Should you display your rates

Should you display your rates on your website?

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.

My opinion

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.

Further advice

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.

8 Comments

Melanie

Another great post Jo and I totally agree, showing your rates, or at least an indication, saves wasting time discussing work with people who cannot afford to pay or choose not to pay that amount for our excellent services – we are small businesses not charities 🙂

Reply
Joanne Munro

Thanks for commenting Melanie and I’m very glad you agree! The argument rages on in some quarters of the Internet but I’ve always been a big believer in honesty and transparency. Showing at least a rough outline of prices means people can make that decision whilst you get on with the business of making money. There are enough cheap Indian VA’s out there if people want to scrimp on costs, but you do get what you pay for.

Reply
Anne Pike

What about across currencies? Does it make sense to publish rates in AUD if your target client is in US or GB? I don’t know what do do for my site.

Reply
Joanne Munro

Hi Anne, I think you just need to do what’s right for your own individual business. SO if it makes sense to have other currencies then do so – or have a currency converter. I often buy from US sites and I just buy the download/product in the currency that’s displayed, I’ve never actually once seen a site that displayed different currencies than the one for the country the website owner lived in actually. I don’t think there’s any hard and fast rules about online stuff though; I think it’s just what you decide. x

Reply
Jose Lopez

Great article, we live in a world where people want instant answers and for this reason we should always included prices. This comes with benefits.
1. Prices shown will eliminate tire kickers and wasted phone calls and emails.
2. If your phone rings its because they are either interested in your services or want to dive in based on your pricing.

Always opt in to show prices. If you don’t, its like reliving the Yellow Page era. Who wants to live those days now?

Great article!

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *