Should you advertise your pricing and rates?
Whether you design full-time or part time, setting prices for your design services is a nerve-wracking task. You may have a good idea of what your value is and how much our design is valued. It's a fine line between finding good clients and clients who are happy to pay your rates.
It's no surprise that we get frustrated with the “tire kickers” who think that a logo shouldn't cost more than $5. Or those who take up hours of our time only to let us know that their budget is 1/10th of what we need to charge. It boils into a client who can't believe someone would charge more than $5 for a logo and a designer who can't believe someone thinks it's worth less than $1,000.
Out of frustration, some designers take the added step of adding pricing to their site in response. You might see the phrase “Logos starting at $1,000.” If the client doesn't want to spend that kind of money, they can move on without wasting time.
On one hand, this sounds like a great idea, right?
You get rid of the tire kickers. Yay! But on the flip side, it can work against you too. I know this sounds weird, and it will sound downright crazy to newer designers: this can turn away larger clients. If its your goal to work with big companies, its worth noting that they often have a view of work being too cheap—by their definition. To you, $1,000 may be a lot for a logo. For them, they may be looking for a branding package of at least $10,000 or more. Publishing your pricing in a firm format just lost you $9,000 or more.
It can also lock you into a lower rate than what you'd like to charge. Clients often hold on strongly to the first number they see from you. They may assume that the sample pricing fits their project, even if its not the apporpriate service. When it comes time for negotiation, that's your battle: talking them out of a price you unintentionally threw out. If you're a good negotiator, you may be able to get things back on track, but it's usually an uphill, difficult battle.
But that said, let's say you do decide to bite the bullet and show some form of pricing on your website. What's a good way to go about it?
I was inspired by a designer years ago who put a twist on advertising their prices. Rather than saying a website would cost $X or a logo would cost $Y, they offered pricing ranges. A visitor could use a slider to select the price range they were budgeting for and the corresponding description would tell them what they could typically expect for it.
The crucial element was that the price ranges were very large. On the low side, a small client wouldn't feel priced out. Larger clients felt more comfortable with the higher end of those ranges. In either case, it wasn't painting them into a corner with a specific price and still allowed them some room if a potential project came with a twist.
It was a beautiful solution.
That said, I still recommend you do you do take some caution towards this approach. Again, when somebody gets a number stuck in their mind, it's usually the one that they end up expecting to pay. And ultimately, it can either hurt you or help you. But it all depends on how you position it. And how you make the client feel that they're getting the most for what they're paying while at the same time, keeping a roof over your head.