Ok web designer, give it to me straight…how long have you been kicking the “raise my prices” can down the road? 🥾
How long have you been dealing with the inner money mindset monologue that says:
“If I raise my rates, all my client inquiries will dry up.”
Or, “I’m still learning, so I really shouldn’t be charging much for my time.”
Or, “This is just my side hustle, so I guess I should just be happy I can make a little extra on the side.”
I’ve totally been there.
When I first got started, I was charging a whopping $680 dollars for a completely custom 5 page website on Etsy.
Ya’ll, that’s peanuts for the amount of time, care, and creative energy I was pouring into each project.
And I knew this…but again, your mind can do weird things when it comes to assigning a monetary value to your own work.
If you’re currently stuck in discount designer land, worried you don’t have what it takes to raise your rates, and still be able to land enough clients to pay the bills, then I want to share the story with you of what happened the first time I finally got up the courage to do a major price hike in my web design business.
But before I do, if your track record of attracting clients with REAL budgets has been part of your money mindset struggle, then I want you to hit pause for a second and get access to a free training I recently recorded for you on Finding Clients As A New Designer.
In it, I’m sharing which client-attracting methods tend to keep you small and struggling as a designer, vs. which ones will set you up for success in the longterm. 👇
Ok, so let’s throw it all the way back to 2017, when my main focus was still serving web design clients 1:1 (rather than teaching thousands of students through my web designer courses like I do now!)
So in July of 2017, I doubled the price of my web design services from $2,500 – $5,000.
😯 Bold move, I know.
I proceeded to get asked a LOT of questions about how I mustered up the courage to do it, and what happened after. The most common question I received was, did doubling the prices tank the number of inquiries and bookings I was getting?
I’ll be sharing that in just a moment…but first first, let’s walk down memory lane and I’ll explain how the idea to double prices came up in the first place.
At that time, I was offering something pretttty different in the web design world.
Most designers would take on 4-5 clients at a time, their site build and launch taking take 2-3 months. It was also pretty common for timelines to go long, and for site launches to take weeks or sometimes even months more than the original estimate. Revisions to the site were limited to generally 2-3 rounds.
So what made me stand out?
I took on just one client at a time and took them from site-dreaming to site-launching in 2 weeks.
My projects were always completed on time. My client got the undivided attention of their own dedicated designer for 2 weeks, and I got to pour all of my focus into just one client’s project.
I gave my clients unlimited rounds of revisions and also followed up every site design with an individualized lesson. I helped them with linking up external integrations and was there holding their hand to launch the thing too!
This process was pretty unique, and my clients LOVED it.
So there was a definite value add with how I did things compared to other design studios and the traditional design process.
I mean, let’s be real, who doesn’t like undivided attention? (…Or is that just the ‘middle child’ in me speaking?)
Even with this major value add in both my process and the additions I included in my packages that others didn’t, I had previously been pricing similar to that of the other designers out there.
Until I had a phone call with a business friend who knocked a bit of sense into me.
My friend worked in a company that helped hundreds of business owners launch websites, so he’s pretty familiar with the web design space and my business.
He let me know that I was offering truly incredible value for the price, maybe even too much value for the price, and challenged me to double my prices.
On the call I was thinking ‘no freaking way am I doubling my prices!’
But then off the call, the thought was firmly planted in my head, and like a seed, it began to grow.
I began researching and comparing my packages, designs and pricing to others in my industry. I realized he was absolutely right. My value vs. price was completely off.
I toyed with the idea of raising prices by $1,000. Or raising them a bit now, and some more late, and then a bit more in the future until I got to the doubled price as he suggested…
But, it’s uncomfortable enough to raise prices once, let alone do it every few months, and I wanted my price to be something I was happy with for the foreseeable future!
So I ended up deciding to take the full leap.
I hadn’t heard of anyone similar doubling prices before, so it was a total gamble, and I honestly had no idea what to expect.
‘Will my followers and email list be turned off by it?’
‘Will past clients who refer new clients to me stop spreading the word, because the price is twice what they had paid?’
Still, I knew my pricing was definitely off from what it should have been, and postponing the uncomfortable decision of upping them wasn’t going to get me to where I wanted to go.
So within an hour of hopping off that call, with a feeling of ‘yes! this is right!’ I doubled the prices on the spot!
So I had doubled my prices and there was no looking back! Anyone who reached out in the future would be quoted my new going rate!
That being said, I still wanted to give the opportunity to anyone who had been sitting on the fence, or following along with me for a while to still get in at my old prices.
I sent out an email to my list to let them know of the change and gave a few days where they could get in touch if they wanted to book in at the old prices.
I also individually emailed anyone who had directly inquired in the past, but had yet to book my services. Did every single one of them head straight to my website and click that “book now” button? No, but the urgency of a price increase did get a good many of them off the fence! So definitely worth sending that email to score a few extra bookings that may have just disappeared if I raised my rates and told no one.
So there’s the backstory, but I know what you are really dying to know is…
In my weekly stats tracking, I faithfully noted down how many booking inquiries and how many bookings I did each week and month. Therefore, I could easily track the difference pre and post price increase, and have specific numbers to back up whether or not this price hike was the right move.
Before I did the increase, I decided on number that I felt indicate my plan had been a success.
If inquiries and bookings dropped by half, but I actually earned twice as much per project, then I’d be making the exact same income, while literally working half the time.
I’d call that a win. 🙌 💃🏅
So basically, as long as I continued to do half my previous bookings and inquiries or better, I’d label this a huge success!
Though I think this increase could probably be attributed to the fact that that was also around the time I started consistently blogging in my business and was starting to see some traction from that in the form of increased organic traffic to my site!
There’s one major change I noticed after upping my prices that I think anyone who’s considering a price increase should think about.
I had pretty much priced myself out of working with people who were side hustling or who were just getting starting in business at the very early stages.
All the inquiries I received post-price change were from people who had been running their business for some time. They’d seeing a lot of success in their business and were looking to get a site that matched their killer business.
Through this experience, I learned that as your price changes, that clients you attract will too. And in order to see success in the price change, it’s important our sites appeal to our new clients.
I know I hear you saying over there ‘okay, but what does that mean exactly…?’
The messaging of your site should change with a price change!
For the most part, I priced myself out of the ‘side hustler,’ ‘passion project’ entrepreneurs.
I previously had a line in my sales page mentioning something about ‘leaving a 9-5,’ but with the new prices, I would basically only be attracting people who had already left their 9-5. As such, that line had to go.
That’s just one example, but I hope it demonstrates a larger take away.
When your price changes, your ideal clients will change, and therefore your site likely will need some tweaks to properly communicate with your new people.
So, the question on everyone’s minds is of course…
If I upped my prices to $150,000 for a 10 page Squarespace website, I was quite sure I would have 0 inquiries in my inbox, but that’s not the case.
I was far from the most expensive web designer out there. I hadn’t by any means hit the ceiling of what business owners were (and are) willing to pay for a website.
My inquiries and bookings didn’t dry up because there are all types of buyers out there.
Yes, there’s buyers to whom price is the most important factor.
Both higher and lower price points will attract some and deter others.
I sold my first website design for $680. But by the time I made the decision to stop offering 1:1 web design and focus solely on serving the many through my online courses instead, I had clients paying me upwards of $9K for a single project.
There’s exactly zero chance that those high-end clients would have even considered hiring me if my prices were still $680.
Why? Because $680 is literally peanuts for a website. It almost couldn’t get any cheaper. It’s so cheap that you think … ‘there’s something not right there.’
When you’re an established business owner who’s poured your blood, sweat and tears into growing your business and you’re ready to reinvest, you want it done well and done by an expert. You want someone who knows what they’re doing and has a proven record of great work.
You’re expecting to pay for it, in fact, you’re happy to do so, because you know that the investment will help grow your business. And to be honest, you’ll be scared off of bargain basement prices, because it’ll make you question the quality of the design and the service you’ll receive.
So to wrap up, I’m not encouraging doubling prices just for the heck of it, but if you have a feeling that your value and pricing aren’t aligning then I absolutely encourage you to give it a think, research your market and if it feels right, take the leap!