Should I productise my web design services, and what, if anything, does it even mean?
Fact: there are only 24 hours left between right now and this time tomorrow.
In that time, you’ll have to earn enough money to eat. That means buying food, paying for the electricity to cook food, finding the time to eat it, cleaning the kitchen so you can eat again, choosing, purchasing and consuming snacks… sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have written this while hungry.
Anyway, there’s a lot of things you have to do, and we’ve not even mentioned the things you want to do (apart from eating). If you want to maintain a happy work/life balance while earning enough to enjoy yourself, then, most of the time, charging an hourly rate just doesn’t cut it. So what’s the magic formula?
When you’re selling a service that relies on your hourly rate, you’re setting a hard limit on the amount you can make. If you’re here because you’ve maxed out your hours, then it might be time to productise (or, if you’re feeling American, productize) your service.
What’s the difference between a product and a service?
To the customer, a product is a thing (which, ideally, they want) like a fancy new set of silk pyjamas. The pyjamas have a price that the customer is willing to pay. Once they’ve paid it, they own the PJs – and that’s that. It’s easy to grasp, and there’s no possibility of unpredictable hidden costs.
Dry cleaning is a service, and in theory, it’s less easy for the customer to predict how much it’s going to cost. In this example, it’s a level of unpredictability that could even make the customer decide against the superbly silky smoothness of the luxury nightwear in the first place. It could certainly create a reticence to visit the dry cleaning service quite as often as might be deemed socially acceptable.
In reality though, most dry cleaning outfits productise their service to counteract this problem. One load of silky pyjamas? That’ll be £10. A dry cleaning service that charged by the hour, or by the number of kilowatts required to render the pyjamas wearable again, would scare off a lot of potential customers.
Productising services to simplify the buying process
Web design and content writing are subtly different from dry cleaning of course, but the same basic principles apply, both to us at WordHound and to our clients. If you tell your customers that the price of creating a website for them is £400 per hour, their second thought (after “That sounds a bit steep!”) is going to be, “Well, how many hours will it take?”. At this point, you’ll have a complicated conversation with them, featuring the phrase “it depends” rather more than they would probably like.
Productising your service avoids this. It’s a way to simplify the buying process and remove potential sources of worry from the customer’s mind. A typical business owner might know they need a website (or a better one than what they’ve got already), but they usually don’t need, or want, to know the ins and outs of the process. If you can give them a fixed price they’re happy with, for each of the possible options, they’ll tend to be happier, and you’ll have saved yourself a lot of phone chat.
Of course, as a web designer, if you can offer them a full package with ongoing support and regularly updated content, for an easy-to-understand price, then congrats – you’ve productised the whole business of setting up and maintaining a website.
Great things about productising your services
Selling your range of services as products allows you to make the most of your skills. You can cherrypick the aspects you do the best, and the ones that give you the most satisfaction. These will often be the ones that bring the most value to your customers – like improvements in the look and feel of their websites. You can then add complementary white label services offered by others – such as WordHound’s content writing – and wrap them in your branding.
Improved scalability is another potential benefit of productising your services. Some web designers may feel that they could actually take on (and enjoy) a lot more work if it was strictly web design, rather than content creation as well, for example. Offering a set package, and outsourcing the aspects that you’re not so fond of, can solve this problem.
Finally, you can sell outcomes rather than time. With the right set of services packaged under your branding, you can offer a truly attractive outcome. An obvious example would be a better-looking, easier-to-use, technically superior website, with well-written, regularly updated content, for a fixed price (or fixed monthly price, for regular blogs) that’s easy for the customer to grasp.
White label content from WordHound
WordHound offers white label content services for web designers, SEO experts, and marketing agencies – anyone who’s looking to add copywriting to their list of services without going to the expense of hiring a writing department. We’re available for small, one-off projects as well as complete website rewrites and long-term, regular blog provision. If that sounds like a good fit for your business, get in touch today!