An Argument for Transparent Pricing in Web Design

If you’ve seen a lot of web design agency sites lately, you might have noticed that they all share a few common traits:

  • Needlessly vague wording (if I have to hear "integrated solutions" or "innovative solutions" one more time, I may break).
  • Clean design.
  • Absolutely no pricing details whatsoever. Prospective clients are forced to fill out a quote request form to get even a general price range.

The last point is what I’ll be talking about.

Example of a quote request form found on the Foundation Six contact page.

Somewhere along the line, someone must’ve told all the web designers in the world that publicly disclosing our prices is a terrible thing to do.

The thinking goes a little like this. If you market yourself on price, you’ll get clients who only care about price. If you advertise yourself as a service or as in investment then you’ll get clients who will pay whatever it takes to achieve their design goals.

Makes sense, right? When I founded my web design business, Plato Web Design, I certainly thought so. And, for years, we kept our pricing details under wraps.

Then, last year, we decided to make a simple change: We started openly showing our prices on our site.

And not in some tucked away pricing page either. We placed our prices right on our site’s home page.

Transparent pricing displayed on the home page of Plato Web Design.

Our reasoning behind this is pretty simple: Eventually you’re going to have to talk about costs. Why not get it out of the way early?

Results

Being completely open with our web design prices has led to:

  • 15% increase in revenue
  • 20% more returning clients
  • An incredibly simplified sales process

Let me talk about some of the biggest benefits we’ve gotten from transparent pricing.

We Save Loads of Time

In the past, we spent the majority of our days having fuzzy discussions with prospective clients that, as we’d later find out, didn’t have the budget required for our services.

With our pricing now openly listed on our website, we entertain far fewer clients outside of our target market, and we know that the leads we do receive have seen our prices, and are comfortable with them.

In other words, we’re able to prequalify our leads, saving us a lot of time as well as allowing us to focus on clients that are more likely to work with us.

We Make More Money

We improved our average revenue per client by about 25% and total revenue by 15%.

When you’re pitching to a client that has a vague budget range, you’re forced to play a guessing game: You can either go for the big sale (with lots of services included) and risk scaring them off due to sticker shock, or you can go for the lower-priced, but more guaranteed, sale.

But there’s no need to play this guessing game, because most clients are willing to tell you how much they’re willing to spend.

Once we’ve gotten a cursory understanding of what a client wants, we come up with a fast ballpark figure and run it by them. Something like: "That’s probably going to run you $4,000-$6,000. Is that comfortable for you?"

If they say "no", we come up with a pared-down solution. If they say "yes", we know we have some leeway to work with.

When we’re more aware of what clients intend to spend on their site, we’re able to fit our offerings to their budget.

We Stopped Scaring Potential Clients Away

Good design firms have sites that look amazing. And when you put in that much time and effort to make your site look awesome without disclosing your prices, you can give potential customers the wrong idea that you’re way out of their price range, even if you aren’t.

We Build Trust Early

When you’re upfront and transparent about the costs of your services, something strange happens: Your clients start to thank you for it. Being open with our prices helps earn the trust of our clients.

The art of on-boarding new clients is about building trust and finding a way to make their life easier. Transparent pricing helps do both.

When we openly disclose our prices, it gives clients the idea that we’ll also be transparent and straightforward with everything else we do.

The Bottom Line

Being transparent with our prices gives us more qualified leads, generates more revenue, and helps us develop trustworthiness very early in the project cycle.

It may not be right for every business, but if you’re in web design, I really believe it’s a no-brainer.

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