I had lunch with John Metcalf of JM Designs last week, and he told me something interesting he’d heard recently that started me thinking about my pricing.

A potential client comes to you wanting a new website for her business. She has a logo, letterhead, maybe even a brochure. She’s thought about colors and other design elements appropriate to her brand.

All well and good. You’ve got a solid place to start working on design ideas because you already know the direction that’s indicated.

Say another potential client comes to also wanting a new website. He has no marketing materials – no brochure, letterhead, not even a logo. Or, he may have all of that and an old website he wants to have redesigned. Does he have marketing materials that reflect what he wants in a new look? No. Does he have any ideas? No.

Not so good.

I’m approached by both kinds of potential clients. In the past, I never really thought about the difference consciously; I’m sure I grumble about it when trying to find some inspiration for a site with no design background to speak of.

So why would I treat these clients the same? Isn’t my job going to be easier with the first client than with the second?

Absolutely it is. So why should I charge them the same project fee? I shouldn’t. I should be charging more to the second client because not only am I designing and building a website, I’m helping him establish branding for his business that can carry over into his other marketing areas – brochures, etc.

I’m putting this in my ‘think about this when the next estimate is written’ folder and will begin charging more for those clients who come to me completely empty-handed.