I’m often asked whether posting fees and hours online can scare away prospective clients. We post our hours, but not our fees, but if you’re trying to decide, here’s my rule of thumb:

If you think your fees or hours are things that set you apart, then post them. 

Are you the cheapest? Open the latest? Using a sliding scale? Offering weekends? Making house calls? Midnight drive-thru service? If fees are part of what sets you apart – like community acupuncture, for example – then getting that info front and center might be important. It helps attract the clients that are a fit for you, but it can also help filter out the one’s who aren’t before they waste their time or yours.

Any thoughts? Let us know in the comments. :)

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10 Responses to “Should You Post Your Fees Online? A Simple Rule”

  1. Carrie B says:

    If I am shopping for a new massage experience and I find two equally interesting therapy places, I will choose the one that lists their prices over the one that does not. If someone doesn’t list prices, I assume it’s like a drink list in a swanky restaurant… overpriced.

  2. Dan says:

    Good point, Carrie, and a good example of pricing on a website as a filter for the clients you want. Some people want the swanky menus with no prices, some need to know up front. :)

  3. Robyn says:

    This might be balancing marketing and convenience.
    My rates, basic rates, are online. So are my hours, but as you suggest, they are different. I am open on Sundays, catering to shomer Shabbat women.

    I want to know rates, hours and location, for anything, without having to call.

    Single practitioners without reception need to reduce the number of calls returned. Sure, there are some who need to actually return calls, too.

    Heck, I like online booking. But I have a page on what to expect, etc.
    This isn’t to say I don’t interact on the phone. Just that I’m too busy working to be available immediately.

  4. Kate says:

    As a psychotherapist if I post my fees and then “sliding scale available” people sometimes think this industry standard means they can haggle. It means “where there is serious financial need”. Then some who can afford it resent that others who cannot are getting a price break and view their fees as subsidizing the others. Fees for psychotherapists can be very emotionally loaded for clients so I don’t post them on my website.

    Also, I understand Carrie B.’s point for a massage therapist where the range in prices in that industry doesn’t vary much. However, with psychotherapists the price can range up 5 times more than someone else and this can reflect a variety of things from an over or underestimation of the value of their services to the quality of their training, years of experience, their position within the field, the demand for their services, etc.. So nothing can be accurately deduced about the practitioner, good or bad, by price alone. Another good reason for a psychotherapist to not post their prices and let their prices do the talking for them.

  5. Beverly says:

    Consumers (clients) want information, they do not want the additional step of calling to find out what the cost is or what hours you are open. Put it out there, give them the facts. They’ll find out anyway and you’ll spend less time talking about that and more about what really matters. Before we could get our web site up, I spent a lot of time on the phone – once it was up, the calls were more about the time, treatment, or therapist. Then we added online booking and half of our appointments just pop up! If you build it they will come.

  6. Dan says:

    Some pretty valid arguments either way, it seems.

    For now, I think what’s keeping our prices OFF our site is that I still think there are people we could help who won’t ever make it to our door if they know the price without experiencing some aspect of the practice.

    Maybe those are patients we don’t want? I’m not sure. For now, I think we’re staying price-free online, but this has got me thinking…

  7. Liz says:

    Dan, why not offer them a guarantee – then they have nothing to lose. :)

  8. Samantha says:

    I will always stay price-free, online, as a physician.

  9. Kate says:

    I would also add that as my practice became more and more busy, the information I put on my web was not just reflecting what the client wants (to know the price upfront) but also what I want and need as a busy practitioner to stay in practice like who I am for and who I am not for. By being clear about what a client can expect of me, I attract the clients that are a good fit for me and me a good fit for them. Then the price is just a secondary point.

    No matter what my price, if I am not a good fit for them, the price will be too high and conversely my price will seem like a deal if they have searched a while and were relieved to find a fit in me.

    I think so much of the question of whether to post your fees online or not depends on whether your field is more price-driven or relationship-driven.

  10. Josh says:

    I’m a recent convert to not posting fees online. But, I am not interested in bargain shoppers. I would suggest that most practitioners are not either. Trying to be cheapest is a really hard place to be… what happens as soon as some new graduate comes and undercuts you?

    This came about through working with my business coach, who advised me to raise my prices. Taking them off the website was primarily to give me the flexibility to change and play with the pricing without having to “update” my whole mailing list every time I was trying something different with new clients.

    It’s been great… every seemingly crazy thing he’s advised that I thought would never work… is working great.

    Focus on people with problems they want solved, be the right person to help them solve it, and price becomes, as another commenter mentioned, secondary.

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