more confident when talking about money.
Because when someone asks you how much you charge for something, you don’t have to get all flustered and tongue-tied, afraid of bringing out the wrong figure and underselling yourself (easily done, right?!).
Instead, you can refer them to your website where the prices are there in black and white (or whatever colour scheme your website has).
Or, assuming you can remember what your site says (a few times my mind has gone completely blank and I’ve had to check my site for prices myself!), you can simply tell them what you charge.
Having your prices out there in the open means you can assume that someone has seen them – and is happy with them – before getting in touch with you. So you don’t have to worry about the figure you tell them coming as a surprise and that instantly makes you sound more assured. But even if they haven’t seen your prices already, that assumption will help you feel more confident talking about money anyway.
What if you don’t have set prices?
If all your customers get a bespoke service and therefore an individual quote and price, it’s not as simple as just listing set prices on your website. But that doesn’t mean you can just forget about showing your prices altogether. There are a few options you could try instead of listing set prices.
The easiest option is to list ‘starting at’ prices, with the baseline cost for what you offer to give people a rough idea of what they’ll pay. It’s a good compromise so you can still filter out people who can’t afford you, without committing yourself to set prices.
Or maybe showing a price range would work better for you, showing not only the minimum cost of working with you, but the maximum cost too. That way people have a realistic idea of what they’ll need to invest in your services, without worrying about the cost increasing astronomically.
Another option is to create a price list/portfolio hybrid. You could show previous projects you’ve done, stating ‘projects like this typically cost £xxx’. That can be a great way to get someone’s imagination going and give them a real idea of what can be achieved within their budget.
But what about your competitors?
Unless you’re selling something super niche and unusual, you’ll have some competitors. And you’re probably nervous about them seeing your prices. What if they start undercutting you?
Honestly? I really wouldn’t worry about that.
Do you want to compete on price? If your rates are your main selling point you can so easily get sucked into a race to the bottom with your pricing, and that way madness lies. Do that and you’ll soon be undercharging for your work and end up overworked, frustrated and exhausted. Sound appealing? Nope, thought not.
Instead, you should be competing on the value of what you do. What do you bring to the table that makes your business and services unique? What is it that makes you special, that makes you the one they should buy from?
Make your awesomeness the thing you compete on and you become an investment rather than an expense.
Because an expense is something you need to spend money on. It’s where you usually look for the best price and don’t mind shopping around to get it, like my cheapo plimsoll trainers that I wear a lot. They look nice and are pretty comfy to wear for an afternoon. But as £15 a pair, I don’t really care if they get dirty or if they only last a few months and it won’t be a big deal if I can’t get another pair to replace them – they’re just something to put on my tootsies when I go outside.
An investment, on the other hand, is something that has value beyond the money you paid for it.
Like my current running shoes. They’re seriously the best shoes I’ve ever owned. They’re way more comfy than my plimsolls and way better at coping with my problem feet – I’d be happy to wear them all day long. And at over £100 a pair you can be sure I’m taking good care of them. I want them to last as long as possible and when they wear out I’ll be looking to replace them with another pair from the same brand, preferably the exact same model.
You see, if you’re viewed as an expense, people might be equally willing to buy from you as from one of your competitors. But when you’re seen as an investment, you create a more valuable experience and generate loyalty, so people would much rather buy from you – and would only go to a competitor if they can’t have you!
So if your competitors want to make price their selling point, why not let them get on with it. While they’re busy burning themselves out, you can be building a loyal fanbase of customers and getting a good 8 hours of sleep each night.
As you can see, adding your prices to your site gives you all sorts of benefits, from saving you time to helping you attract the right kind of customers. Why not give it a try.
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