Pros and Cons of a Public Price List

public-pricesAs freelancers, we can be very flexible on pricing. We can charge by the project, charge by the hour, increase our rates for rush jobs, decrease them for charities or work completely for free for our friends and family if we choose.

However, some freelancers instead choose to publicly disclose their prices on their website or brochures, eliminating some of the flexibility they may have on pricing. There are pros and cons to this issue. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the issues so that you can think about them before putting your prices up where everyone can see them.

Pros of Public Pricing

Here are some of the advantages of displaying your prices publicly:

  • Eliminates negotiating. Just like how electronic stores put their prices on tags, you can put a tag on your services and eliminate the negotiating that freelancers sometimes have to deal with.
  • Eliminates tire-kickers. Many freelancers draw up proposals for potential clients who really aren’t interested in creating a project, but instead are interested in seeing how much it would cost. Making your prices public means they won’t waste your time.
  • Clients will know what they’re getting into. I’m sure most of you have presented a proposal to a potential client only to see their eyes bug out when they see the price. It’s embarrassing for you and the client when you are clearly not on the same page about price. Putting your prices on the site will eliminate the shock factor of some proposals.

Although these advantages exist in favor of public pricing, there are also some disadvantages to displaying your prices publicly.

Cons of Public Pricing

Here are some of the disadvantages of public pricing:

  • Less flexibility. When publishing a price for a five page website or business card design, you lock yourself into that price and feature set. You get into a situation where you need to explain to your client that what they are requesting falls outside of the bounds of your prices, and you’ll need to explain why. This can sometimes increase time it takes for a proposal instead of decrease it.
  • Cheap services. Usually (but not always) people who publish their prices are using that as a selling point, because they are less expensive than their competition. You do not want to position yourself as a “cheap” freelancer.
  • Temptation to keep your rates the same. If your rates are printed in brochures or published on your site, you’ve got a couple more reasons to keep your rates where they are instead of constantly striving to earn more.
  • Every project is different. Whether you’re a freelance consultant, designer, writer or programmer, every project is different and should be treated accordingly.

Ultimately, most freelancers choose to keep their prices private and quote per job, and for most freelancers that’s probably the right decision. However, not all freelancers are the same. You need to weigh the pros and cons to figure out whether or not to tell the world what you charge.

What About You?

Do you publish your prices? Why, or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image by comedynose