Monday, November 16, 2009

Should Rates be Posted on Your Website?

About a year ago, when I was first getting started, I set up a very simple website using a free online template. It was nothing fancy, but it allowed me to establish an online presence and post a portfolio so that prospects could review examples of my work.

Since at the time I only provided a couple of different writing services, I thought it might be a good idea to post my rates. Whenever I would send out queries to various online businesses, I included a link to my portfolio page which included rates.

Clients like knowing rates upfront

I liked doing this because if someone felt my rates were too high, they could simply move on instead of wasting time emailing back and forth about services they had no intention of paying my established rates for. If a prospect liked my portfolio and found my rates acceptable, things moved along rather quickly since they had already seen everything spelled out on my website.

Rates may vary depending on...

Fast forward a year later. I tweaked the name of my business, had a designer create a custom website template, and added a few new writing services to the mix. This time I decided not include rate information because as I explain in my FAQs, each project is unique and requires a different approach when it comes to research, development, etc. Mind you, I still offer a few flat rate services as well (e.g. press releases and blog posts); I just don't post the rates.

Some writers say they don’t include rates on their websites for reasons similar to mine. Still, I can’t help noticing that when I did post prices for everyone to see, I spent a lot less time dealing with prospects that thought I charged too much. Posting rates seemed to weed those guys out.

To post or not to post rates

I spent some time reviewing a few freelance writing websites over the weekend and of course found a mix of some writers who choose to post rates and some writers who prefer not to. What’s your position about posting hourly or flat rates on your website?


Jenn Mattern said...

I always suggest that writers post rates publicly. As you said, it cuts down on the cheapskate requests and response time for quotes for projects you're never going to take on.

If your concern is flexibility, it shouldn't be a reason not to post rates. In that case you simply post average rates or rate ranges and make it clear on the site that's what you're doing. You can always include a quote request form for more specifics. You'll weed out the people who flat out can't afford you (the penny per word crowd for example if you charge a minimum of ten times that much).

Flexibility isn't a good enough reason to make prospective clients work harder to compare you to the competition imo. Not when you can post rates and still work in the flexibility.

Yo prinzel said...

I wouldn't post hourly rates because many clients don't understand how long writing can take. If you are providing a consulting or SM service, then I could see posting rates publicly.

I have tried both posting and not posting my rates and have found that I get more requests from people who can't afford my rates when I don't post AND fewer requests from people who can. Part of this is because, for my specialty, I am very affordable. Without rates there to show mid-sized brokerages and agencies, they often think I will be as expensive as other financial writers and that they can't afford me. When they see how affordable I actually am, I get a lot more inquiries.

Kimberly Ben said...

Jenn & Yo: I've been reworking my website content as I ponder this issue. I've decided to go back to posting the flat rates which happen to be my most requested services. I suspect some agencies and businesses are suspicious when you don't, and therefore don't bother to inquire. Thanks for your input.

Devon Ellington said...

Absolutely not. There are too many variables in any given project. I need details on the specific project before I can give a quote.

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