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How to Price your Products and Services with Confidence {Part One}

40 Days of Blogging - Day 9

Ahhh, the question of the century: How do I price my products and/or services?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if I had the answer to that question? Of course it would!

Well, I don’t REALLY have the answer. But, I do have some advice – because there really isn’t one magical answer when it comes to pricing.

{Side note: As soon as I finished writing this post, I realized it really needed to be divided into a few parts based on sub-topics that came to mind as soon as I typed a certain word. You’ll know the word when you get to the end of the post!}

I have to say that the most challenging part about owning your own business (or offering any type of service or product – whether online or in person) is PRICING!

Hands down…the hardest part of this whole entire endeavor!

In fact, it’s not only the hardest part, but it’s the most frustrating, stress-inducing, part as well.

I know, I know – pricing experts out there would say, “but it doesn’t have to be so hard.” And actually, that’s true – it doesn’t.

We (ok, maybe just me?) make it hard. We compare our services, experience, and products to everyone else out there. We wonder and worry if we are charging too little or too much. We stress about paying our bills but then we question if we’re pricing ourselves out of the market if we try to raise our prices to make our own lives a little less stressful. It’s a never-ending battle of confusion and chaos.

But, the battle must end at some point.

Eventually, you just have to pick a price and GO WITH IT!

Just like stores and restaurants change their prices all the time…and the prices of homes and cars go up…and mortgages increase…and so on and so on – we (and by we, I am mostly referring to small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and/or those considering taking the leap into business ownership) can change our prices, too!

But, we have to start somewhere. And that’s usually the hardest part.

I know first hand how much research can be done on the whole pricing topic. I scoured the internet looking at what other web and graphic designers were charging, and the more I researched, the more frustrated I became.

There is just no standard when it comes to pricing. There’s no easy answer to “what’s the average cost of a website?” just like there’s no easy answer to “what’s the average cost of a new home?” Should I even start with the questions?

How many bedrooms? Bathrooms? One story or two? Stone or stucco? Granite or Silestone?

How many pages? Do you already have a logo or will you need that designed as well? Do you want a blog on your site? An email opt-in area? Do you need the freebie that people will get for signing up for your list designed or do you already have that ready to go?

When a fellow web designer and I were doing research on pricing a while back, we found someone who offered web design packages for $90. Yes, you read that right. $90. We were so perplexed! How is that even possible? Is she making a living off that? Is she designing thousands of sites each year? Is this a full-time gig for her or a hobby? What the heck?

I actually emailed this person, and it turned out that she had a very niche audience of women bloggers. They had very specific (and minimal) requirements; their sites mostly consisted of a blog (so, no services page, testimonials, etc.); she used pre-made templates that she had already created; and she had a minimum 6-month turnaround. Additionally, she said that many of her clients were local, and the cost of living in their area was very low.

Well, on the other end of the spectrum, there are design firms out there charging in the neighborhood of $20,000+ for a website. I also know of a fellow one-woman biz (like me) who charges $8,000-$10,000 for a custom website.

Be Yourself - Go Full with ConfidenceBottom line: prices are all over the map…and guess what – so are the people providing the services! So, it’s no wonder there’s no “standard” when it comes to web design prices…or graphic design, coaching, copywriting, etc. There are so many different factors that come into play when pricing your products or services, and you just have to know and trust that you are making the best decision you can make right now based on what YOU are providing to YOUR target clientele.

Just like any other business, we sometimes learn the hard way that we should have charged more for something. Or maybe even a little less.

The great news is that we can easily change our prices when we feel the time is right. We may decide to change them 3-6 months after putting them out there into the world. Or, we may change them even sooner if we determine that we really under or overcharged for something.

If someone wants to work with you – and your price fits within their budget – then they will. If their budget won’t allow for working with you at this time, then they may end up finding someone else or they may come back to you later when they’re ready.

But, just as we don’t walk into a restaurant or clothing store and see a menu or price tag and ask for a special deal, we must stick to our pricing and not cave when someone tries to haggle with us.

Ahhh…haggling (a.k.a. negotiating, wheelin’-and-dealin’, etc.)…that’s the word that made me realize this post needed to be continued!

Before I turn it over to you, I want to mention that the pricing topic is something that comes up ALL the time. My clients ask me for pricing advice, and it’s a frequent topic of discussion among my fellow web and graphic designers. So this topic really does apply to everyone.

Whether you are a web or graphic designer reading this post for your own reference in your business or you are starting or growing your own business in another industry and will need to figure out your own pricing + factor in the cost of hiring a designer so that you can have a platform to present your products and services (and therefore your prices), the topic of pricing WILL come up. There’s no escaping it!

Your turn:

  • How do you feel about pricing in general – do you love it or hate it?
  • Are you confident about your prices?
  • Do you change your prices often…and if so, how often?
  • Is the idea of pricing your own products or services holding you back from even starting your own business?

Tell me about it in the comments below.

Until tomorrow,

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14 comments… add one

  • Kaylene March 19, 2015

    Pricing is seriously the worst. Everyone says not to undercharge, but you also can’t overcharge as a newbie. Seriously frustrating. The issue of pricing my packages was holding me back from really starting, then I realized how silly that is. I picked prices that I feel are reasonable (after market research) and I’m going for it! I’ll adjust the prices up or down if I need to, but at least I’m starting!

    • Stefani Harris March 19, 2015

      The worst! But you’re right- it’s all about going for it and then adjusting…just like everything else in our business. 🙂

  • Robyn Petrik March 19, 2015

    Ahh, pricing is always SO hard. I really like your comparison to asking about the average price of a house. There are tons of factors you need to think about, and a lot of those factors are personal. While you should be aware of the ‘going rate’, it really comes down to what you decide is best and how your clients respond. Great thoughtful post!

    • Stefani Harris March 20, 2015

      Thanks so much, Robyn. I use the house analogy quite often, as it just seems like such a perfect one. And you’re right – it’a all about what WE feel is best paired with how our clients (or potential clients) are responding. 🙂

  • Leah March 19, 2015

    Ahhhh pricing!! I think you perfectly illustrated the point that there is NO right answer. You just have to start where you feel comfortable (and what you can actually live on if you’re full-time) and then up your prices as you go. Instead of worrying about it too much, because I knew there was no one answer, I just decided to put a note in my calendar to up my prices every few months, just a little, and without fail, clients kept paying and there wasn’t any “ahhh, will people pay this??” anguish because it was just a little each time. I’m now at a rate I really feel comfortable with, so do that less often. But it is empowering to know we can raise them when we want and at a rate we feel comfortable with! Love this topic, thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

    • Stefani Harris March 20, 2015

      Thank YOU, Leah! There really is NO right answer, just like there isn’t just one way to do any given thing. We have the power and privilege to make decisions and then change them as we see fit and as appropriate for our business. The key is trusting your gut…and always moving forward in some way.

  • Siedah Mitchum March 19, 2015

    There are many factors contributed to pricing services. You really do have to test and try it out. Being confident in communicating your value that supports your price to your potential clients. It is touchy and not easy to do as well. I think you have to be able to make changes fast if you see you’re attracting the wrong clients with your prices or you’re not getting any clients because your price isn’t validated.

    • Stefani Harris March 20, 2015

      Amen – you’re so right! Making the changes quickly and confidently is key! You gotta take care of #1! 🙂

  • Janet March 19, 2015

    What a great topic! I totally agree, that was the hardest thing about my entrepreneurial journey. I recently raised mine but it took time, wrestling with a million questions, figuring out a hundred other things and more experience to get there. As you know, it was a booger bear and a continual learning experience. This will help other people realize (and feel better) they’re not alone – just gotta go with your gut and go for it! 🙂

    • Stefani Harris March 20, 2015

      Oh we are definitely not alone – that’s for sure! And just as you think you’re done wrestling with it, it’s probably time to analyze it all once again. Because just like your website is never “done”, your pricing really isn’t ever “done” either. It needs just as much care and nurturing as the rest of your business, as you know :).

  • Naomi Liddell March 20, 2015

    Nail on head. Eventually you just have to pick a price and go with it. It’s another one of those trial and error business things. But fortunately, there’s often no error involved! If you’re delivering value, people will pay for it.

    • Stefani Harris March 20, 2015

      Trial and error – yep, that’s a great way to put it! And amen – it’s all about value and working with the people who understand and appreciate that value!

  • Bryan Mueller March 20, 2015

    Great post and something I see a lot of companies and agencies struggle with. Many times companies find themselves pricing strictly as a commodity rather than off of value. One thing I would recommend is finding a way to track your efforts and provide a strong ROI for your services. Walking into a prospect with data on previous successful projects will give you the confidence that the return on investment is truly there for them. It will also strengthen the conversation with raising prices on your current customers.

    • Stefani Harris March 20, 2015

      Thank you, Bryan…and that is GREAT advice! The challenge, of course, is tracking that data. I know HubSpot can help! I’m eager to learn more!

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