I am laughing a new animation video agency and as this services offers many animation styles the prices may vary, so I would like to take your advice on the following question:
1- Should I offer packages with fixed prices for my designs? For example for basic flat design it will cost x, and for detailed design it will cost x and for custom design style it will cost x, so three packages with paid bonuses as well.
Or is it better just to showcase my portfolio and encourage customers so talk to us?
I have extensively thought about both options and found strong reasons to do both, as the first option where I show fixed prices will show transparency and honesty to the customer, and help them take the decision to work with us or not, it might also slow my growth and put my potential customers off if the prices is not good for them as there will be no room for negotiation.
For the second option, which doesn't show prices and encourages people to talk to us, I feel that direct interaction plays a big role in getting business, but this might also put potential customers off as they may feel that we are not being clear to them and might want to trap them.
From your experience, what is the best approach to tackle this?
In the realm of custom work, fixed prices are dangerous ground. It puts you in a position to either say "no" or ask for more money when a project has extra needs, and that's never a comfortable situation to be in.
You said yourself that speaking to a lead is the best way to make a sale. I'd echo that.
I'd also argue that letting potential clients know that custom animation is complex, and prices will vary based on their needs (which require a conversation to determine), is a great way to start out the relationship honestly.
If you're worried about lack of a stated price being a deterrent: people who shop on price without any eye toward quality are not the clients you want. If your portfolio is good, a serious lead will contact you and several other shops to get an idea of your approach and pricing. The BEST clients will hire the team that makes the best initial impression and shows the highest level of understanding the project; price will be a secondary consideration.
My general stance is: if you're selling on price, you're doing it wrong.
If you're selling custom work, sell custom work. Don't try to shoehorn custom work into a prepackaged box; it'll turn off high-end customers and attract the deal-seeking, high-hassle clients that are less fun/lucrative.
It's always risky to offer a service without a price. Most purchasers want to know what a service is going to cost before even investigating.
You might consider three pricing levels: basic, premium and custom. The first two would be set prices for specific packages. The third would be for custom work as defined by customers.
Instead of getting all hung up on pricing, focus on the value that customers will receive. And not just financial value...promote non-financial benefits customers will receive. What will customers get from your service: reduced stress, more time, peach of mind, status?
I don't know enough about your specific work. Happy to help you sort out the pricing structure and the matching benefits & values.
The danger in having a conversation with each client is that you can expend a great deal of time and effort with someone who cannot become your client because of their resources. They may also be very cognizant of this time investment and their time is valuable as well.
A great way to set expectations about price in the world of custom work, so that you only have conversations with qualified prospects, is to have a priced portfolio.
People can see examples of different styles of work, ie show them a basic flat animation that runs for 5 minutes.. what did you charge that client? Then show the more complex production and the price for this. Prospects can then see and appreciate the different levels of investment required based on the quality of the product. This can help unqualified prospects de-select themselves and save you time.
I recently did research for a client planning an entertainment business. I was frustrated by suppliers not wanting to create any pricing expectations. I kept hearing, 'we can't share a price until we have plans and drawings.' I had no data to work with for planning and budgeting.
One new supplier I asked, 'how much do these cost?' said simply, 'They start at $140,000 and can go to $165,000 with extra bells and whistles.. that includes on-site installation anywhere in North America.'
This is the company that was chosen because they helped set expectations from the beginning and reduced the initial time investment for me as a purchaser.
Hope this helps.