An ongoing debate amongst freelancers is whether or not you should display your rates on your website. Although not everyone agrees and I have my own fixed opinion on the matter, I want to outline the pros and cons of both arguments as well as address common concerns so you can make an informed decision for yourself.
Common concerns about displaying your rates
Won’t other VAs see my rates and undercut me?
Maybe, but you shouldn’t care one bit if they do.
You really do not want to be the cheapest VA on the block because (the best) clients know they get what they pay for. Lesser VAs can lower themselves into the bargain basement if they want to, but you should opt to be the more expensive VA with clients who value what you do and want to pay top dollar for an impeccable, quality service.
The last thing you want is to be a cheapy McCheap VA with cheapskate clients who’ll take you for granted.
All Virtual Assistants have different specialities, ways of working and personalities and good clients will make the decision to hire based on your skills, qualities, testimonials and whether you fit the bill. They want reliable professional support from someone (ideally a specialist) who knows they can do an excellent job.
There is assumed value in a higher priced product or service.
What if someone sees my rates and can’t afford me?
Then you’ve both just saved time not having a wasted, potentially awkward sales conversation. You shouldn’t compete with other VAs on price, you should compete on value – read my post on how to set your rates.
Shouldn’t the price depend on the project?
Yes, but wouldn’t you want to know a ballpark figure for something you were considering buying? Custom jobs require custom prices, but if someone at least roughly knows what you charge but also knows the price may vary depending on the scope of the work, they’ll be happier picking up the phone to discuss what they need.
But if I can talk to a potential client, I can show my value and build rapport
Frankly, it doesn’t matter if you have a great rapport if the client can’t afford you! The purpose of your website copy, testimonials and case studies is to show your value – so be clear what your skills, niche and specialities are.
I personally think that most VAs don’t charge enough.
If your client charges more per hour than than you do, then your help is financially viable for them. So follow my example and target professionals who need support and have an hourly rate higher than yours, rather than target people who need support but are skint and looking for a deal.
Why you would want to display your rates
- People are aware of your fees and aren’t worried they can’t afford you
- It makes you look transparent and trustworthy
- You both avoid that awkward “soooo… how much do you charge?” conversation
- Any clients you lose because you might be ‘too expensive’ are clients you don’t want anyway
- You don’t waste time talking to people who can’t afford you or want to negotiate your rate
- If someone Googles “VA Rates” then your website will appear over one with no prices on
- You won’t lose potential clients who do want to see prices
- Studies show that people want to see prices
- Research shows that displaying prices results in a higher enquiry rate
Why you would want to keep your rates hidden
- It can be hard to put a price on a tailored service
- You want to make as much money out of the client as you can
- You’re playing hard to get and don’t want the work
- Urm… that’s it
A perfect compromise
If you state your rate as being “between x and y depending on the scope of the project”, or that “prices start at xxx”, then you’re giving the potential client a ballpark figure so they know roughly how much you charge, but you’re still keeping your options open to vary the fee depending on their requirements.
One downside of being virtual is that clients can always find another VA.
This way you’re not alienating anyone who’ll just move to another website if they don’t see a price, and you’re still inviting people to open a conversation with you.
I think it’s quite clear that I think you should display your rates! I would never make an enquiry if I went to a website and didn’t even know roughly what they charged because I’d feel embarrassed and awkward if they were way more expensive then I’d anticipated. If someone doesn’t display their prices then I think they have something to hide and will try and fleece me.
Always keep in mind that you’re looking for quality clients and not just any old client because you’ll end up paying for it later. Whether you display your prices or not, it’s the whole of your website that’s going to give a potential client an idea of where you’re positioned in the market.
If your rates are higher than other VAs then you need to have a website that looks premium-level quality and outlines your worth. This is why I actually clearly state on my site that I’m more expensive than other VAs and exactly why I’m worth the money.