The first meeting went well. The second one went even better. You really like the potential client. The potential client really likes you. This deal is looking good. It’s as good as closed. Oh, except for that detail of how many dollars they’ll need to dole out. They were thinking $500 seems fair. You won’t do it for less than $5K. Now you simultaneously realize you’ve wasted a lot of time — time that was billable.
Every industry is different, but they are also often similar. In the creative world, costs are as ambiguous as the appropriateness of AirPods — no one really knows. So, where is the line between posting your price and requiring multiple meetings to unearth the cost? And if you’re a client, aren’t you always wondering if you’re being charged based on what the agency thinks you can afford? (You probably are.)
I tried that once. We met with a big ol’ client that had a website project they needed to be done fast. I saw dollar signs. And at the time, we were desperate for dollars. I proposed $40K for a website that we would have done for $20K. They didn’t go with us and I am pretty sure they didn’t like us after that proposal. I didn’t like me after that proposal. Lesson learned.
The line is drawn at transparency and trust; you need both. You need transparency to know what the heck it costs, but transparency is a bit of a masquerade without trust. All the transparency in the world does not amount to much if they don’t trust your transparency. The client (and employees) have to trust your transparency isn’t just some clever tactic, but a truth that is as precious as Cobalt*.
For all you that just skipped down to see the dollar amounts and see if this headline was clickbait, here you go:
- Brochure-Style Website: $7,500
- Custom Website: $15,000+
(It does depend on some factors.)
- Logo: $2,500+
- New Identity Package: $10,000 (Research, Logo, Voice, Brand Guide, etc…)
Ongoing Retainer Services:
$2,500 / mo. (Often for start-ups)
This work is usually task-based and more tactical than strategic. We can get a lot done for you, but it will mostly be client-driven. We are often in charge of just one major responsibility: graphic design, social media, email marketing or one adverting campaign at a time.
$5,000 / mo. (Often newer organizations with an aggressive approach to growth)
We have a dedicated team working for you with a keen eye on strategy. Bi-monthly meetings and calls will ensure the work is getting done and all eyes are looking ahead. We can handle multiple facets of your marketing initiatives. We are your full-service agency for advertising, branding and creative strategy.
$7,500 / mo. (Established Organizations who’d rather leave it to us)
Our team becomes your marketing department. This work is highly strategic and our entire team is likely working on your account. Not just working, but constantly thinking, measuring and debating what’s next. We not only handle advertising, branding and creative strategy, but we will learn alongside you to help your business where it needs it most.
$10,000+ / mo. (Custom)
The same as above but with customized solutions like working inside of your organization, offering specialized services and strategic partnerships. This is not for everyone and it usually only works after years of working alongside one another.
It should be noted that this is not black and white and many clients fall somewhere in between. But, you know that and that is not really the point. The point is you have an idea how much our services cost. And, isn’t that exactly how it should be?
So, there you go. We’re putting our money where my big mouth is. It’s easy to talk about transparency, but it’s another to post it for the world to see. If we talked on the phone, this is what I would tell you. And, in an industry that is as competitive as ours, we have to find ways to show we are different — better even. I believe our tagline is more than a tagline. It’s everything we are and everything we do.
Smart Work for Cool Clients by Real People.
*More precious than platinum. We started a club called The Cobalt Club. Stay tuned for details that may never come.