Best Practices for pricing is a real issue not only for new WordPress Freelancers and experienced WordPress Practitioners, it also is a point of discussion that gets kicked around by our Advanced WordPress Developers.
Chris Lema, one of my favorite fonts of WordPress Wisdom, famously stated,“Most people’s budget is two to three smaller than their desires or expectations.” In the WordPress open-source ecosystem of free themes and plugins, many clients can develop unrealistic assumptions about the actual cost of building and deploying a WordPress website. As a presenter at WordPress Conferences and in his numerous articles, Lema continues to stress the importance of positioning yourself and your skills as being valuable resources to your clients.
At the start of our WordPress career, using value-based pricing is a challenge. Starting out we are learning as we earn and by necessity, use cost-based pricing. All of us — WordPress consultants, freelancers, practitioners, advanced developers and designers, become more valuable over time. As we get better, and consistently produce great value for our clients, we are worth more. As our technical and business acumen increases, our knowledge and experience can protect clients from bad decisions and costly mistakes.
An experienced WordPress Consultant can help our clients get the business results they need while saving them both time and money. Our skill and expertise can accelerate our client’s goals. The value our skill brings to a project can no longer be equated to dollars per hour. The increased value we deliver to the client determines how we price the project.
Successful developers and designers have learned to listen carefully to client’s motivation for the proposed project. They have developed the discipline to ask all the go-deep — go-wide questions needed to discover all the client’s reasons for investing in a new or upgraded website. Most of us have come to this career because we love to solve problems. However, that trait makes it is easy for us to turn off our information gathering skills and prematurely go right to problem-solving mode. Many of us have had the experience of developing a technical solution that is functionally correct, but may have missed the actual issue the client came to us to solve. Clear communication is better than having to eat the cost to correct a misunderstanding.
Careful interview and detailed project discovery skills are the unique value the most successful WordPress Consultants bring to their clients. These experienced professionals will only submit pricing for a project once they are completely confident that they have spoken to all the stakeholders and the decision-makers and understand what is motivating their client to invest in the project.
Word Press Consultant, Troy Dean addressed the process of transitioning from “exchanging dollars for hours'” to a value-based pricing model at a recent WordCamp. He noted that the best way to transition to value-based pricing is for a WordPress Consultant to be absolutely transparent about the need to be both sustainable and profitable – because running a profitable business means you can continue to serve your clients. Some clients will decide not to use you at your new price point, and that is just fine. As we get better at what we do, we attract a better clientele, willing to pay a higher project fee because they value twhat you bring to a project.
To help our Pleiades Publishing Services clients understand our move to value-based pricing , we posted this explanation in our Proposal FAQs. Feel free to copy and use it on your own site.
“Why are you so expensive?”
We aren’t, we’re just honest. So many web development companies low-bid your project to get you on board, then hit you with the “new problem we just discovered…” in order to boost the stated price.
Alternatively, some designers and developers just don’t have experience at bidding web projects. They will adjust their price based on what they think you are willing to pay – not on what it will actually take to do the job.
While at first you may think this is advantageous because you are getting a great price, the problem comes when they have run through the whole budget, but they still have more work to do on your project. What will they do then? Will you loose their attention while they pursue the next client? Will they rush through the rest of your job, doing sloppy work and making mistakes? Will they come back to you for more money?
We don’t negotiate our price because we know what it takes to give you the quality you want and need. We know because we do this a lot. Remember, you’re hiring us because we are experts at building websites – and that includes how long it will take and how much it will cost.
Our friends at ‘codeable’ just published this great infographic that breaks down the cost of building a WordPress site. It gives you some great benchmark costing figures to keep in mind for your next proposal.