I get many questions about running a design business. The most common questions I get are: “how much should I charge for a website?” or “how much does a website cost?” I never give an exact answer.
I see budding entrepreneurs getting bogged down with service lists where they want to specify exact tasks for exact prices. I think publishing these service lists is a complete waste of time and potentially damaging to their business – I’ll explain why…
Every client is different
One thing I’ve learnt from doing graphic and web design as a business since 2006 is that clients will always surprise you. Just when you think you’ve been asked for everything by clients, you will be asked for something that completely blows you out of the water.
Publishing a list of services is arbitrary and therefore pretty useless. Sure, I have a list of tasks I always complete for every website I create. They are included in my web design contract and web design proposal templates. But most clients don’t know what an XML sitemap is so there’s no need to give them this information. Just tell them the site will be indexed by the search engines.
So specifying such services is a waste of time. But adding a price to this list of services is as well and could also be damaging.
Why you shouldn’t publish your fees
This is going to sound terrible but I’m going to tell the truth. As I say, every client is different. Some clients have more money than others.
Quite simply, if a large Fortune 500 company and an independent entrepreneur ask about a similar type of service, I will quote two different prices. Yes, I will charge the richer company more money for exactly the same job. I feel no shame in doing this whatsoever.
I don’t care who reads this either. My clients that are Fortune 500 companies won’t be reading this blog and my clients that are independent entrepreneurs will.
List your services and prices in private
By all means, compile a list of all the services you offer and the prices you wish to receive for delivering these services. Keep them in a text file on your hard drive and don’t expose them to the general public.
But don’t pour hours and hours of hard work creating multiple service strategies and rack your brains to attach prices to them. Because you can never pre-empt clients in this business. They are bound to ask for something that is not on your list of services. And, if they do, you have to appear ready to take on the challenge instead of saying, “oh, that’s not on my list.”
The list of services will restrict you in the eyes of the client.
Blog, blog, blog
At the end of the day, who spends any time at all on your “About us” or “Services” page? No one.
Nine times out of ten, people will arrive on your blog having searched for something very specific or having clicked on an interesting-looking link from social media.
The blog is where all the eyeballs are and where the engagement happens. Blog about the bits of your job you are specifically interested in.
The exception to this rule
The exception to the rule is when you sell digital products on your site generating passive income. In this case, obviously, you should always publish your prices. But, your graphic and web design fees? Your hourly rate? Your consultation fees? No, never!
You can do it
You can sell your services via your website and run your own online business. But keep your cards close to your chest when it comes to money.