When you're trying to set a fair price for a Web design project, there are a number of factors you need to keep in mind in order to get the client to agree to the price. When it comes down to it, your clients are looking for the best possible design and designer to build it for the lowest possible price (free, is of course, best). While you are looking for a way to deliver high quality designs for a high price (or at least a medium price). Either way, unless you are willing to do all your work for free, you and your clients have completely opposite goals when it comes to the price.
In order to reconcile these two goals, you need to be aware of the following facts, and have solutions in your mind for addressing them when they come up.
Aesthetic Can't Be Bought
There is a quote: "I don't know what art is, but I like this." Most clients don't necessarily know what a good Web design is, but they know what they like. If you're delivering a design to a client and they don't like it, it doesn't matter how cheap you make it, they won't want to pay your price.
If you've already got a contract, that's good for you in the short term. But in the longer term, you may lose a client and lose the referals they could have given you.
Solution: Know what the client likes and dislikes before you give them a final design, and work towards those preferences. If your client hates the color red, giving them a design in a red hue will only annoy them, even if the company logo and colors are all red.
There's Always a Cheaper Designer Out There
There are hundreds if not thousands of free Web design templates. And most clients know that at some level. If you are going to compete against companies that offer free or cheap design services, you have to know that you have that competition.
Solution: Be aware of the competition, and have an elevator speech ready for what you can provide that is better than those services. Be willing to walk away from clients that insist that the competition is better for them. It might be better for them, but is it better for you?
When you know that you're providing a quality product or service, that confidence will show in your communications with clients. If you believe in yourself and in the value you offer for the price, then your customers will too.
Solution: Be confident. When you present your pricing, be clear and enthusiastic. Don't offer compromises or be wimpy. Present your services and the prices you charge with the attitude that they are lucky to be paying so little for so much.
High Prices Doesn't Equal Quality But People Think it Does
Pricing says something about you and your company. Many people will assume that a higher price means that they will get higher quality. Most clients, when you ask them, will go with a cheaper service because the price is lower, but they'll be afraid that they won't get as good of service as with the high priced option.
Solution: Set your prices slightly higher than you think you should and then use your positive attitude to sell your services. Don't undercut yourself right from the beginning.
Branding and Referals Are Critical
Creating a strong brand for your Web design business is critcal to getting customers to believe that they should pay more for your firm than some other, less well-known firm. And while you're working on building up a brand, work with your current and past customers to build up a word-of-mouth network that knows your brand.
Some Clients Just Won't Pay
One final thing to remember is that some clients are going to be resistant to your prices no matter what you charge. There are lots of designers who are willing to work for free or next to nothing, and some clients feel that anyone they work with should do the same. Many designers have heard the comment from clients, "My neighbor's son could do this for me for $50 and a movie ticket."
Solution: Don't be afraid to say no to them. If they really can get their neighbor's son to do it, then why are they coming to you? Stick to your guns, remember your confidence in your prices and walk away if they refuse to agree.
Word-of-Mouth Can Hurt Your Pricing Plans
While most designers would agree that word-of-mouth is probably the best way to get new clients, it can leave you stuck in a low-priced rut. This is especially true if your existing clients are recommending you to their friends and colleagues based on your low prices.
Solution: When working with new clients, focus on the value they will receive and less on the prices. Provide suggestions for referals so that the word-of-mouth referals say what you want them to say. Things like pre-printed postcards with your branding message that they can give to their friends and colleagues can really help. Also, build up a client base from a different source. Once you have a few clients at your new price point, they will start the word-of-mouth referals for you, and you'll be making more money per client.