My friend, Dana Reeves, is launching a new site for her new business, called Kablam Creative and asked me about how I came up with what I was charging for my website design packages so she could get some insight into how to price her services.
Pricing…. Let’s see. I am really getting to know my target market, as I have been working with my peeps for over two years and over 100 sites. My favorite market is start-up entrepreneurs and small businesses and they are often cost conscious, have a lot to do and learn and usually not funded with venture capital! And when there is a lot of competition out there from people who can throw together a website, I have to offer and be clear about the value added services that you get from working with me, over what a person can get for a ridiculously low amount of money from their husband’s nephew’s friend. I actually get a lot of business from people who have wasted valuable time and, therefore, money and opportunities going that route and then finding out that they have a static site they cannot update, the coding is wrong, it is not set up to be able to get good search engine optimization without paying for it, or the way the information is designed or the message is stated does not get people to stay on the site or convert them into customers. I bring years of marketing, business and psychology experience to my work, as well as technological savvy and the ability to design a site that reflects a person’s online persona in a way that sells. That is hard to come by and worth the money.
When I put together my packages, I based my decisions on a combination of what I thought I could ask for and get (two different concepts, since sometimes we are afraid to ask for what we should be getting) and how much of my personal time was involved in doing each level of service. Although I can spend more time with a client at a particular level, especially if I am grooving on the creativity of their project, I have a way to say enough, if they are getting OCD with their perfection anxiety. I can tell them they are rapidly approaching spending all of their design hours on the logo and we haven’t even gotten to the website yet.
Sarah Robinson, from Escaping Mediocrity, says you have to price yourself high enough for a prospective client to take you seriously. I see a lot of people starting out pricing way too low. It is obvious, even to a lay person, that something is very wrong. Price your product and services competitively and you can always go down for a special client you want to work with. I have a soft spot for artists and often give them a break. They also appreciate your time more. If someone knows they are getting a good deal, they are more likely to be on their best client behavior.
It is also a good idea to have at least one product package that is the the “gold standard” of what you do. Make it something they your clients would really really want. Make it just outside what you think their comfort level is. You will get some of these. But it also makes the next level down easier to pull the trigger on. It is also good for our own sense of boundaries.
I have done actual building and some kitchen renovations in my past lives. I like this analogy. Someone comes to me and they say, “I really need to redo my horrible kitchen. It completely doesn’t work for me anymore. But, I only have $16,000. Can you help me with this?” I say, “Sure, we can do a lot to make your kitchen functional and updated on your budget. Let’s make a plan.” So we do and then we are working on it and the client says, “Wow, I am loving the kitchen and gee wouldn’t a Viking Stove look great in here?” I say, “Sure would, too bad that isn’t in the budget. I can really see that working here.” End of story because we both know the client cannot afford the Viking Stove. However, when it is a web design client who has a starter budget and I agree to work with them and then they get into it and want a featured post j-query slide show and have no images or budget for it, I have to be careful, since I know it would look much better and I could “whip it together.” But, I have to have the boundary and know that it would take hours of my time and they cannot afford this. So, I have to be able to say, “Yes, that sure would be great to have that fabulous slide show and you should keep a list for things you can do when you start to bring in some money.”
I think Dana’s target market is much the same as mine. I have a feeling my pricing levels are probably in the same ballpark as hers. But when people are starting out and they need marketing help and a website, then they often have to decide how to spread their money out. Something usually suffers. Dana would be wise to work up a pricing list that includes everything they will need to get started. Or if they are an existing business, what do they need for a marketing program to be effective? If they have an old, outdated website, they will need to have that updated for them to convert their clients. So, once she has a list of services, she can work backwards to figure out what they get at each level and make the first level pricing a mostly do it yourself, fill in the blanks worksheet heavy model and very little of her time. Whereas, the more deluxe package will include everything and includes more time from you or your team. My levels for single entrepreneurs are $1,500, $2,500 and $4,500. These prices go up for larger businesses with departments, committees or more levels of buy in and approval involved.
Chris Guillebeau, in his Empire Builder’s Kit, talks about the concept of “price buckets.” He said that for each business, their are certain price ranges for things at different levels. If a client could pay $39.00 for a webinar, they might just as easily pay $59.00. So you need to figure out what the various “buckets” are for each of your services and not just go low, since a client will just as soon pay the highest rate in that bucket as the lowest. This may be true in my case too. If someone wants the Best in Breed Package, which does include a great deal of my time, both consulting and design time, if they are okay about spending $4,500, they may also be fine with paying $6,000.
What do you think about pricing? How does it work in your niche or industry? Any insights? Love to here them.