Why is it not a good idea to list your prices on your website if you're a service professional?

by krowster. Posted on Sep 16, 2020    193    125

I noticed that lawyers, consultants, auditors, accountants, coaches, and similar do not list their prices. Instead, they try to get you to sign up for a call. Why? Is it bad a thing to list your prices?



you want to pitch your service to them. A phone call and talking one to one is a better chance of closing the sale.

TemporaryData 6

lol why would people in 2020 bother to talk to someone over the phone to find out something that could be disclosed on a website in 30 seconds. Coming from Europe, where price transparency is readily available, I usually skip shady businesses that don’t list their prices online.


Because it's a wank and businesses do a lot of things just because they want to, irregardless of the customer.

If it helps you sell more stuff, put it up.


Because people won't approach you if you list the price, and when you talk to them there is more probability that you can convince for the service

EvilDomGM 1

A big part of it is people are terrified of qualifying customers. They would rather lose 5 bucks an hour on jobs they should have never taken then put up a price or a minimum.



EvilDomGM 1

I don't know what you're saying about but there is nothing to debate about. It'll take you about a day and a half to find a job with a company that is insanely committed to never letting a lead go even when it's going to cost them money. The reason I started my own business was because I had a job with one of those companies.

cmarxff 1

What type of service industry are you in?

  krowster 1

Business coaching

88jaybird 1

It's most common with used car sales. Companies with a good product at a fair price, usually show the price.
Product without a price is always a red flag for me.

Edit. I'm such a dummy, I didn't read the last part "if you're a professional" . Labor rates are very different.

StefieB 1

I'm using pricing on my website, but I have on all website pages a call to action where the visitor gets by clicking a free service by filling a DNA form on the next page.

See example

Jewleeee 1

Late to the party here but from my experience it's a lot easier to express your worth and sell your services through direct communication rather than openly list your rates online. My close rate once a potential client talks to me through the phone is extremely higher than direct through website or even emails.

scribeco 1

I made a tool to help with this: www.UmHowMuch.com

It lets people built custom quotes based on options you set. Takes a couple of minutes to set up, is free, and works great!

LinkifyBot 1

I found links in your comment that were not hyperlinked:

Hot-Pretzel 1

This is such a great question. Thanks for posting it.

artotal 1

Without price I never sign.

xboxhaxorz 1

Personally, if i cant find your price on website i skip, in this information age and instant google results i dont have time to email or call

Unless you are the only company that does something specific and i have no choice but to call

I had an electronic repair shop and i advertised all my prices, i didnt want people calling me to ask about my price, its a time waster, now if you have a business with low volume high profit thats different

reddiculed 1

It was always a pet peeve for me when shopping in asia but I tried to learn the customs and haggling, etc. If it happens to me in the west it’s a big turnoff. Walk into store. Not a single price tag. Devious smile from cashier. Walk my ass back out.


They do that in retail? That's weird.

bjpopp 1

In my line of business we need to be able to uplift and discount a needed. If everyone knew our list pricing we would lose credibility immediately if we tried to uplift something.

  krowster 1

What is your line of business?

bjpopp 1

Large software company

EDIT: I'm in sales but may help to explain from a business perspective

yung-n-nasty 1

If you give people a flat rate, then customers will try to get more work out of you for that same price. Different jobs constitute different prices. If I was a lawyer and put flat rates on my website for common cases like DUIs, I may later get a murder case that takes a lot more work and time. It’s better and less intrusive on your business to first have a consultation and adjust prices for services completed.


Good point. Which means it is best to be very specific about the price and service mentioned.

MarketMarauders 1

Typically you don't know what a person is willing to pay.

Puppystomper87 1

Window-shoppers, tire kickers, and undercutters. Sell yourself, not your price. Can't do that if people make a preconceived judgement, and then don't cross the threshold.

BawdyLotion 1

1: you want to harvest contact details because it gives you multiple opportunities to sell. In person phone call, newsletter/promotional mail, new services announcements etc all for that same cost of user acquisition. An email or phone number of a potential lead is far more valuable than simply providing them the information they want and then letting them make the decision (takes you out of the drivers seat).

2: price isn’t everything. Yes customers are highly price motivated but you want to sell them on your services, professionalism and attitude before price enters the equation. By listing prices you take all of that away and compete solely on one of the least important factors - price price price. You aren’t a mega Corp that can offer crazy promo pricing and make up for slim/negative margins by up sells and other tricks.

jag77707 1

Speaking for lawyers and particularly accountants, there has been push back from some clients in recent years to move to a more fixed fee engagement price model. Also to say an accountant or lawyer bills a certain amount per hour, even when that is the stated pricing model, is very rarely accurate in the case of accountants because eating hours among lower end staff is rampant. An auditor may have a stated billing rate of $200 for example but if they’re pressured by a manager to eat 30 hours because a job is over budget and never report their time, the effective rate for the work is lower than the rate quoted to the client and expected by the partner in charge.

Lastly as stated by many above it’s not particularly uncommon for professionals to have different rates for different clients.

tramplemestilsken 1

Because you should be selling the solution to their problem, not the hours of of work. People don’t get that you have overhead so they won’t want to pay you for your operating costs, just what they think your hourly wage is worth.

decisivemarketer 1

Depends. I think simple services can have their prices published, paid online and serviced. It is easy to scale IMO. Just have the prices up, customer pays for it, onboarding email goes out to customer. I just think service professionals just don't know how to do it, and they also worry about having their prices published.

tagapagtuos 1

> auditors, accountants

For these two, I can say that Code of Ethics and regulations play a major part.

jdogtobin 2

I think if you don’t list price it drives people away, if you aren’t looking at competitors pricing and pricing similar the problem lies their. If you are the best business you possibly can your price’s will either be less or comparable to competitors.

3DGuy2020 2

Personally, I close the website if I don't see prices. I take it as a sign that the owners are charging silly prices (I mean, if you were offering a bargain, you'd want people to know...) and I also do not want to waste my time calling or writing an email just to find out the price is no good, or that I need to waste more time and haggle.

I guess it depends on the industry, however.

My ransom "customer" perspective? Put the damn prices up.

NicAsher 2

Because getting a potential client on the phone with you is 90% of the sale

Insane_squirrel 2

As an auditor we don't post rates or set amounts because everything is different and if I say it will cost $10,000 for an audit, but your particular audit is extremely complex and I incur a WIP of $35,000 for the audit, I've just screwed myself out of $25,000 and that would also constitute a significant discount, if I used that to compete with other firms to steal their clients away, it goes against our rules of professional conduct.

We don't post our billable rate either because that's forever changing as it is normally determined by a factor of salary for that employee.

Also giving this much information to the general public is just more of a hassle than telling them to email or call to get a quote.

BizCoach 2

I'm a coach and I list the price for the service I have that is a constant price. https://ceobootcamp.com/personal-coaching/

My other work is more variable so I don't know the price till I work with the client to define the scope of work. https://ceobootcamp.com/organizational-coaching/.

Having said that perhaps one reason more don't is that it encourages people to see the services as all the same except for price and that's not usually accurate.

  krowster 1

Thank you for sharing this. I'm a coach as well. We share similar tools as well. If you don't mind me asking, has posting your prices improved your conversions?

BizCoach 2

Honestly there's no way to tell. I'm semi-retired so I don't really track that stuff. I just know when I'm looking at something online I want to know the approximate price before I spend a lot of time checking something out. So I did it. Looking back at the clients I have now, I think most of them heard the price from me in a call or an email. I don't know if they saw the price online first or not.

jackneefus 2

Setting a fixed price is difficult for many services such as law, consulting, and auditing. In these cases, it is still good to advertise a fixed price for a known commodity, eg, basic wills for $200, to give some kind of reference point.

I instantly leave a page with no clue as to prices or rates.

Charles07v 2

As a consumer, it drives me crazy when people don’t list their prices.

As a businessman, I totally get not wanting to explain the complexities of custom pricing on a webpage where it may be misunderstood.

bluntlybipolar 2

Some of it is personal choice, some of it is just because they think it protects them from other people undercutting them somehow, some of it is because their rates can differ depending on what kind of work they're doing for you, so they need to give you a personalized estimate. Like, if you need a roof redone, it matters less what the man hours are going to cost versus the whole job with getting the materials, removing the old roof, replacing bad or rotted wood, and putting on the new roof. The labor part isn't the main cost in that type of a job.

It really depends on what type of industry it is whether you should or not.

deanolegg 7

As a customer it’s a massive barrier when companies are not transparent with their pricing.

Keep the pricing structure simple & transparent.

WearingAMonocle 4

Obviously it depends on the industry, but there are contexts where I simply won't engage a company if they don't display a price upfront. That might sound unreasonable, but there are some jobs (like a house cleaner's hourly rate) where there's no reason you shouldn't be able to give some kind of indicative pricing.

Don't make me call you, or worse, enter my email & number so that you can call me and badger me. Nope

captainawesome1983 3

I own a carpet cleaning business. I dont list prices because a fly by night new business owner can come in and cut my rates. I also like to charge based on the job itself, so I do free in person bids. Once a year I cold call all the carpet cleaners intown and check their prices against mine. I don't give my prices over the phone. But because they do, I can stay middle of the road with my prices, mostly.

Djesam 1

The shitty cheap guys are going to exist whether you list your prices or not. I’m in a similar industry and we allow online booking. Around a third of our customers book themselves in without talking to us, which is worth about $20,000 monthly. No prices ironically leaves money on the table IMO.

arkofjoy 3

Two reasons for me. First of all I'm not interested in working with people who shopping merely on price. It's a race to the bottom and a terrible bore.

Second of all, a lot of the time, after I have talked to people, they trust me. Then price matters a lot less.

DinoCr 3

If you can package your services to create a product (Gerber- eMyth) then publishing a price for that packaged service allows prospects to immediately know where they stand - maybe too expensive, maybe a ‘questionable bargain’ or goldilocks.... just right. In all cases you won’t be haggling over price, other than costing-in additions.
If you are effectively selling your time for dollars... you want to stay flexible to negotiate and price to value or client wallet. A good approach could be to write case studies of work you have completed, with guide prices of the cost to the client.

hjohns23 3

I completely disagree with this school of thought that “this is how it’s always been” “many customers will shy away from me” (good, you don’t want to work with the cheap), and “my competitors will undercut me”.

In this day and age, people want transparency. Unless you have a very specific niche as a professional, I mean 1-2 sub industries, then you should list your price range. What do you think a prospective customer who is hiring for the first time wants to do? Make a dozen phone calls for a quote?

I understand there are a ton of factors that go into a professionals price and they discount projects, but a range would be appreciated

IDidReadTheSideBar 3

I list all my prices, less time wasted with people who are price shopping.

Plus, I aim for a specific clientele and price shoppers aren’t them.

wtnua06 3

Professional services such as lawyers and accountants seldom do this. It is actually viewed as uncouth to sell on price for law firms. Actually, outside of personal injury firms, law firms see advertising as uncouth, and it is highly regulated if they do advertise.

Professional services pricing can vary wildly from client to client. Even within the same firm pricing may vary from attorney to attorney based on their experience and what their specialty is.

My wife is attorney and for a simple uncontested divorce she charges a flat $500 + filing fees. If she is handling a messy divorce for a wealthy client who has lots of assets to protect it is $300 per hour. Depending on the situation a retainer may be required, other times it isn’t. It is too complex to throw a menu of prices online.

Scizmz 2

Especially in this sub it's sad to see how many people don't understand this basic concept of things aren't that simple for every single transaction.

wtnua06 2

I know the it is cringeworthy at times.

mikejandreau 3

Web developer here, chiming in.

I used to list prices on my site. Then I had a big client come along who almost passed on hiring me because I wasn’t expensive enough.

So I took the prices down off the website.

The first year after I did that, I did 4x more business than when the prices were up.

Like someone else said, sometimes you ha e a client who is a pain and you want to charge them more. And if you have prices on your website, you can’t do that.

A lot of my clients feel the same way. They want to be able to tailor their pricing to the client. Or even offer a discount to close a deal.

nikkisa 3

Because you can charge them more after finding out about them

Scotty11p 15

If I were a professional looking for clients I'd definitely display my prices McDonald's style. Why put a barrier between you and your clients.

mmmfritz 1

Agreed. Especially when you use the same pricing sheet you made back in 2007 MS Excel

shanedesign 10

I prefer to price the client, not the job.

Scotty11p 1

Can you give an example of what you mean? I'm curious because I've always been on the other side of the table. I'm the guy with no skill who hires guys like you.

Iggyhopper 1

It's not about price. It's about value.

Say I design logos. If Nike wants a new logo, I'm going to charge several thousand. If my neighbor wants one, I'm going to charge my neighbor rate and not professional consulting time.

At that point it doesn't make sense to publish prices.

mackthehobbit 2

A "job" can vary wildly from client to client, and so does the corresponding price. If you advertise "website design - $999" you lose out on everyone who has fewer needs and a lower budget, and on everyone who is willing to pay more but needs quality. Presenting multiple packages at different prices is also ill-advised since most people don't know how their needs translate to your professional practice, and you give them decision paralysis. It's much easier to give them one yes or no instruction - "call us, and we will solve your problem".

To go with your McDonald's analogy, they don't show their prices in advertising on TV or billboards. They show the prices once you're in the store and have essentially committed to making a purchase. But for service businesses, the website is not your "store" - it's an advertisement and the prospect hasn't committed to anything. The customer isn't "in the store" until you're speaking to them face to face or on the phone, and at that point you can tell them the "menu" customised to their needs.

rao_aditya 3

It's quite simple. You tend to adjust charges based on client profile. I've done similar work for say x amount and 5x amount for different clients.
Individual client will not be comfortable paying more than 1k but for the same work a decent size company can easily shell out 5-10k and still consider it cheap.
Similarly, people usually charge more to clients who give that pain in the ass vibe during initial conversation. I tried that but couldn't justify the premium vs the headache so I just avoid them altogether these days.

wolfballlife 7

Simple example is - design a logo! Design it for a Fortune 500, thats $1m. Design the same logo for mom and pop it’s $1k. Logo and the work is (mostly) the same, but the value the client gains is massively different so the price should reflect that.

shanedesign 1

Another way to think about this is in the context of risk. How much will the client have to spend to impliment the new logo? What do they stand to lose or gain? How deep does research and discovery need to go?

It's also important to think about client structure; how many people will have to approve the new logo?

And of course: How much is the client willing or able to spend?

C0ffeeface 3

I'm in the web service industry and I agree. Larger business benefits more from my work than soloentrpreneurs, therefore I charge them more

Coz131 2

They also can be much more difficult and time consuming to deal with. Approvals at a larger company is a nightmare.

Fergooosin 4

Normally don't comment, but in this case I have to. In most cases, I will NEVER call if I don't know the price for a service. I feel it leaves the service provider open to feeling out the customer and draining them for all they're worth if they don't have an idea of the true cost.

For those saying if you post the price you will be undercut or it opens negotiations. No, the price is the price. You either offer a competitive price for your service or you do not.

Edit: 35k people agree


leftajar 4

Two reasons.

  1. If you're offering a premium service, you're selling on value, not price. So you want to screen out the price shoppers.

  2. Your prices should change a lot -- by project, by customer, and as you gain experience. You don't want to have to remember to update your website every single time.
AdministrativeMoment 4

You got a lot of good answers here, i just wanted to give you my personal opinion:

I rarely call businesses to do business with if they have no prices on their website. Simply because a. It feels like they will be really expensive and b. Why should i fill out a form with more info than what i want to give simply because i want to know the prices?

Ranger-96 4

As an entrepreneur you first have to calculate in detail for many offers. And in my opinion there is nothing wrong with putting at least guide prices on the website or  explaining your own  pricing model . One possibility is, for example, to specify a starting price including an explanation of how the actual price is then calculated. In this way, the visitor can at least get an idea of ​​the price category in which the company operates. For example, it makes a big difference whether the hourly rate for a consultation is 60, 80, 100 or 200 USD.

The visitors to your website want information

Those who set their prices on the website avoid uncertainty and appear transparent. If you do not put any prices on your website, you also create an additional hurdle. The interested party has to start an inquiry first - and that is simply too tedious for many people. With one click they are gone and a potential customer is lost forever!

Prices on the website have advantages for you too

If you state your prices on the website, there is an additional advantage: If your offer is fundamentally too expensive for someone, they will not contact you in the first place - and you will save yourself multiple e-mails and of course the calculation.

tommyjolly 14

It depends on the area you work in.
Every client has individual needs and expectations, thus those things dictate the price. Not every service is based on price and not all clients are ideal customers for you and your company, e.g. you sell a premium service, so you don't need/want potential price fishing customers.

Personal case:
I work in the design business and adjust my prices based on company size, needs, ROI and "client trouble potential" - value based pricing basically. Listing my prices would rob me (and my clients) of any flexibility towards their project. It would mean I need to stick to certain hours/limits whithout any room for experimentation, therefore the outcome will be very generic, safe and get lost in this overcrowded and noisy world. That shouldn't be in the interest of anyone.

Naolone 8

As a consumer if I don’t see a price I instantly leave the page. It feels dodgy not getting the cost on the page. And instead they want you to call to convince you. No thanks. Don’t be dodgy.

Scizmz 1

With your understanding of service industries, you're not a person I want to help. So this arrangement works well for both of us.

tidder8888 2

This guy knows what’s up. Show your prices to cut the bs

jlharter 12

FWIW, I sit on both sides of this and absolutely hate when sites don’t list prices. I’m a web developer by trade and I tell clients, “You have to empower people to do something online. You have to support the person who is looking at your site on Friday night while watching Grey’s Anatomy. They can’t call, they won’t remember to call by Monday, and the next site is a click away.”

I have never “scheduled a demo” or “called for pricing” on anything, ever. Just an immediate “Back” and off to the next site. You may not like publishing your prices, but your competitors do (at least some of them), and that empowers users more in their medium at their moment.

We do user recording tests on all sorts of sites we do. From chiropractors to gyms to healthcare consults. And one thing we find is people land on a site, clearly get some question about pricing and ignore ALL of the call-to-action buttons to “schedule a free consult” and go to FAQs, the search function, and About pages in that order clearly looking for a price. Even a range or some mention of what the price might be. When they don’t find it, they leave.

Pages that have some mention of pricing convert higher than those that don’t.

Sightline 3

Absolutely, I go to the next site if they don't have a price shown. If I'm looking at your site it's so I can sit here and determine if it's something I want. The last thing I want to do is speak to some pushy sales agent.

jlharter 2

I’ll add to my original comment to clarify I can get why some things are just really hard. Lawyers, sure. But all lawyers, no. Divorce attorneys know about how much an average divorce case costs. Attorneys know how much a will, a name change, a guardianship, a change to parenting time, and all sorts of other common things cost. They just don’t say it because, in truth, they’re probably looking to charge what the customer can afford.

Many years ago I had a conversation with a client who ran a small event space in a rural area. Their competitors were large family farms that made for admittedly very nice wedding venues, meeting spaces, etc. They didn’t want to publish their prices because they thought their competitors would see it.

I had to reply, “You don’t think they’ve called you faking to be a prospective customer? You don’t think they don’t already know what you charge? Every option you have available? All you’re doing is making it cumbersome for prospective customers, many of whom are price-sensitive because of the local economy, hard to work with you.”

Their customers were in a rural, blue-collar manufacturing area. These people were not interested in calling at 1pm on a Tuesday because they’re at work. They can’t call. They’re planning their wedding at 6 pm on a Saturday because that’s all the time they have.

I get that not every business fits that. But we published their prices and even built a little “build a quote” calculator. It specifies it’s not binding and is only an estimate. It’s become such a huge lead-generator the client now spends 2-3 hours a night responding to questions and quotes by email and phone. They’re the only place around that publishes prices.

fedd 12

Because these professions define the price based on factors which they can only assess after hearing the individual case. They combine the problem size and complexity, their own expertise in the area (the lower experience the higher the price) and how much spare money the client seems to have.

dataslinger 1

Exactly this. Comparing an hourly rate completely ignores the fact that different companies might take more or less time to get the work done. A higher hourly rate done quickly will be cheaper than a lower hourly rate that takes longer or requires course corrections/re-work.

Hourly rate is not a valid comparison point for project cost. That being the case, your web site should educate potential customers and say this, and let people know that the only way to truly compare vendors is to get a properly estimated quote. It will take longer to do this way, but their project cost will be more accurate.

Infinite_Amount 39

I think you’re looking at just the surface level. It doesn’t matter whether you display or not, what matters more is what is your business model and how can you get the client to convert.

If you could get a client to convert through a sales call, convert for a sales call.

For me, I was able to eliminate a lot of unwanted noise of enquiries by listing my prices which ranged from $5k-10k for a project because then I was not getting the clients who were not willing to pay that much. There were competitors who offered the same service for $500-1000 but I was able to attract clients who valued the kind of specialized work and value I provided.

My conversion rates went through the roof. Less going back and forth. We were able to scale to 7 figures in 3-4 months by listing the prices compared to doing mid 6-figures for the last 2-3 years.

Though it wasn’t the only factor that led to the increase, but that was an important one.

My only advice would be - to not copy, and think what’s best for you. If everyone else is doing it, it does not make it right for you.

phantex1 6

Interesting, how do you justify that you're much higher in pricing than your competition?

5baserush 2

Develop expertise and social proof in a niche. Pretty common rule that applies to most areas of business.

tinybear 2

My take is that price shoppers care less about value and value shoppers care less about price. It doesn't mean that it's not an input at all, just that is what their priorities are. It's a waste of time to field inquiries from price shoppers if your work is higher end. Displaying the price more prominently means you're likely to only get inquiries from customers who are a better fit for your service.

BawdyLotion 5

I know this is vague but in anything service or B2B related price is largely irrelevant compared to the quality of work done, reputation and trust.

There’s a reason companies will choose to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a logo design when small shops will do it for thousands and people online will do it for hundreds (or tens if you wanna get desperate).

Competing on price is normally a losing battle for small and medium business. Yes your pricing needs to be realistic and match your market but trying to undercut others is a waste of time outside of very specific circumstances.

Focus on value proposition and make sure it’s well communicated to clients and if your pricing throws them off then they are usually not clients you wanted. Getting the ability to present all your value and experience to clients in a 1 on 1 sales call is super valuable which is why so many don’t list pricing but I can totally agree with the above commenter that it leads to a lot of noise. If you accurately communicate your value through site and reputation then listing pricing to weed out the unwanted clients is a good way to go.

dickbaggery 14

Not OP, but I'm guessing "value selling and specialization." Think about it like this: if you sell houses that have all the basic stuff every house needs, but you specialize in smart technology or energy saving tech, etc, your clients are going to be looking for those specific things and they are going to value your house higher than other houses on the market. Or, if you build websites and your specialty is api's, your clients will be in need of api's more so than just the standard template-based webstuff. Your market share decreases, but your value goes up. So, it would make perfect sense in OP's case to speak directly to those clients and not just anyone looking for a website.

Scizmz 223

Typically it holds you back a few ways.

1, you're inviting people to undercut your rates and not even call you

2, people in professional capacities often have varying rates depending on the scenario. A lawyer might decide to take a case pro-bono, or he might bill a PITA client $650/hour. And of course anything in between.

3, When you work in a professional capacity depending on your field, your billing might be dictated by somebody else. Dentists typically charges what the person's insurance permits them to.

4, If you're a professional and you're looking for clients, you want people who are serious about the issue you can solve to contact you. If you're a busy professional, then you've got staff to push the calls off to. If you're in a slow spell, you want the opportunity to talk to potential clients and get a feel for your local market and your business prospects.

There are plenty of reasons for it. Even mechanics shops don't advertise their hourly flag rates unless they're required to because it scares people away. Why should I pay this guy $130/hour when Jose will roll up in his corolla and do the work for $40/hr.

chillintheforest 1

Fuck dentists.

Scizmz 1

Oh? Why?

chillintheforest 2

"Dentists typically charge what the person's insurance permits them to."

In other words, they do super shady shit.

Scizmz 1

No sir, they're restricted by whatever insurance you carry. Let's say you've got Delta Dental. Delta requires all dentists that accept their insurance to charge specific prices for the work they do. They then charge you for your out of pocket amount depending on what insurance coverage you are able to get through them. A dentist is not allowed to charge you more than their contract rates or you can go to your insurance company and that dentist will lose its ability to carry that insurance as well as potentially their license. This means that in the example of Delta, their 78 million covered insurance holders are no longer potential clients to that dentist.

This does not mean that your dentists office won't make mistakes. Their office staff might be completely incompetent. In that case it's in your best interests to find a dentist who has competent people that work for them (just like a doctor or mechanic, you want to frequent a business with capable people).

Minimum-Cheetah 3

You sir, are an anti-dentite!

chillintheforest 1

That sounds like a joke from Seinfeld. Is it a joke from Seinfeld? Lol

Minimum-Cheetah 1


Decent_Cartoonist 2

> 1, you're inviting people to undercut your rates and not even call you

I don't know if I'm most people or not but when I experience this while planning it tends to mean you're off the list and I'm going with someone who can give me at least a ballpark estimate.

Scizmz 1

The problem with this post and my answer is all the little insidental crap. "Well in my service business..." People fail to comprehend that this was a vague question posted about the broadest possible selection of industries. Your personal experience means dick. Also, just because you do it that way doesn't mean it's the best way to do it. Please don't take this as a personal insult, i chose your reply to add this statement on because you did acknowledge that your situation is not representative of the entire service industry.

Decent_Cartoonist 1

I think there are often good reasons for wanting to schedule a call but just as often I feel they're just trying to add you to a mailing list, get you in front of a sales person, and get you to feel you've already committed time to them before giving you enough information to make a decision.

When you've had a 2 hour sales call you're going to be weary to go through 5 more so you can make an educated decision, especially when you're not even spending your own money.

I'm sure statistically conversion rates go way up when you get people in front of sales and if I'm not a customer fuck me anyhow.

I worked for a company that had two starter packages: $500/mo and $3000/mo. Typical customers were tens of thousands a month or more. I wasn't in sales but from time to time potential customers would find their way to me and I could tell right away they were not going to spend $500 so I'd let them know that's where we start right off the bat. I'm not sure why they couldn't just put that information on the website since we were focusing on larger and larger customers to the point we eventually got rid of all our starter packages.

wolfballlife 1

When setting up calls with vendors (large B2B software companies typically) I’ll ask for a large indicative price range (1k-10k or 10k-100k) via email before a call, and honestly if they care about proper validation at that point they should be fine with giving that so both sides don’t waste time.

Decent_Cartoonist 1

Yeah I like this!

gunch 3

> Dentists typically charges what the person's insurance permits them to.

This is a problem

Scizmz 1


compiledexploit 3

because Jose might not be his real name and if he fucks up he might go incognito mode.

Scizmz 1

This is correct. And it's part of a longer discussion about doing business, but it's more in depth than i wanted to get with my answer.

mmmfritz 13
  1. It's easy to find out other peoples prices all you have to do is get a quote. You shouldn't be worried about price anyway, worry about your product

  2. A flat rate is just that, if you have a problem client there are better ways to retrieve miscellaneous costs.

  3. Ok fair enough

  4. The flip side of this is you want to show people your price upfront so the tire kickers just piss off

    I think there are more reasons to display price than not. If you can give a range do it, add 10% misc if you are worried. All this information exclusivity is pretentious bullshit and really not needed.
Scizmz 1

You're looking at it wrong its not always about exclusivity, more often than not its to save yourself a huge headache. You list your rates online and any time something comes up that isn't within the exact scope of the clients expectations, it can turn into a huge ordeal. If you don't think so then you've never dealt with the general public.

BawdyLotion 2

It’s bad business though, you’re paying so much per lead you get (directly through ppc and other campaigns or indirectly through your overall marketing and word of mouth effort). Failing to capture contact information or 1 on 1 time with prospective clients to give them your best pitch of your company is the worst thing you could do.

This is different if you’re selling a once size fits all product, then just do it as an e-commerce solution and have them buy on the spot. When it’s anything remotely subjective where you need project scope, details, experience with the client, etc then it’s always going to be something that is best quoted AFTER you have presented the advantages of your company. Price is one of the least important factors in these types of deals and listing it can’t do anything but harm your roi

RedBanana99 3

Number 4 all the way.

I'm an SEO band my website is on Google page 1. I used to get 10 new business enquires a week. 9 of them were tyre kickers and time wasters or just too plain dumb to want to work with.

The clients with a champagne taste and lemonade wallet.

I increased my hourly rate by £10 and blazed my prices all over my homepage, blog posts and social media channels.

Now I get 1 or 2 new enquires a week and they are all quality clients who are already aware of my prices.

leehawkins 5

I’m a 360 photographer. The only thing I tell a client unless I’m familiar with the location, it’s lighting, and how many shots I’ll need to tell the story to fit the client’s needs is the cost of my minimum job, and that it varies depending on the scale and complexity of the project. I get a feel for the project, and may even go on site to see the space before I offer any quotes or proposals. When I make a proposal, I usually offer 2-3 tiers of prices with varying levels of service, two that fit the budget that told me they could handle, and one that’s got all the frills for a bit more than their budget. Usually they pick the middle one, but I’ve had some pick the high one.

I simply have no idea how complicated each job is without getting an idea of what the client wants and what they want to do with it. I charge more for more complex work, and I charge more for people who are gonna make bank on my work when I know I’m a critical part of their marketing.

So I can’t just share a price list. I don’t have a price list. Some clients are happy with annual or monthly fees (I have to maintain and host the finished product to work over time, and I include updates if they remodel or change setups regularly), and some just want to pay upfront. I have to go through a process before I get to price. If I just did corporate headshots in a studio, I could have a price list. But every space is different, and may require more time to shoot or a lot more time in Photoshop depending on variables like lighting, windows, etc. The finished project may be pretty vanilla, or it may require coding. They could have a huge traffic volume, which will require buying more bandwidth or beefier servers. They might be very picky clients who want to have a review and refine process before they accept the finished product, so I charge way more for that.

mmmfritz 2

I recently had some pro photos done and I had to get a quote. That's okay because he was top tier.

Most other photos I want a price. Doing a residential shoot for a home? Maybe an aerial shot thrown in? Give me a price please.

leehawkins 1

I do commercial work...I always try to ballpark it, but usually my clients don’t even know their budget in the first place. What I do depends more on the client’s budget than my price. And price is usually the only thing my clients know how to compare. I put a lot more thought, gear, work, and purpose into my work, and a lot of my competition are guys with a one-shot 360 camera with terrible quality images. That may be great for a cheap motel or a mom & pop bodega, but it’s not gonna cut it for museums, dentists, and fancy high-dollar hotels. One big hotel might say they want 10 shots and have a budget for 2, while another might want only 5 but wants a custom tour with more coding. There is very little one size fits all unless you want to make big bucks on small easy jobs and get paid less than minimum wage because you underestimated how many windows you had to mask and how many distractions you had to fix in Photoshop on a really big job.

Nose_Grindstoned 18

I’m chiming in to agree. I think there are more benefits to displaying costs than not. Obviously they can’t display costs when it’s a custom job or it’s a large inventory of services.

I’ll always remember the time I called the dentist to ask for their price on fixing a cavity. They said “we can’t tell you the price because we haven’t seen the work that needs to be done.”... I said “look into your computer and there is a code for a service labeled “cavity” and another for “filling” and please tell me those prices.” She said she couldn’t do that..... they were actually afraid to divulge their own pricing even after a customer asked for the cost.

I think some people are stuck in old wives tales about marketing, and one of those is not to display your prices for services. I can easily see why a website wouldn’t display professional services prices.... but, if I need a lawyer to draft me a will, I’ll go with the one that writes $150 clearly on their website.


I agree with this. My time is very precious to me, and I don't want to spend hours discussing a project with NO idea of whether the business is able to meet my budget. Generally speaking, I will only reach out to services that provide some sense of cost, or range of cost, on their sites, and will never continue a conversation with someone who won't provide me a free estimate.

The thing is, I do a lot of research to ensure the services I contract meet my needs and quality levels. Cost is only one input. I am currently working on a construction project that costs up to twice what other companies quoted, because a) this company does custom work instead of using prefab, b) this company is independently owned and uses in-house employees who are paid fairly for their work, c) the owner was able to fully understand and articulate my vision for the work and I trusted them to be able to deliver on it and d) maybe most importantly I felt mutual respect and knew they would be good to work with.

I need to know I can trust a service, and that I will be treated fairly and with respect, and one of those indicators for me is clearly available pricing. It shows me that a company values my time as well as their own, and I won't have to haggle or waste energy to meet my budget.

bluehat9 1

Then you’ll get a will that is just pure boiler plate. If that’s all you need then it’ll do.

mmmfritz 3

Yeah. It's not hard.
Its almost a guarantee that 90% of businesses that don't state a price, have a standard spreadsheet they go off anyway.

sforpoor 3

It really is industry specific, and there are far too many “hold you to it” types on this planet, I swear.

The dentist tells you the pricing for “cavity” & “filling”, you show up, they find extensive bone deterioration and determine the scope of work is significantly more work so they inform you it’s no longer $299, it’s $2,999. You spew stinky saliva all over the hygienist while screaming about “honoring the pricing I got on the phone!”

Most typically, if pricing is listed, a disclaimer follows. Now, the size of that wording and the convenience to find it will often speak volume about that business’ character. Old ass tactics to draw people in, up sell or disclose the “actual” costs have been around forever. It works because you’re already there.

Nose_Grindstoned 2

You’re so correct about this. When I was managing a veterinary clinic, we’d have price shoppers, and that’s fine. We’d give them the price. Then, their cat would come to see the doctor, and the doctor would tell them all the additional things needed for their cat. At the payment desk they’re yelling about how they were told one price on the phone and now it’s another. Plus with yelp and review sites actually causing real damage to businesses.... it’s all a tricky situation.

So most service providers that aren’t listing their prices have one reason or another not to do it. The more the price could fluctuate, probably the better it is not to show prices.

For me, as a service provider, on my website I clearly say: package A is $30, package B is $80, etc. I want potential customers to be in alignment: My services and costs with their expectations and value.

sforpoor 2

The problem with listing any pricing while offering services is simply the unforeseen’. Unless you’re selling a physical product, there is really no definitive way to guarantee a price. Whether you’re a trade service, cleaner, handyman, computer tech, or ghost chaser, there is no way to offer a price and stand behind it if you show up and variables are presented that hinder the application of your standard service. Now you’re stuck arguing with a customer explaining to them that your price only included x.

I’ve always encouraged my junior companies, startups and personally used the model of presenting “good, better, best”, “best case scenario”, or listing exactly what’s included with the “standard price”.

Business is, much like life, a game of liability and litigation. Disclaimers can save you unnecessary financial repercussions, character/integrity/reputation damage, and most importantly will help you avoid customers you don’t want to do business with entirely.

lostllama2015 10

Not related to services, but there have been a number of times I've been looking for hosted software solutions and I typically immediately remove any from consideration that don't display prices. My take on it is that if they don't want to be open and honest about their prices, then they don't deserve my business.

7783597757 12

Reminds me of when I called the bank to understand how much I can potentially get a loan on a car. They couldn't give me a straight up number or range even when I asked I don't expect it to be a legally bounding number. I just wanted an indication on what kind of cars I can even look at. They were fine with me saying a specific price though and answering yes or no. So I said 30k. They said no. Then I said 25k, they said ok that is realistic.
Why couldn't they just had told me 25k in the 1st place. If I didn't guess that near I would have had to keep playing the binary search game.

dvereber 34

I dream of having an algorithm to accurately price projects based on 5 or 6 variables. Unfortunately, haven't had the time to develop it yet.

Leaves me with the work of looking over the job to be done, and spitballing a price each time.

gmasterson 1

I got the pleasure of working with a client that developed something like this for restoration services. Called WQM Key. It’s awesome!

sforpoor 1

Depending on your industry, this shouldn’t be overly difficult. It takes pretty significant experience to generically price situations/processes, but it can be done. I took this exact mentality and put it to work (the idea, not the process), and had a software team incorporate it into a system designed specifically for a couple of my smaller service businesses.

The only disadvantage comes when a scenario presents itself to reduce the cost because a specific line item within the generalized task is unneeded. However, our teams have the ability to remove/edit and modify their estimates to account for minor changes, if needed.

It’s worked well enough to only need editing a couple dozen times over the course of a few thousand jobs.

HouseOfYards 2

That's what we did. We developed an algorithm to estimate lawn care pricing. It works extremely well so far. We get online bookings often.

arkofjoy 2

You don't mention what kind of work you do. But for myself, I don't give hard quotes. I look at a job and say "this looks like 4 days work to me. And I charge based on 600 a day. That is based on an 8.5 hour day, which I try to avoid doing.. So I have a bit of cushion.

If someone wants a hard quote, they can get someone else.

dvereber 3

Just charge them 6 days and give them a hard quote?

Also, I keep track of the time it does end up taking me, so if I end up underwater, I charge more to that client for the next project, and if I make a huge profit the next project for that client will be cheaper, so they end up paying the hourly rate and the end anyway.

I am a Civil engineer.

fiskfisk 16

Depending on what kind of work you do there are research about algoritmic estimation. The general problem is to get those parameters you need for estimation within any sort of accuracy related to the type of project.