Many people ask whether they should display their prices on their website or not, and it may be a difficult decision to make for your business, especially if you’re a small start up business, so here are some pros and cons of listing your prices.
Is it more ethical to display your prices on your website?
It is not necessarily more ethical – but the company could be conceived as being more ethical or trustworthy by being transparent with their pricing from the start. Some may think the company is not confident with their pricing, or even their product/service by not being up front about how much they charge.
Of course, to genuinely be more ethical and trustworthy, the company must then stick by those prices and not add in any extra hidden charges.
Is it easier to sell services and products with the prices listed?
Yes, it can be easier to sell your services and your products when you have clearly listed out your prices and what the price includes either by using packages or a subscription/retainer model. It also helps your potential customers compare your offerings against your competitors.
But if your products and services are complex, and ideally need a bit more conversation to make sure the correct price is quoted then it might be better not to have the price listed.
An alternative option could be showing a ‘from’ price as a rough guide with an example costing for reference, asking the customer to get in touch for a more exact quote based on their circumstances/ needs.
What if I change my pricing regularly?
If you change the pricing structure regularly then do keep in mind that you will need to update your website often, if you choose to have the prices on the website. If you forget and the prices are actually higher when the customer comes to buy your products or services, it may result in a loss of sale or even a complaint.
Of course if the price they’re expecting I s lower, that might be a pleasant surprise for them but it also indicates to you that you might be underpricing as they were potentially willing to pay more.
What if I have a different price per type of client?
This is of course entirely your business decision and there might be very good reason for it (if there isn’t then that could be considered unethical), for example some companies offer charities, and not-for-profits, a lower rate.
But you could consider still putting your main standard rate on the website and add a disclaimer advising that there is a sliding scale for certain types of customers.
Pricing can help validate the leads and stop time wasters
If you decide not to display your prices and don’t want to put a rough price on your website it can work against you in two ways;
- Potential clients might not get in touch at all for fear that the product/service is out of their price range and go to one of your competitors who do list their prices.
- You may have to factor in spending unnecessary time in meetings and conversations with people who simply don’t have the budget for your prices — of course you may consider this a challenge to try to sell to these people, anyway, but it’s a much harder sell and it leaves open the chance of being tempted to use unethical sales techniques to close the deal.
“I don’t want my competitors to know my pricing!”
I hear this a lot, but this is not very good business practice unless you are pre-trading (in which case your website isn’t likely to be live).
If your competitors want to know your pricing, they just have to send in a mystery shopper to get a quote or even ask your previous customers, and you might be unaware if they do.
Competitor price research is an essential part of your pricing strategy and business plan; without knowing what your competitors are charging, how do you know if you are offering a good value service or even charging enough? Or, how do you know if there is enough differential to justify the price? I.e. why would they come to you when all your competitors offer the same service but for less?
Do we list our prices on our website?
Yes, we have clear packages and monthly subscription prices but we don’t list our standard hourly rate or day rate on our website, as these change the most regularly and chances are, we’d forget to alter a page – but we’re happy to disclose them to anyone who asks – no secrets here!
We also don’t list the prices of any of our subcontractors as those aren’t our prices and we wouldn’t want to get them wrong, although we sometimes use the ‘from’ prices as an indication to help those planning budgets and briefs.
But we do list our training costs, as our training can be booked and paid for online to simplify the process and administration for us.