Angela Pointon is the founder of Steel Toe Images. She inspires photographers and other creative people to kick major butt through her consulting sessions, blog, emails, workshops and her first book (coming soon), called “ A Swift Kick In The Pants: Business Smarts For Us Creative Types”. Follow Angela on Twitter or on Facebook.
Should You List Your Prices, And If So, Where?
Pretty much every photographer I meet asks me this question. And whether you’re just starting out or have been around for years, it’s something that challenges many.
Never In Expensive Print
A photographer I met with recently was about two years into the business. They thought that glossy brochures were a mandatory marketing “must” and printed a boatload when their business first launched. That was mistake #1. Mistake #2 was printing them with prices mentioned. When you need to increase prices (which they did), those brochures become useless. Ouch.
Price sheets should be printed off one or two at a time, never more. As your business grows, your price will typically increase. You never want to have a price written somewhere that isn’t easy to change.
Maybe On Your Website
If you receive most of your business through referrals, these consumers already have a price point in mind, because they probably already asked your past client. But if your business is a blend of referrals and completely fresh clients, you might be thinking that pricing can help attract them to you.
Consumers are busy these days. If you do not list your pricing, some will be frustrated that your price isn’t listed publicly for the entire world to see. So if you aren’t going to list prices (more on that in a minute), make it very easy for them to request it. Have your phone number and a quick form on the website (asking just a 3-4 questions… not a gazillion) and respond within 24 hours with an unbelievably well written and remarkable email or amazing phone conversation about what makes your business different. Attached to that, include your most recent price list.
But Seriously, Why List It?
Now we get to the why. Why… I mean, really… why list pricing on your website? What do you feel it is going to accomplish? You do not want someone choosing you based on price. So why go there right away?
If you and I were going on a date, I wouldn’t ask you how much you were planning on spending on me the first time we met. And you shouldn’t let people be so rude as to judge your value from a website visit alone, either. After all, what makes your business unique and what establishes your value is so much more than a price.
But ignore me if you must. If you’re going to list prices, be a tad vague. List starting prices and clarify that exact pricing will be provided. Give yourself the opportunity to at least engage with them, discuss your style and what you have to offer before you can have the only deciding factor be price.
Don’t Wait Too Long
If you do decide to remove pricing from your website, telling a potential client your pricing at a face-to-face meeting is too late. You’ve already invested time in them, and remember: you are qualifying them as much as they are qualifying you. Before you sit down with anyone, communicate how you’re unique and what you have to offer, and state your typical pricing range or send them your pricing sheet. Ask them if it’s within their budget. If it’s not and they aren’t willing to adjust their budget to afford you, you’ve saved yourself a ton of time. Spend that precious time on more qualified clients, instead.
How has listing or not listing prices worked for you or against you? I’d love to hear your stories!