What should I do if I don’t want to list my prices on my website?

Well what if I don’t?

It’s understandable.

This topic comes up whenever I set up a company website.

With some service-related businesses, prices are shown for all to see. But with others, you want to be a little more strategic and deliberate.

There’s often some aversion at first to the to the idea of listing prices. While many people need some convincing, they’ll usually warm up to the idea after considering the facts. In this post, I’ll go over some things to consider.

Reasons for NOT wanting to list your prices.

When people are uncomfortable with the idea, it’s usually based on one of the following fears:

  • Your competitors will see what you charge – then undercut you
  • Your potential customers will be scared off before they even become a potential lead
  • You’ll break away from tradition – “It’s just not done in our industry” for example.

When we buy stuff, we always gravitate towards the easiest options. This means we want to research and make a decision on our own schedule. If we can find the price for a service we need on the internet, great.

When a company forces us to talk to a sales person first in order to get a price, ugh. We don’t like that. It’s just one more hurdle we have to jump over to go from interested party to paying customer. It often makes our purchase just a little more difficult.

This becomes even more true as the years go on. It seemed crazy that you could buy a car without hardly talking to anyone, but it’s now an option many people take. Having the ability to buy things like this affects what we expect and what we know is possible.

Think about how we become customers

When we are searching a purchase online, we like being able to:

  • read some information
  • ask a few questions
  • maybe read some reviews
  • leave… anytime we want

When buying, we don’t want to become a “sales lead” because of what that often means. It could mean unsolicited emails or sales calls, or getting signed up for yet another email newsletter. Everyone has experienced this, so we tend to put our guard up.

But the fact remains – If given two or more options, we favor companies that make things easy for us. We don’t like to jump through a lot of hoops just to get the price of something.

Getting on the customer’s short list

It’s all about making your company look like a contender in the buyer’s eye. They reach a point where they are almost ready to make contact. This could be by phone, email, or your website’s contact form.

During this comparison process, companies that have listed prices are more likely to be considered. The companies that don’t provide that info get brushed aside. Your website will most likely be open in a tab along with several other competitors, and price is a factor.

It depends on what the competition is doing. A company that hides pricing information can look like it has something to hide. Saying “Contact us first” can make other companies seem more honest than you.

What can happen if you don’t list your prices on your website

When you make customers ask you first, you are at the mercy of whatever fantasy number pops into their mind. If they think they can’t afford it, even if they are wrong, then they won’t stick around long enough to make contact and find out the truth.

You can also open the door to manipulation by your competitors. If you haven’t listed prices clearly, your competitors can get in the way. They can gossip about your prices in a way that that favors their own.

Often the the only way to stop this is to release your prices into the wild.

What if the cost of my services is “It depends?”

Sometimes the answer to – “How much does it cost?” is not a simple answer. Even my web design business has a lot of “It depends” when it comes to negotiating the price.

If it doesn’t make sense to show your exact prices, you can still do a few things without giving it all away.

At a minimum, you can help the customer’s decision by establishing a baseline figure. An example would be “packages start at X dollars” or something similar. Sample prices can at least keep you in the decision making process.

Professionals like wedding photographers often do this on their websites. They want to qualify leads before they come in, to make sure they don’t waste time with people who are not serious. They give a number to put themselves in a category, but hold back on giving a full list until they talk to the lead.

In these cases you can give a baseline price, or give a range of cost for a typical project. It help’s to frame the cost in the customer’s mind.

In most cases, something is almost always better than nothing.

About Grady McNeill

Grady McNeill builds websites, writes content, and does SEO for many clients in North America. He runs Increase Interactive and splits his time between Las Vegas, NV and Calgary, AB.

Comments

  1. Grady, these are good points. For my coffee company I decided to display pricing, and for websites we don’t show pricing and just say that all website quotes are custom and require a discussion first. Although we can get inquiries from people who can’t afford to pay $1,000+ for a website too. But I still think it’s the right approach. So it depends on if it’s a product or a service, and if the service is customizable and what the price range is I’d say.

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