A good business strategy will be sufficient enough to keep you eating and keep your bills paid, but it will also meet your clients needs. A plan that gives you everything and leaves your client out to dry is one that will cause your business to fail. No one wants to do repeat business with a company that messes them over, and your clients will respect you for respecting them. With that in mind, I wanted to explain a little bit about the pricing that I do with my clients.
I was interested by the article 5 Ways to Strategically Price Your Freelance Rates on Freelance Switch, so I wanted to expand on the topic on both industries that I work as a freelancer: web design and web hosting. The article pretty much sums up what I have done to set my rates. Below I will detail the process for you.
Setting a Base
First, I looked at what competitors charged and I used that as a baseline to determine some rates. As far as hourly rates go, I charge the same hourly rates as my local competitors, though I can probably get away with charging more because I have better local skills as far as I know. On the other hand, on services such as Elance, I actually charge less rates by as much as $10/hr less because though I have great skills, I am competing against freelances and businesses on an international scale.
Setting Up Product Bases
After I was working as a designer for a good length of time, I am now able to determine what stages of the project will take what amounts of time. This means that I can now break up a web site into parts: The initial meeting, the planning phase, the mockup, the templating, the page creation, and the content writing and adding. I have an idea on how much time it takes for each task and multiply the hours by the rate that I have set to make a detailed invoice estimate for the client. This is great because it gives the client an idea on what all goes into a website, and it gives me milestones to break down the project for partial payments.
Create Package Deals
When it comes time to actually put together the whole price package for the clients project, I have every setup in my Quickbooks account to plug everything in and the software will give me the final price. I can then use this to add other services that the client has not thought of, some for free, and some for a price, which I will determine based on the other services. Of course part of the package creation is to offer options. This came in handy when discussing future needs of a client recently where I came up with several different options and explained the pros and cons of each. This gives the client some power in the discussion and then will respect that you are looking for their needs.
After you have the pricing set up, you will have a meeting with the client where you make sure to bring your contract, the pricing, and any other terms you need to discuss. For example, will you pay for the completion of the project, or for small steps along the way. My recommendation is to break it down based first on size. If the project is around $500 or less, I will collect 50% up front, and 50% when the project is completed. If it is a more sizable project, I will collect the first few items from the list to get started and then bill each item on the detailed estimate as I start that item save for the last little bit which is then billed once the project is completed. Know these terms in advance.
I hope that these tips were handy for your. Let me know your strategies in the comments.