A couple of weeks ago I received a guest contributor submission from one of our Marketplace partners, Brian Brauntuch of EVEN Financial. The moment I opened the draft and read the title, 3 Reasons to Put Prices on your Website, I recognized it would be controversial to say the least. I had my reservations about publishing the submission, but in the end, I chose not to let my personal opinions dictate.
That’s the thing about marketing: there is rarely a right or wrong. I like to think of various strategies and tactics that come my way as merely different approaches.
(I’ve seen it many times. Something will fail miserably for one company yet work flawlessly for others.)
But back to Brian’s article. It went out in our PowerTips newsletter and, as I predicted, the comments lit up pretty quickly. Some good. Some bad.
In addition, I received an email from Chris Stebnitz of Stebnitz Builders. He had some strong opinions about the topic and wanted to get it off his chest. He was so passionate in his response, I thought I should share his perspective on the idea of posting prices on your website.
And so, with his permission, I’ve published his email as a counter-point to Brian’s article. (And yes, the email included all the screenshots you see below.) Enjoy:
Remodelers Advantage ran an article this week by Brian Bauntuch on the “transparency of pricing” and how professional remodelers needed to catch up with the shopping habits of today’s more tech-savvy consumer. After reading it several times, I was left with the reality that I was so opposed to this position and that it was so far off from the reality I knew, I needed to pen a response.
So, in the interest of fairness, I figured I should give this concept of transparent pricing a fair shot. Maybe people CAN go online and find realistic and reliable information on the internet to give them an idea of what a professional service should provide and at what price. I did as Brian had indicated everyone can do – a simple search online to find out the cost of hiring a professional be it remodeling, finance, tax preparation or even a lawyer.
My search was: “How much does it cost to complete my business tax preparation”
I took the first website Google gave me, right after the paid ads. Small Business Cost Helper sounded perfect for what I was looking for.
But, before I could get very far, I realized this was anything but the clear-cut answer Brian promised was out there.
- First thing (in yellow below) I noticed was “Low $250” to “High $2,000+.” I’m certain those are similar services. You know, like how similar the steak filler at Taco Bell is to a Ruth’s Chris NY Strip. (Plus, can you really get away with telling potential clients that their kitchen remodel may cost, Low: $10,000 and High: $100,000+? How would this ever be useful?)
- Next (in purple below) notice the statement “Charges…vary depending on the complexity, the size of the firm and kind of the business.” Looks like this site doesn’t believe it’s quite so easy to price this professional service.
- And there’s so much more. The first bullet says that tax forms are “usually included.” Does this mean I could be charged as high as $2,000 and then get jacked up for additional fees?
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you take the time to read through the page, you’ll see the word “depending” throughout. Which effectively nullifies any statement the sentence is making. I could go on but I think you see my point.
Actually, one last thing on debunking the myth of professional service pricing over the internet. Check out the website for Ruth’s Chris Steak House. You’ll find no pricing! (With the exception of a “Season Favorite’s Special”). How can this be? I thought everybody was doing this. I thought the public demanded this transparency before making a decision.
If you’ve read [my email] this far, Mark, then thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to let me vent and present my reality.
I realize R.A. used Bauntuch’s column as a launching pad for conversation. But, to newer members, or those just starting out in business, it looks like you endorse it as a “new movement.”
I think these business owners should be made aware of the drastic difference between comparing the price of “Liver and Gizzards Snacks” with pricing the services of a professional remodeling contractor.
Chris Stebnitz, Stebnitz Builders
So, there you have it. A passionate remodeler’s opinion on putting pricing on your website.
Now to be fair to Brian, I think it should be restated that his original point was that you should make an effort to give your website visitors a general idea of what to expect.
As he wrote, “It is clearly impossible to estimate an exact cost for any project without hearing more from the customer, but your customers will understand and reward your efforts by giving you their business. You’ll be surprised – a little transparency will go a long way.”
And to be fair to us, I don’t know that we “endorsed” it. In fact the email that went out said: “[here is] a very interesting take on a contentious subject. See what you think!”
So, I recommend you read through both articles (and their comments) and determine which strategy works best for you.
Thanks for reading and remember… Opinions expressed by PowerTips Contributors are their own. 🙂
See you next week.