et’s discuss pricing and quoting as a small business web development. Once again this is all based around one-man show business and this is all talking about my experiences and what I found works and doesn’t work for my business. It may relate in some way to what you’re doing.
So, Let’s talk about how to set your pricing. So to set your pricing first thing I guess you have to do is look at what is your competition’s pricing, now this is very important because if somebody, if your whole region, let’s say you’re working in a smallish town 250000 people 100000 people, but it’s a thriving community where there are enough small businesses for you and probably another couple of other web developers to sort of support their business. So your competition’s pricing, now there’s some ways to get an idea of what they are charging one way and this way I’ve never done, but you can find out by calling those businesses as a potential client. So say I look on mowing business, I’m looking for doing a website, how can you help me out? What’s your pricing? They might grab a few details about that and then send you an email as any business would, and then that way you can get an idea of what they’re charging and what they do, what they charge. I really do suspect that this is what happened to me in the past as well, but look I’ve never been closed about how I do my business because there’s nothing that I’m not taking advantage of any people, anywhere, on any situation. So I feel as though I have to conceal what I’m doing.
Anyway so let’s move on to the next one now. The other way of finding out what your competitors are charging is simply by asking the people that call you. So any potential clients will call around naturally to all web designers within their region and probably some outside of the region as well. So it’s a good idea just to sort of getting to a one-on-one personal level with themselves. What’s the business like when you know sort of vetting any potential clients, I’m not sure if that’s the right word but when you’re talking to any potential clients you really want to, first of all, find out what the business is? How big it is? Is a one-man show? If there you know, is there 10 people working for them? Do they work interstate? So you really want to start quizzing about it and you want to get an idea of what their business does as well. Sometimes it’s pretty straightforward for example there’s mowing business sometimes, it’s a little bit more complex with what that day. So to get a full understanding, you really have to ask questions. You’ll ask things like, have you received any other quotes? What’s the range that you were quoted? Things like that. But if there is an art form to asking these people this question because you don’t want to seem as though you’re asking them simply for the fact that you can get the highest bid for your work. I generally ask these businesses you know, what your budget for this project? simply for the reason that some potential clients have an unrealistic view of what they should be paying for your services. So I’ve had some people come up and say I want a subscription user website with different levels of access etc. I want to spend $2,000, totally unrealistic, okay. So I do ask that question for that reason and let them know and the reason why I ask the question is simply because some people have an unrealistic idea of what this is going to cost and look they’re quite happy to sort of say, well I have a budget of $5 and have a budget of 10,000 and so on and really that shouldn’t affect your price of what you should be quoting because by this time you should have a set pricing structure in place. But it does give you ideas of you know whether you’ll win the bid on not as well for the quote.
Okay, I guess another thing about how to set your pricing is the region that you’re in and this sort of comes close to what your competitor’s pricing is as well. So look I find that oddly enough for a web developing business like myself that you would think it could be international and it would be and it can be okay. So I don’t necessarily need people coming around to my place so that I can sit down face-to-face and talk to them about their website. That’s something that’s not really needed, but customers do feel more at ease when they talk to a human being face-to-face and they can see your facial expressions, they can see that its problem you’ve been doing this for a long time. So they get a more calm feeling about putting across money for you to develop their website. So it is very important to get an idea of what the pricing is in your region and also whether these clients or customers are regional as well. So if there is a small business operating in your region and they have been for 10 years, they are more likely to spend money in the region than going to somewhere interstate or a larger city to get their website done. 90% of my work is here within my region and this is because people like to spend within their region that feel as though it’s a stronger sense of community and so on and whereas anybody that has gotten a website from the bigger city says some other capital cities around stronger is because they would’ve been contacted by these people around the same time that they thought about updating the website. So it’s more of a case of convenience rather than that person saying well I’m going to go to a bigger city with better web developers than the city I’m in. Generally, small businesses don’t work that way, they like to be regional, so it’s very important to advertise and get a strong sense of region where your business is.
So let’s talk about quoting and how to actually get the work. So you set your prices you and you understand your region and you also understand your competitor’s pricing, so now you’re ready to sort of send out your quotes and start to get some work. Now please keep in mind that this is specific to me and my business and this is what I’ve done I’ve never done any sort of advertising courses, degrees, business courses stuff that, this is only from what I found out as my past experience. So I’ve used in my time as a small business web developer, Yellow Pages, which is a local directory, I’ve used that and I’ve used listing sites and also I’ve used lead sites. So people go to that site, they say ‘I’m looking for a web designer’ and look it doesn’t have to, it can be from anywhere in this region, and then that Lead gets sent on to you and you then put your bidding with ten twenty other developers around the area in that region they selected. So that’s a lead.
So let’s talk about Yellow Pages or local directory advertisings. In this case, I find its useful when you start off, but when you get busy pretty much you can scrap it down to one line listing okay. So what you’ve been established for a while, it might take two weeks for me because I’m busy, I don’t need too many new calls, the new calls I get from word of mouth or simply a Google search. When you’re starting off then do it, invest the money in that sort of book advertising because that’s surprisingly enough. And once again I would have thought for a web developing or web design business that is all on the internet. Everybody goes to the internet but unfortunately when starting off and this probably is more so to do with that era thing. So when I was starting up about 10 years ago, people I would always ask about say they found me out from the Yellow Pages. But now it’s a different dynamic for me now because once again I’m very busy and I don’t need the new work from advertising in books. Of course, now they’ve all gone online, and my view of that is well Google is the biggest yellow pages directory or local or listing directory there. So you know it’s a bit of a waste of money anyway.
so let’s look at listing sites. Now listing sites are special sites that are set up and once again you can use local listings or something like that, but a lot of business will give the idea. I think it’s a good idea we’re in this region, here it would be a great idea to get all businesses in this region, lock them up. Well just if I search for a plumber, there’s a plumber in my area and these have some degrees of success I find, but ultimately once again Google is the largest listing site there is. So you really want to focus your attention on Google. So listing sites in the past, I’ve joined a couple of specific ones; I found them totally useless and a waste of money.
And the next one is the lead site. Now I’ve also done a couple of leads sites and also lead businesses where they pass the lead on to me. So I join up, I say I’m a web designer in this region and I’ll accept quotes from here in this region and then what happens if somebody goes to that site and they type in there looking for a web design, they might put a web designer, they might put a bit of information about the job and then that lead will get passed on to me and then I will have to contact that person. Now by this time any lead that’s sent on to me, I’ve already paid or invested around $50 odd tome to receive that lead. So I’m already $50 out-of-pocket as an example. Then the next step I have to do is I have to then win over that person who doesn’t know me. So essentially if it’s a called call, it’s a called email coming straight off the bat, so they haven’t hunted you down, they haven’t seen your work on your website, so they don’t have an idea, they haven’t called you specifically because you’re one of the few that they actually like your website and your work. You’re coming in called so it’s a totally different thing now. I found this ultimately to be useless because it was that sort of thing you were competing essentially to be the lowest price. So this is great if you want to go into lead sites and be the lowest price and that’s what people are hunting around for generally when they’re going to lead places like that. But if you can talk to them, I found that when I talk to them over the phone and you know sort of quiz them about what they wanted in their website and did all that sort of stuff and they felt a little bit more comfortable with you rather than thinking of you as an email letter or an email notification, as they see you as a person. So this would be great, but once again I always lost it when they were out of town. The only time a lead ever worked for me is when they were local. So now that person would have called me locally anyway because I’m one of the few web designers in my region. So once again leads don’t worry about it. And when I say don’t worry about it, I mean in my experience, I’m not worried about it.
So the next part is the quotes. You’re getting the leads, you’re getting the calls and you’re talking to the people and now you’re sending out all these quotes because they want something you know hardcopy, in the sense that says how much you will do this website for and they can judge and compare it against what other people or other designers are charging up. So now it’s just that comparison stage and this is where I do find that your quality of work, the way you talk to them on the phone, how you comprehend what they’re wanting, if they’re wanting something a little unique and the amount of time you invest with them, pre-sales as well is very important, so you stand out your quote, don’t make it quotes complex. I did this; this was my mistake when I first started. My quotes were just horribly complex, they would have a breakdown and you know you could have a web designer, could have a website and it could have this sort of type of banner and that sort of type of banner, that that one costs more than this one and really it was just an overly confusing and I did find that some of the feedback would be from my clients just like you know ‘what the hell is this?’. It’s like I’m not buying a car, I just want a website. You know, what’s all this stuff? So anyway I found that over there, keep it simple, okay. So what you have to do is you have to send a quote out that’s a brief breakdown of what you are supplying as a service. So I’ll supply a website and now I’m getting a brief outline of what this website tails. So you can’t put the level of complexity into the quote that you know goes into making a website, you really have to outline and like it must be brief and simple and seem simple because if it seems simple to them, then they’re going to get with the easiest solution. And generally that client is busy working for their customers or they’re busy working on their business and they want you just to handle the website as best you can and for them to give precise minimal input for them to get the best results. So please make a quote simple. I did a website for a small business coach and he said one of the main things is just to keep it simple because people like that. So now the quotes are going out, you’re keeping it simple, the pricing is fair and the part I’m going to discuss now is something I must have added in the previous section. However, let me talk about it here. Price to what you think you’re worth. It can be a hindrance, so you’ll start off pricing low because you’re probably unsure about what you’re doing as a designer or developer. And you might have not a high opinion in yourself that you look at other people’s work and go. Well, that’s really good I can’t achieve that just yet.
Okay, so you’re going to price yourself accordingly to that. Don’t get this confused with what you think you’re worth as a person okay? So this is about what you think you’re worth in what you can provide to the customer client. So I started off and I did charge it right about $50, now that was my starting rate and I got a fair bit of work because of that price. So I did start very cheap and I priced myself to what I thought I was worth. So as I became better and better and better I realized that working quicker and providing a higher standard of work. So, therefore, my pricing went up. So the pricing level I’m in now, where I think you know this is what I’m worth and it could possibly even be a little bit more. But I took this sidetrack because what jotted my memory is, in that section of ‘how to get quotes and work’, I was talking about ‘Are you too busy?’ So that was my next part. Are you too busy? This tie in with what you’re pricing to what you think you’re worth. But basically they work together, so if you’re really busy then you need to charge more. You need to be worth more because that means that obviously, you’re busy because you’re good or your pricing is too low. So I would rather the people came to me because I’m good, so that means then I will charge more for my services. So I will sooner or later roll around and take it up to the next notch in pricing. Naturally, this will get rid of more and more clients that some don’t think I’m worth that much or even more and more clients that started off with me because when you start off you’ll get the cheaper, the low budget clients. Now, these clients are grateful when you’re starting off but let me just say that the difference between low budgets or cheaper clients and a high budget and the client that pays more is virtually nothing. They expect the same thing from your services. So the realistic side of this is that as you get busier, unfortunately, you can’t be doing jobs for less and less money because you won’t survive as a business, especially, as a one-man business because my hours are worth money to me. So if I’m earning less money for doing more work or the same amount of work for a cheaper or a more budgeted client, compared to somebody that is willing to pay the money, then it just makes sense you have to move up to the people that pay more money because they think you’re worth that. Okay, so I’m pricing to what I think I’m worth and also what other people or other clients think I’m worth. I hope this blog was helpful if it was then let me know in the comments and if I missed anything, the same thing, let me know in the comments. Thank you.