This is a Guest Post written by Nico Julius who owns and maintains his professional website – WordPressNinja.
I still remember when I just started to build websites for clients. I invented a good system for creating professional websites very fast using WordPress. Because I didn’t had any clients yet, I thought selling my websites cheap was a good move, but it wasn’t.
It turned out to be very difficult to find my first clients, and even more difficult to sell my first web sites. In those beginning days I made the mistake to charge not enough money for my sites, and let me explain why.
In the beginning, I sold my websites at low prices. I thought, as a newby, it was the perfect way to compete with established companies. My prices were half the price of my competers, and even lower. At that price point, and working a lot of hours, for me it was still worth it.
If you think I sold a lot of websites, you’re wrong! The problem is, that when the price is too low, people think it’s bad quality.
So this is a good reason to raise prices. Because when you charge higher prices, a lot of people also think you offer better quality.
A lot of costs
When you just start as a freelancer, you don’t have a clue of all the costs waiting for you. If you don’t know all your costs, you can’t calculate a real price for the goods you sell.
Maybe you think the only costs you have, are your computer and some software. But what about the rent of your office, even if you work at home? What about the time you spend at making quotations, answering emails, etc… You can’t charge for that, but it also requires a lot of time. And don’t forget all the taxes, insurances, social fees,…
When you start a company, you need to think good about all the expenses you are going to make. Don’t forget to talk with an accountant, to avoid costs you didn’t think about. After all, when starting a company, you want to make money, not lose it!
When building web sites, there are always going to be some friends asking you to build a website for them.
And that brings us to a very important question, will you charge your friends for building a web site? Off course you will! Okay, you can give them a reduction, but believe me, you have to charge them! Let me explain you why…
First of all, it takes a lot of hours to build a good web site. All the hours you work for your friends, you can’t work for other clients. Also, your costs stay the same, so if you don’t charge them, it’s like you pay for them. Another question you have to ask yourself, is your friend going to give something free to you (that has the same value)?
What has “respect” to see with this? Well, when you deliver work, it’s normal you want some respect for your hard work. After all, building a web site takes a lot of time and efforts. Even if you get paid for it, getting respect for you work is an important factor.
My experience is that when you sell your goods or services cheap, in one way or another, respect is less then when you sell something expensive. It’s like when customers pay more, they are more aware of that.
If somebody else takes over…
Last week, one of my clients called me to tell me that her brother also started a web design company. She asked me if I could mail her all the logins and passwords of the ftp, WordPress administrator, google apps administrator,…
Look, I don’t mind somebody else taking over, that’s part of the job. BUT, that was a web site I sold cheap because it was one of my first clients. Now I think it’s a shame, because some other guy can copy my whole way of working, and they didn’t had to pay a lot for it…
How you can find new clients
I know how hard it is to start a business. Finding clients is not easy. And selling your services cheap can be handy to attract some new clients. But as you can see, there are several reasons to not sell your websites cheap.
Is there another good way to find new clients? Yes there is! When I started another business, I first started a blog and wrote some articles about the services I was going to sell. After a couple of months my clients started to contact me in stead of I had to search for them!
Another great help is advertising, for example via Google AdSense. Most hosting companies offer a free voucher to try this service. This should be enough to get to know Google AdSense.
About the author
Nico Julius is a professional web designer and likes to share about his experiences and ideas through his blog, WordPressNinja.Com.