Right answer to “How much does this cost” is: one million dollars

Unless you’re selling a well-defined product with a fixed price, the first question any potential client will ask is how much her project would cost.

Usually this question is already part of their first contact email together with very incomplete and fuzzy requirements of what they need. Many times we’ve got emails of people asking us to migrate their website to WordPress giving the URL of their current site as the only requirement.

Then, you have to start “educating” them on why you can’t give them a price without a clear definition of all the bells and whistles they are looking for. Or you can avoid this painful process and answer them the cost is one million dollars (as read in the Sandwich Video website). An absurd answer to an absurd question.

A less radical approach is to make sure you give the client a feeling of the possible cost by giving some starting prices, example prices for some typical projects or at least an order of magnitude of the cost (how many zeros are we talking about?). This not just useful to focus the conversation but also to filter out some undesirable clients, e.g. before we added some starting prices to our migration packages we would lose time interacting with clients that were hoping to migrate their site for no more than 100 USD. Now, these people do not even reach out since we are clearly not a good fit for their expectations (win-win situation since nobody wastes their time).

And you never know, you can also hope one day a client will say yes to your one-million-dollars answer!

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