Season 3 Episode #004 Bookkeeping prices: Should I put them on my website?

Today on The Bookkeepers' Voice Amy and Maia discuss a very common question bookkeepers struggle with: should I put my prices on my website?

Of course, the short answer is… It depends! But the more detailed answer that this podcast explores includes figuring out why you want to make your prices visible, whether it benefits your client niche or not, and how comfortable you are talking prices during initial consults.

Key takeaway: Consider your ‘why' and the impact on your business before deciding one way or the other.

Podcast Info
Episode: S3E004

Series: FAQs

Host: Amy Hooke & Maia Coghlan

Topic: The pros and cons of putting bookkeeping prices on your website

Useful links

Season 3 Episode 1: Charging for Bookkeeping Health Checks

Read transcript

Bookkeeping Prices: Should I put them on my website?

Amy Hooke 0:00 Hello, welcome back. I'm here with my again. Today we're going to be talking about some more questions that you have about your business. And today we're going to be talking about what is the question today?

Maia Coghlan 0:12 Today we're talking about a very common question that people ask, is to do with pricing, but with a little bit of a different focus. The question today is, should I put my prices on my website?

Amy Hooke 0:34 Favorite answer? Depends. So yeah, I so we do have, we do have our pricing on our website, but he's not visible. So there's different ways that you can do it. And it really depends on who your target market is, who your niche is, how much you think that they care about seeing the prices, there's sort of pros and cons, I feel that the, by putting the prices directly on the website, you're potentially drawing their attention to the wrong thing. You know, if you wanted them to focus on the the value of the packages and that kind of thing, then you might want to not display those. But then on the flip side, so some customers do prefer it if they come on the website, and they can see the prices. So yeah, I think I'm just thinking like when you charge an hourly rate? I mean, I've not really seen too many bookkeepers display their hourly rates on their website. I don't think so. No, generally, when you go to bookkeepers, websites, you don't see them. But there's been a bit more of a trend, I guess, as the value value pricing, or packages trend started to come in, you do see those packages on the website? Yeah, it's it's a, it is a tricky one. Like there's no straightforward answer. But I can tell you why we don't have our prices on our website. But we do. So we, we have a pricing page on our website, but we it is hidden. So in order to access the pricing page, they need to fill out an inquiry form. And then they can they receive an email or like an auto responder, and it will send them a link to the pricing page on the website. And the auto responder email is like basically, I guess, it's showing them that this is part of a process. So the first part of the auto responder talks about, you know, go here and check out some example packages to see if it if our prices suit your budget. So we're when we send them to our pricing page, we're sending them there with an intention, which is to check if it's fits within their budget. And then from there, you know, in the email, we've given them a number of steps. So then obviously, they know that, yes, if it does fit their budget, then they can come back to the next step. To you know, which I will go through those steps in a later episode. But for now, if you just keep focused on the pricing, so then what happens is with the idea of like, okay, what is my budget? You know, that's, that's, I mean, many businesses are going to be thinking that so if you say to a client in an initial console, if they come to you and say, I need a bookkeeper, how much do you charge? And you say, Well, what's your budget? They might kind of think to themselves, like, oh, like, why do you want to know, my budget? Are you gonna just charge me like the maximum that you can? And like, No, that is not the reason. But some business owners might think that, then if they say, if you say to them, what's your budget, they might go? Oh, I don't know, I've never thought about it, you know, and I think that would be the case for many clients. So when we send them to the pricing page, when not just sending them there, so if you, if someone comes to your website, you got to kind of think about the journey that the customer journey that they're going on, like, how they found your website, what they're thinking at the time, they come onto your website, you know, what's the kind of flow of the navigation that they would step their way through the various pages of the website. And then, you know, I just feel for me personally, if they go to the website, and they look at the menu, and they see pricing, the first thing, that's probably the first thing they're going to click on, especially if they're conscious of the cost. So for me, I would prefer to in order to send them to the pricing page to to capture their information first so that I can potentially have a longer term conversation with them. So let's say they look at the pricing page and they go, Oh, that's too expensive, but who knows, they might not. They might go off and hire another bookkeeper or try and do it themselves to save money and maybe they come back a few years later and go home I try this again. Like I can now see the value so you just never know when you might want to re communicate with that person. So I think it's really helpful to be able to get their contact details before you provide them such information. And then when you're sending them to the page, send them to the page, not just like, oh, how much do they charge? Because then they're just thinking of the cost. Send them there with an intention, which for us is what thinking about what can they afford, and then showing them some example packages. And then then that way, once you know that, they come to the next step, where they book in their initial consultant, and you know, the steps after that, you know, that once they get to that step, they have already seen the prices. So you know, that they've already kind of had of fairly light they've had part of the pricing, can I afford a conversation in the privacy of their own office? And so by the time that they come to you to have the conversation, they're there because they have verified? Yes. You know, this does fit within my budget. And then we know that they're now they've sort of solved that part. And then they are coming to find out, you know, the rest of the information that they need to get started.

Maia Coghlan 6:10 Do you think that having the pricing visible on the website or not visible would be more beneficial for certain businesses than others? Like certain specifically talking about bookkeeping, businesses?

Amy Hooke 6:23 Definitely. Definitely. I mean, I have seen a conversation going on in a business owners Facebook group, about someone they were literally they were literally talking about, I think that was Yeah, I think they were literally talking about bookkeepers, or maybe they were talking about I can't actually no, I can't remember. But they were talking about some kind of service where they've gone to the website, and there's no prices and everyone, a lot of people were chiming in saying, yeah, if I go to a website, and there's no prices, I leave the website straightaway. Because my automatic thought, is that, okay, it's going to be really expensive.

Maia Coghlan 7:00 I'm, I'm one of those people.

Amy Hooke 7:03 What, but it probably depends as well, like, would you? I don't know if it is this for you. But would it also depend on what the specific thing?

Maia Coghlan 7:11 Probably? And then yeah, it would, it would probably be a case by case basis. But I know in the past, I've gone to websites, and it looks like a service that I kind of want. But if I can't find pricing, and there's a similar alternative that offers a similar service, and it does have prices, and I can see exactly how much it's going to cost me to go with the other one. If they're comparable. I'll purchase that. And that's just my personal opinion. I'm not in the market for a bookkeeper right now. So I don't know how relevant it is. But I am a person and I yeah, that's that's just personally how, yeah, I would prefer to know what I'm getting into.

Amy Hooke 7:53 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I agree, I was thinking of like, for a good example would be software. So if I'm looking for an app, like I do often go straight to the pricing page, I was trying to think of something where I don't go to the pricing page. Obviously, if I'm looking for like some kind of like household item, or furniture or something like that, I'm definitely looking at the prices, but the prices are right there. Kind of something where I'm not as focused on the prices. And I would say this is the only one I could think of a hairdresser. When I go to a hairdressers website, I want to know that this person knows what they're doing, because I have extremely thick hair. And I'm like, like any hairdresser. That's not really that good. So for me, when I look at hairdressers website, I mean, I already roughly know how much hairdressers charged because I've been to them before. So I think when I would go to a website like that I would really be more looking for. I mean, to be honest, I'd probably be looking for a link to the Instagram page so that I can see some examples of real life customers. And I'd be looking for testimonials and things like that, I wouldn't necessarily really care about the price, I'd be like, just don't like stuff up my hair. Now, obviously, you can say at the moment, I'm not like, I haven't been for a while. But um, for me what I actually do go it's like, you know, like, I do not want this person to stuff this thing up or and

Maia Coghlan 9:14 I think you would definitely find people, you would definitely find business owners who are looking for a bookkeeper who would feel the same way that, you know, they know their books are in a total mess, or they've been burned by someone before and they just want it done properly. And they don't really care about the price. And they just want it done right by someone that they trust. Exactly. Yeah. So in some cases, people who don't care about the price, and some people do care about the price.

Amy Hooke 9:43 Yeah, that's right. And then I'm trying to think of like a business example. So obviously, like, you know, when it's something personal, like I mean, we're in the b2b industry, so we're business to business. So I'm just trying to think of something like for example, if I mean hopefully I'll never need it but if I go to like What if I went to a website looking for a lawyer, for example, like, I wouldn't really be looking for prices, because I, like service providers sort of don't really provide prices. So you'd be looking for, I'm just trying to think like, you'd be probably looking for more like, looking at the person's bio, looking at their credibility, what qualifications they have, you know, you might want to get a bit of a ballpark idea of what it might charge, I'm just trying to think of like another service provider,

Maia Coghlan 10:30 well, then you've got software or like, not software, but web design, they often put the price on the website, because they charge a bulk package for a kind of website, but then some of them don't if they do more custom jobs. So again, it varies even in that industry.

Amy Hooke 10:53 Yeah, I think a lot of website designers might have, like, they'll have at least a spot that says, like, their base amount, or they might have three different package sizes. I think one of the biggest mistakes that I've seen with bookkeepers putting their packages on their website is that, like, sometimes I get a bit concerned about like how much the packages actually are like I sometimes I think there's this real thing of like, oh, I want to have these three packages so that people can compare. And I think there's kind of a couple of things wrong with that. So firstly, when when I like when I've looked at various websites of bookkeepers and saying like, what their packages are, I noticed that there's not much of a difference between the three package prices, which seems weird to me, you know, there's like a small, medium and a large, but like the smalls 100, the mediums 200. And the large is 400. So in my mind, as a business owner be like, oh, a large is like only a few $100 More than a small, that will give me the impression that this bookkeeper only has little clients. And if I was a big business, I'd want to know that they do with bigger clients, I'd want to see the gaps are much bigger. So on our pricing page, which is not displayed on the front of the website, we do actually have a number of different tiers, but they're very, each price item in those three packages is very specific to a certain size of business, rather than it just being three sort of like different amounts. It's like this column is targeted towards this size business, this column is targeted towards this size business, and this one is targeted towards a small business. So you know, when they go and look at it, they really shouldn't be going oh, which, because they're never gonna go like which one do I want small, medium, or large, because it doesn't really mean that much to them. In terms of, you know, they might think oh, like, you know, I have like, it takes a day a week to do my bookkeeping, and they've only got $400 packages, like, it's not really going to add up in them on so it's not really difficult, necessarily going to be helpful.

Maia Coghlan 12:59 The other thing is you were saying before about when you go to software, like when you're looking at different software options, you go straight to the pricing page, but you go straight to the pricing page. And then I look at the price, but I also look at the features, and what's included at the different prices. So I think that's really important if you are going to have your pricing on your website to also say, what do you actually get for this price? That's like coming back to talking about the value of it. Yeah, so they can say, okay, so it's this price, and it includes this, these things, and maybe there's some add ons, or maybe like I fit into this size business. And this is specifically what this business means instead of just saying a small business and a medium business is a very good point.

Amy Hooke 13:45 Yeah, it's like, for example, I mean, our business is called off the hook. And so we decided to go with like a fish. We've got like a salmon and a shock and a while and that kind of thing. But if we just had those as the as the names without too much information. It's like, oh, yes, like my business is a whale like no one really knows. Like, it doesn't actually mean anything. It's just like a clever name. Or if you've got small, medium, large, it doesn't mean anything, either. Because business owners have different ideas of you know, you might have a business owner who's turning over like five or $10 million, and they consider themselves to be a small business. And you know, under the ATO definitions, like they are a small business, so whereas another person who considers themselves to be a small business, they might be like making $50,000 a year. So they also see themselves as a small business. I think, if you're going to have those three comparative packages, you've got to be very specific, not just in showing people what's included in them, but showing the person having some kind of guidelines so that the person can figure out which column which one actually fits them. To them.

Maia Coghlan 14:48 Yeah, from our definition of their business, not from their conception of what their business

Amy Hooke 14:59 is into Yeah, that's right. Yeah. So I think, yeah, you've just got to be really careful with, you know, a lot of bookkeepers have have come to us and said, Oh, yeah, like, I want these three comparative packages. And like my first question, my first response would always be why, like, why do you want this? Because you've got to know why you're doing it first, and then, you know, like, it's a really good idea to figure out like, why am I doing it this way? Or why do I think I want to do it this way? And if the answer is because other bookkeepers are doing it, that's not a very good idea. I think, oh, you know, it's, you know, copying other bookkeepers is not a good idea, because you have no idea who their target market is and who they're, you know, who, who their ideal client is yours might be completely different

Maia Coghlan 15:45 or you don't know what their why was, in terms of putting it on their website. If you don't know why they put it on their website, then you certainly shouldn't be putting it on your website. If that's the only reason.

Amy Hooke 15:58 That's right. You might want to put the pricing on the website so that you don't scare off people that leave websites if the price isn't there. Or you might put the prices there, because you want to scare off people that only want to pay a certain amount.

Maia Coghlan 16:14 Yeah, it can definitely be used as a intentional deterrent. Yeah,

Amy Hooke 16:19 yeah, we definitely do that way, the way we've set up our website is where it's really acting as a filter, we're trying to draw towards us certain types of clients and, you know, up for other clients, no. And we would also say, there's a few spots where we say, you know, we have a minimum package and things like that, as well. And these are all sort of touch points where we know, as they've worked their way through these touch points, if they're getting further along, then we know that they have reached some level of understanding or interest. You know, obviously, you always get people who just fill out forms and don't really read anything, so which is fine as well, you've got to sort of deal with that. So that's why when, even though we've sent someone our pricing page, we still go through it with them in the initial consult, we still take them back, direct them back to that page. And then in terms of having the pricing like the comparative packages, it was another thing I was gonna add to that. I just can't remember what it was.

Maia Coghlan 17:21 I was gonna say, Well, you think about that. Yeah, that. Yeah, our package names are based on fish, like the smallest one is goldfish. And when, when doing initial consults, they always comment on the on the fish names. And because we have, you know, it says the name at the top, which is a fish, then obviously, the smaller one is a smaller fish, and the bigger one is a whale. But But unlike directly underneath that, it says what that means in terms of business size. And if you have that, then you can be creative with your names. I know, other people who have, like other bookkeepers who have their price names, their package names based on coffees, or based on different plants, or based on what they are sharing. So yeah, if you if you explain what's going on, in in a simple enough way that they can just look out and be like, okay, yeah, this is where I fit in, then you can be creative. And that makes it a bit more fun for them as well. And much less boring, small, medium, large, explodes. And yes, yeah. If that's your personality type, of course, is very different people. And you should do, you should do what feels comfortable for you. Of course, if you don't want to have fancy package names don't have fancy package names.

Amy Hooke 18:51 Yeah, that's right. Yeah, there's, yeah, for example, if you're in the hospitality industry, I've seen I've seen a couple of cool websites where they've had it sort of it's like set out like a menu where the price isn't there. And that really suits that you can see that how that suits that target market, because that particular type of business, they're used to charging in that way, so they understand it. So for example, and you know, they understand that people come in to their shop, and they want to see a menu. So they're in the mindset of like, they go in and they're looking at a menu. So menu pricing works really well for that type of client. Then when you've got so for example, in the construction industry, or actually not specifically, like larger construction businesses, but when you think about tradesmen, so tradesmen, you think about how do they do their pricing? Well, generally, the way that they price is that they, you know, they provide a quote, and often they do their quotes for free. So if you're want if you're working with that target market, you've just got to make sure that you're communicating in a way so for example, with us, we're not trying to deter that particular industry. But we do have some FAQs on our page. Because we've got a pricing page for the packages and also for the health checks because we charge for that as well. And so we want them to understand we explain, we actually explain to them why we charge to provide a quote, because in their mindset, they're like, what? You provide quotes for free, why would someone pay for a quote. Whereas if you think of maybe someone like an interior designer, well, interior designers charge you for the quote, but part of the quoting process is that they give you something that's valuable as well that you can use, you know, in your, in the process of finding the right provider. So you got to sort of put yourself in the mindset of your ideal clients and go okay, when they're providing quotes for their services, or do they have prices on their website? So for example, I mean, builders don't have their prices on their website, really tradies don't have prices on their website. I mean, sometimes they don't have websites, you might have more of, like, you know, an account, what do you call it, like a directory listing or something like that, or some businesses only have like a social media account and things like that. But you know, there are a lot of industries that do not have prices on the website, because it just doesn't really work. So if you're going to do it, you got to know why you're doing it, who you're doing it for, and, you know, make it work.

Maia Coghlan 21:26 So in a nutshell, the answer to that question is, it depends. We backed it up with good reasoning. So just just on that topic of the quoting and charging for health checks, we did do another episode solely talking about that. So if you are interested in that topic, and haven't listened to that episode, you can we'll link it in the notes. Yeah, so I think we've fairly thoroughly covered that topic. If you have any more questions that we didn't cover there on this topic. We'll be posting this podcast episode as a video on YouTube as well. And you can ask your questions there in the comments, and or, you know, questions on any topic that you would like us to cover in the podcast. But that's it for today. So thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.

Amy Hooke 22:25 Yeah, that was great. Thank you. See you then.