Do You Put Your Fees On Your Website?
I was having a chat recently about whether prices should be displayed on our websites or not. I decided to reflect on why I think it is important. You may disagree with me and I would love to hear your reasons.
Will it put a client off? The main reason I have heard for not putting fees on a website is that it may put off a prospective client. That is probably the main reason I like it on! Not to be cruel, but to be kind. If someone really can't afford me, I would not want them to call me up and then feel embarrassed if I am too much for them. As a therapist, I think it is even more challenging for my potential clients. They are coming because they feel vulnerable in some way and I don't want to wrong foot them, or leave them with an uncomfortable question to ask. This ties in with my second reason.
Premature disclosure. When someone calls me, they are interested, usually very seriously interested, in working with me. Sometimes desperate. They often share very personal details in that initial contact, such as an email. Sometimes they want to make sure that I am happy to work with them or have experience of their concerns so share more personal details.
I don't feel good about clients, who may have taken a long time to pluck up courage to contact a therapist, revealing a tender story and then discover that I am beyond their means. That feels like they have started the process of opening up, I know those personal details, and then they have to pack it away and start again. And a person they have never met knows a secret or two about them.
Is there evidence? Website usability guru Jakob Nielson says that we make up many excuses for not displaying prices, and yet he has found that pricing is the first thing that people look for on business websites. Okay, so you are not a business website. He suggests that as a single individual is making the decision to spend on your service, they are likely to be more selective and price conscious as the money isn’t coming from their business but from their own pocket.
Establishing trust. A funny one this, maybe, but I believe being upfront about your fees helps a client trust you. You are honest, straightforward to deal with, haven’t embarrassed them. Even if money is not an issue, they know from the off where they are with you.
But they might go for someone with a lower fee. Then they are not your client. There are two main reasons I can think of why they would go to someone else. I’ve already covered them not being able to afford you. The other reason is that they don’t care who they see. The latter means you as an individual have not been chosen by them. There is no strong connection there, no desire to work with you especially, and that makes for a weaker working relationship. You will do your best work, and feel most confident, when you are working with someone who knows they want to work with YOU. It’s the nature of personal work.
Want to offer a reduced rate? Some therapists and coaches feel awkward about putting a price on their website because they would be happy to reduce for someone who might be cash-strapped. You can include a statement below your fee to that effect. In fact it is probably better to do this than surprise them with a higher fee than they expected and then offering to reduce it if they can’t afford it.
Why do I think it is better to have a statement about concessions? Because otherwise you might sound a bit desperate when you make an offer, which puts people off. Plus you are allowing them to be in the driving seat by enquiring about availability of concession rates, rather than you rescuing them with an offer. It’s a subtle but significant difference in how you start your working relationship.
What are your thoughts on whether to put your price on your website, and what made you settle on that choice?