A few weeks ago, Martin and I sat down at our kitchen table to discuss the one thing we’d been putting off talking about for a long time.
Lukey, our 10-week old son, was fast asleep.
Our cats were fast asleep.
We both had hot coffee.
It was a rare scenario in our house, and we had zero excuses not to talk about OUR PRICES.
We’re constantly telling small business owners to stop underestimating themselves and raise their damn prices! But, as always, it’s easier to give out advice than follow it yourself. When it came to our own business, we’d kept our web design prices the same for the last 18 months.
So why do small business owners, in particular, find raising their prices so hard? Because let’s face it huge corporations never seem to have this problem.
I think we worry that people will say no and we’ll lose potential clients. In some cases, we feel like we’re not good enough to raise our prices, even though we know we deliver real value. Maybe it’s just because we’re British and we get all squirmy about talking money.
Martin and I felt all of these.
But the wonderful thing about being a team of two of is that we can have a discussion. I remember asking Martin, “Okay, but why should we charge more? What’s changed in our business?”
So we talked about it, and the more we talked about it, the clearer it was it had to happen.
Below, I’ve pretty much summed up our discussion: Why we’re increasing our web design prices.
How much will we charge for web design from April 2019?
Currently, our minimum package is £3497+VAT, and this will be increasing to £4497+VAT from the 4th of April. Yep, that’s a 28% increase. Quite a leap!
These are the reasons we’ve made that leap…
1. Our projects are getting more and more time-intensive
A website is more than just coding and techie stuff. It’s everything – design, user-experience, SEO, copy and content marketing. There is so, so much that goes into making a successful website and, as we’ve grown and developed, our projects have become more time intensive.
We take the time to delve into your business, understanding what your goals are for the future and who your ideal clients are. We plot how your users will journey through your site and how we can best convert them into leads. We consider everything from your big bold statement to the wording on call to action buttons. We experiment with different colours, fonts and styles. In short, we research and tweak and test constantly.
Don’t get us wrong, this is what we absolutely love to do, but our business model has slowly shifted over the past two years. We now take on fewer clients and spend more time and energy with those clients to make sure they get the best possible website for their business.
Essentially, we’re not a stack them high agency. We prefer to dedicate our time to a smaller amount of clients, because of this, we have to charge more for each individual site.
2. We invest heavily in our own learning
As I said before, a good website isn’t just about coding. It’s about design, user experience, SEO, copy and content marketing. We’ve learnt a hell of a lot about these topics through our own experience, but that doesn’t mean we can stop expanding our knowledge or not gain outside perspectives.
In order for us to deliver the best websites to our clients, we need to have the most up-to-date and in-depth knowledge. That’s why a few years ago we took the decision to cull our advertising spend and invest that time and money into learning and development.
We’re constantly striving to improve our own skills. Do we have to invest in our knowledge? Of course not, and many other web design agencies don’t do this. But we feel it’s the best thing to do for our clients’ websites.
We hire amazing people such as Col from Pixels Ink, who casts his expert eyes over the designs we create for our clients. We’re part of some amazing membership communities, like CMA (Content Marketing Academy) and Atomic, so we know exactly how to design websites for businesses who love content marketing. In fact, many of our new clients are coming to us because we know how to design a learning centre – a fantastic idea coined by Marcus Sheridan and introduced to us by Chris Marr (CMA).
We’ve also invested in experts like John Espirian to teach us about LinkedIn, Gavin Bell to teach us about Facebook ads, we’ve joined Derek Halpern’s course on how to write sales pages. And even though this has little to do with web design specifically, we still help our clients from the amazing things we’ve learned from these experts, and if they need more in-depth knowledge, we know who to recommend!
We spend tens of thousands of pounds every year on improving our skills and knowledge, and this is increasing year-on-year.
3. Many clients want advice and support
As we’ve grown, we’ve attracted a different kind of client. Clients who don’t just want an agency to design them a website, but need help with making their business a success.
This was (and still is!) very exciting for us because we love to teach. We love sharing our knowledge with our clients on how they can grow a successful online business. We’ll talk about branding, positioning, who they want to work with, where they want to be in the future, what their aims are for the next five years and what kind of lifestyle they want to lead. We’ll tell them how content marketing can help them or how to use SEO best practice in their business.
It’s a kind of holistic approach to web design, where we don’t just create our clients a website we help them build a successful online business. We build relationships with them which last and we absolutely love watching their businesses grow.
But all of this takes extra time and it also takes our expert knowledge. Knowledge we’ve spent a lot of time and money continuously developing.
4. We invest in the best tools
There are a shit-ton of free tools and plugins out there, especially when it comes WordPress, however, we like to invest in the best software for the websites we create.
We don’t offer a done-for-you SEO service, but we still invest heavily in SEO tools and software like SEM Rush, AHRefs and Majestic SEO. This allows us to identify where our clients can improve their rankings so we can make sure their traffic increases when we redesign their sites.
We also invest in tools our clients can use, such as Thrive Themes (which helps you build amazing sales pages). And if we do use plugins on our clients’ websites, we invest a lot in paid plugins. For example, there are tons of free contact form plugins out there, but we recently purchased a license for Gravity Forms to use on our clients’ sites.
So why do we prefer to pay for software rather than get it for free? Well, paid-for software is generally more accurate, more secure, and more trustworthy. It’s worth the investment from us to get it right for our clients.
5. We’re still a lot cheaper than other agencies
When we redesigned Janet Murray’s website, Janet said something quite interesting. Having done her own research Janet was getting quotes for new websites at 10/15K. You can listen to that podcast episode here.
Many larger agencies charge tens of thousands for website design. So, yes, we’re more expensive than many other agencies or freelancers, HOWEVER, we’re often more affordable than a lot of bigger agencies too. The reason we can keep our costs lower than the bigger agencies is because our overheads are significantly lower. We don’t have a fancy office (we work from home) or a large team of staff. And we certainly don’t wear fancy suits or drive Audis!
We want to deliver a great return on investment, and we truly believe we do that.
Why the pricing discussion works
In the end, it was a no-brainer. Seeing all this on paper made it clear we had to raise our prices so we could continue to deliver an amazing product and service to our clients.
If you’re in a similar situation, where your prices have remained stagnant for years, I’d highly recommend thinking about how your business has changed, the extra things you do, how much you’ve developed and honed your skills. And ask yourself, are you charging enough to sustain what you currently offer?
Why do feel the need to explain our pricing?
I could’ve just edited the pricing page on our website and left it at that. But we made a commitment early on in our business to be open and transparent with our audience. Part of that is explaining our pricing and why we charge what we do so you can make a better buying decision.
Still thinking of getting a website redesigned?
As I said, our prices are going up on the 4th April 2019 and the minimum we will charge is £4497+VAT.
As of publishing this (11 March, 2019), you still have time to get in touch to get a website designed at our lower price.