Are you stuck working for peanuts, afraid to increase your rates for fear of losing out on new projects?
Join the club.
Many freelance web developers undercharge for their work. It’s symptomatic of our industry, and unfortunately it often leads to poor results and stress for both you and the client. When money is short, time and quality of work follow suit.
But there is a better way. A way that you can dramatically up your rates to not only get paid what your worth but also enjoy more fruitful client relationships and do better work.
Why is web design so cheap?
It’s common for web developers to pitch their services at really low rates. I mean, really low rates.
I used to do this myself. Somebody once asked me to design a website homepage for £20 and I said yes 🤦
This choice — to work for hardly anything at all — is rooted in fear and a sense of low self-worth. We’re scared that clients only want the cheapest option. We feel that if the prospect receives multiple project quotes, ours must be the cheapest in order to win the work. We don’t feel worthy of charging more, so we compete only on price.
In a nutshell, that is why web design is so cheap. It all comes down to fear and our sense of worth. So before anything else, we must become more confident in our abilities and our service offering. We must begin to value our work and price our time accordingly.
Let’s look at a few strategies for increasing our rates.
How to increase your web development prices
First: the bad news.
Successfully increasing your prices is sadly not achieved by simply, increasing your prices.
If you choose to double your next quote for no perceivable reason, you’ll just end up feeling awkward about it and be unable to justify it even to yourself.
What you need to understand is that how you frame your service is absolutely central to increasing your web design prices.
What do I mean by this?
In short, it comes down to brand. If you’re more of a designer than a developer, you will likely have a greater appreciation for brand.
For those not so well-acquainted, you can think of your brand as the way that other people perceive you.
The way that others perceive you is deeply influenced by how you see yourself. It is beyond the scope of this article to delve into your psyche but if you need help with confidence and your personal development, I highly recommend reading Feel The Fear.
How to improve the way customers perceive your service
Your brand is all-encompassing.
It permeates every touchpoint of the customer experience, from the very first piece of content they read on your website, right through to the proposal document you have lovingly prepared for them.
Take a step back. How does it feel to you? Really?
Place yourself in the shoes of your prospective customer. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does this service look trustworthy?
- Do I feel that this service will solve my problem?
- How accessible is the content? Is it loaded with jargon or plain speaking?
- Does this business look active, or is it stagnating? Does it have recently published content, active social channels and an up to date portfolio?
- Do I understand and have an affinity with this company?
The question that I want you to begin to answer is: does my brand connect with my prospective customer? Does it engage them and make them want to work with me?
If, hand on heart, you don’t believe that this is the case, spend some time working on your brand to bring it up to scratch.
Remember: your brand is everything, literally and figuratively. It comprises your tone of voice, choice of imagery, quality of work and everything else.
Here are some tips to improve all of that:
- Try to remove any references to technology on your website. For example, don’t talk about WordPress, talk about easy content management and training
- Get your portfolio updated and include some real quotes from clients. Include their picture, link to their social profiles
- Don’t talk about what you do, talk about how it benefits them. For example, you might make “beautiful websites”, but clients want their website to work for them. To be a business asset.
- Tidy up your website so it feels higher quality — try to resolve things like unequal spacing, inconsistent typography, overused FontAwesome icons, cliché stock photography etc.
- If you can, create niche landing pages for specific audiences. This will resonate much more deeply with that audience than more generic content.
If it helps, look at other web design agency websites and ask yourself which ones you trust, and why.
By going through this process, you will uncover the weak spots in your own brand and you can use this knowledge to really tune up your customer experience.
Now let’s look at your pricing
If you’ve spend some time — days or weeks — tuning up your content, improving your proposal template, selecting better imagery and generally enhancing your brand, you might feel a renewed pride in your work.
This is the magic feeling you need to confidently increase your web development pricing.
Now, when you prepare a proposal for a client, you can feel more assured that they are impressed by your brand positioning. If your brand resonates with them, the crazy thing is they will be expecting a higher price.
There is a reason why we buy into brands like Nike and Apple. It’s because we feel they are right for us.
Once your proposition is framed in such a way that your prospective client is excited to work with you, it doesn’t really matter what price you slap on your proposal, because you’ve already won the work.
Now, stop fighting amongst all those other freelancers who don’t value their work. Stop competing on price. Put in the time to be proud of what you do, and raising your prices will feel completely natural. And your prospective customers will be eager to buy.