When I first starting making websites for clients, I would take on almost any type of project. And like most web designers, I was under charging and not realizing it. People in our industry tend to be tech focused first and not business focused. We don’t fully understand the proper way to run businesses, to properly project manage or to bill accordingly. See, we’re Computer Science majors, but MBAs.
But I’ve learned a lot since starting out. I’ve learned how to not only hone my tech skills but to improve my business savvy. I’m more confident now in my service offerings and how I present them and myself. And as a result, my prices have gone up. Sure, I no longer attract the “tire kicker” type of low-priced prospect, but the client I do end up working with value my service and deliverables.
One excellent business-focused podcast I regularly listen to is the SeanWes Podcast. They have two excellent episodes that talk about this topic exactly. I recommend giving them a listen so that you understand the points I’m trying to make:
And that is why I don’t offer discount codes or promotional pricing. The website design and development industry already suffers from what I described above, as well as the onslaught of do-it-yourself-for-cheap services like Squarespace and Wix. Prospects simply don’t respect the web design industry enough and expect to get a website with Amazon.com type functionality for $500.
Let’s say that during the discovery process with you as a client I figure — based on the scope we’ve uncovered — that your desired website solution may cost $20,000. But then I say something like, “But you know, I will do it for $4,000 if you sign today.”
What have I done? I have cheapened not only myself, but my entire industry. Sure, it’s great for you and you’re getting one heck of a deal and you may run out and tell your colleagues about the huge discount possible for a website solution. And that’s the problem.
When’s the last time you had a flooded basement after a storm and the emergency plumber showed up at midnight, quoted the repair to you but then said, “You know what, just buy me a beer the next time I see you.” Unless that plumber was your friend or your father, he’s doing himself no favors.
That all said, there are times I do work for less than my normal fee. And by less I mean free. I have delivered several website solutions for non-profit businesses for free. I go though the same website project process, do the discovered and proposal phases, and deliver an estimated price. And then that price is reduced by 100%. I don’t do this often, and only do it for non-profit businesses that I have an interest in helping. When I do it, however, those clients see the full price they would have paid if they weren’t a non-profit so they fully understand the value they’re getting.