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You’re Underpricing Your Web Design Services

Chris Misterek

It’s tough to know how much to charge someone. Especially when you’re first getting started.

Charge too much and you run the risk of getting passed up. Charge too little and well, you know…you won’t make as much. And, that really sucks.

When I began Self-Made Web Designer I couldn’t keep up with all the requests I was getting for freelance gigs. In fact, I had 3 projects lined up that all I had to do was say, “Let’s go,” and I could start making money.

But, I knew I couldn’t do both. I had to either put Self-Made on hold or vice versa.

Because you’re reading this you’ve probably guess which I said yes to 😉

So, rather than shut down everything for my freelance business I decided to double my prices. My thought was, “Surely, no one will want to hire me at such a rate.”

I mean, I was already charging a pretty high price: $75 per hour. So, doubling would take me to $150 per hour.

So, I went on Upwork doubled my price and thought that was the end of the non-stop requests for web projects.

The problem is the requests didn’t stop. In fact, only days later I got an offer for a gig without even being interviewed.

I don’t think I’m special in this. My portfolio is great but it’s not earth-shattering.

I think every web design freelancer should be doing this very thing to their own prices. And, here’s why:

  1. Higher Price = Higher Value

    We are marketed to from the moment we are able to cognitively process at a higher level than an infant.

    There are ethics studies on Ronald McDonald and the effect of marketing to children.

    From an early age, we begin to understand: “Lower prices mean lower quality. Higher prices mean higher quality.”

    So, if you think you’re doing a favor to your clients by charging less than what you’re worth…think again.

    People don’t think that way. You will get passed up by many potential clients despite how great your portfolio looks because your price is telling them a story about the quality of work they’ll receive.
  2. People Care More About Higher Priced Items

    Think about the stuff you’ve bought at a $1 store.

    Did you frame it? Did you place it at the center of your dining table for every guest to gawk at when they walked in?

    Probably not.

    It’s probably either in the trash or stuffed somewhere inside of a closet or drawer never to see the light of day again.

    The same will be true if you charge less for your web designs.

    Clients won’t care for what they’re buying nearly as much as when they have to pay more for your services.

    That means that clients will be more invested in the process which means you’ll get the job done more quickly at a much higher quality.

    Because let’s face it, the best web designer in the world is nothing with a bad client. It’s very much a joint effort.

    You can’t make final decisions without them. And, if they’re not invested good luck getting feedback at a reasonable pace.
  3. You’ll Attract Better Quality Clients

    I don’t know why but people that fight for lower prices are always harder to deal with.

    They almost always complain more and will eek out of you everything that they can possibly get.

    And, the real kicker is that at the end of the project they’re almost always dissatisfied.

    On the other hand, clients that pay more are typically way better to deal with and are way more satisfied when it’s all said and done.

    There’s a lot of ways to avoid bad clients. I talk about that here. BUT, the easiest way to do it is double your prices right now.
  4. You’ll Produce Better Work

    It’s pretty simple. If you have more money from a project you don’t need to finish it as quickly and you can do a better job on it.

    Low pricing is really a vicious cycle:

    You charge low prices. So, you have to do more projects. So, you have to skimp on quality. So, you have to charge lower prices. And, the cycle continues.

    After a while, your portfolio will look better than it ever has and you can again double your prices.

    I like this cycle better:

    You charge higher prices. So, you have more time to make better products. So, you charge higher prices.
  5. You’ll Be Able to Work ON Not Just IN Your Business

    Something I didn’t expect as a web design freelancer was that I wouldn’t just be spending my time building websites.

    In fact, you have to devote your time and attention to A LOT OF other things outside of web development and design.

    You’ve got to think about things like:

    1. Project Management
    2. Sales
    3. Marketing
    4. Accounting

    The list goes on and on.

    The problem with having low prices is that all you have time to do is work on a clients project. This gives way to the feast or famine of freelancing.

    As a freelance web designer, you should be devoting about half of your time working on projects and the other half working on your business doing things like nurturing leads, writing blog articles OR making sure clients pay you.

    When you charge more for sites you have more space to make sure you’re doing those things.

    Really this is the only way you can sustain a freelance business. Otherwise, it’s stress city all of the time.

Some of this stuff seems so common sense when you really think about it. BUT, I get the stress of worrying you won’t get any projects if you up your prices.

You might be saying, “The only reason you could do it was because you didn’t need the money.” And, you’d be partially right.

BUT, this wasn’t the only time I’ve doubled my prices.

Early on I started at a very low price. Something like $15 per hour. And, every gig I got I would go up another $10 per hour.

There came a point where I was literally having an anxiety attack from going into my Upwork profile to up my prices again.

But, thank God I didn’t let anxiety or fear get the better of me. I closed my eyes hit enter and haven’t looked back. From that point, I kept going up.

It’s not easy. BUT, it’s worth it. And, once you do it you’ll find out just how important it is.

So, let’s talk about it. Tell me about the time you charged what you were worth. How did it turn out?

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