Posting Your Writer Rates: Pros and Cons

Figuring out whether you should display your rates on your website is a big issue for many freelancers. Do you post up your prices or hourly rates and risk either ridicule or a lack of business? Do you politely refrain from posting rates, preferring a message of “contact us for a customized quote”?


It’s a murky area with people who take the extreme on either side and many sitting uncomfortably in the middle.


Website usability pros and marketing and sales experts say you should make the user experience as easy as possible to improve conversion from click to cash. People are lazy, folks, especially on the Internet. Sometimes, one click and filling out a form is just too much trouble, especially if the freelancer next door is as transparent as they come.


When you post your rates, people know what to expect. There is no guessing and no surprises. Potential clients who see all the information up front are more likely to take action. When people do contact about working on a project, they’ve already decided your rates are an expense they can live with.


You also cut down on the time you waste with emails and contacting interested people. Some people just want to know what you charge, but they may not even intend to hire you. Others want to haggle and bargain. If your rates are posted loud and clear, people generally assume wheeling and dealing isn’t part of your game. Plus, you don’t have to create customized quotes for all clients.


Perception plays a part, too. People often assume that “customized quote” means “I’m gonna screw you over, buddy.” They think that because you don’t display your rates, the cost must be exorbitantly high. So they just don’t bother with you and go elsewhere.


Staying with the idea that perception affects sales, some people judge abilities based on price. Expensive means quality, cheap means crap. Sometimes, expensive means snotty and arrogant and cheap means submissive and pushover.


Tough stuff.


There are some definite benefits to keeping your rates to yourself, though. Take a look:


You can customize the cost of each project based on its required efforts and time as well as your interest in doing the job. Your posted rates don’t trap you in the embarrassing situation of having to convince a client that his particular project will cost three times as much as your going rate.


When you don’t post your rates, no one shops by price. They contact you because of quality first: They’re interested in doing business with you because you made a good impression, not because you charged a low price.


You also run the risk of letting your competition see what you charge and helping them undercut your pricing to gain your clients – if they know who those clients are. The Internet is a big place, folks.


Another reason for not posting rates is that you won’t have to suffer feeling embarrassed that people see what you charge. While many freelancers have no qualms about advertising their prices, many others feel uncomfortable doing so because of what other people might think.


The scales definitely tip in favor of posting rates, if sales are what you want. Do your research about the going rates for the services you offer and charge accordingly. posts a good guideline of rates for Canadian freelancers – U.S. rates are similar. Also, take your skill levels, experience and abilities into consideration when you set your rates as well.


Most of all, make sure that the rates you post up are ones that you feel comfortable with. Pick a price based on your research that is not too high, not too low, but somewhere that is just right. If you have a hard time justifying them to both yourself and your clients, rethink your rates.



P.S. Before you all run and check, no, we don’t post our rates. But after writing this, I’ve convinced myself we should. Upcoming!

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.