Well, that all depends on a few things. I and most professionals would say do not display your rates on your website. This is to stay competitive. Although I see designers and developers putting a minimum requirement for public view.
e.g. – Elliot Jay Stocks displays his minimum at $5k for a project (I believe).
It’s an ongoing debate, and everyone seems to have their own opinion on it. In my opinion, I think it’s important to give at least some kind of indication of your prices, whether it be rate range (eg. $45 – $65/hour) or a minimum project cost.
I am in personal debate on the same subject and have nearly settled on the idea of listing prices where I am confident I am competitive, and there are few variables, but placing a “request for quote” link for the more subjective offerings. I feel it’s impossible to ballpark a website, for instance. There are too many reasons for a price to inflate based solely on the requirements of the customer. However, routine services such as Twitter Feed Management, as a contrasting example, is easy to quote because the extent of the service is determined by the provider, not by the customer.
I wouldn’t list a price – but I would agree with Elliott’s idea. I don’t touch stuff for under a certain price then if people are still interested I can talk about what their project and ideas will cost in full.
This is better because if your would-be-client dosen’t run off when he see’s the minimum amount then they are probably more of a “keeper”, you instantly filter out the guy with the $100 budget.
From a shoppers perspective it’s good to list prices. Personally I don’t even bother with a site that doesn’t list price when I’m shopping. This is why I clearly list my prices. Why not? It is at least 50% of the buyers decision making process.
I try and stay away from set prices for a couple of reasons:
1) I don’t do packages. Everyone I talk to has unique needs. Someone needs their logo digitized, and 3 pages of content but wants a really function rich homepage. That’s going to be completely different than someone who needs a visually simple site in a CMS. And let’s say you have someone who wants a very large gallery in their site or 15 contact forms for instance.
2) Any business is not good business. The type of client who wants a website for $500 isn’t the kind of person I want to work with, unless it’s someone who is referred to me who knows what that $500 will get them. But putting something like “Website package 1 – 10 pages, $1500″ builds all kinds of expectations that are mostly not true. So it serves to filter out many of the kinds of people I don’t want to work with.
But, that being said, whether or not you put it on your website, you need to have SOME kind of idea of how to simply break down the costs to give someone 2 or 3 bite sized chunks. I’m currently using examples on mine, and I tell people, “Check out this site… something this was about $1,800″, and “This one here was a $3,200 project” to at least give someone a ballpark.
I feel like putting pricing on your website is akin to women’s magazines in most cases. Women’s magazines are not for women to be more appealing to men, but to be compete with each other. I’ve NEVER had a client talk to me about the prices on my website, only other designers. Even those who actually read your prices are still going to ask you directly.