One of the most frustrating experiences in business is to spend hours on a proposal and then not win the business. There are a few reasons for this but pricing plays a significant factor most times.

Unless you can get detailed feedback from your client, here are some strategies for setting the right price.

###Under/Over Pricing

Accurate pricing is a complex thing. You need to take into account local market conditions, perception of value and of course your clients finances. Chances are by talking to a few other contractors you can figure out what the other guys are charging, however the other two are a bit more complicated.

A persons perceived value of a service changes over time. With the introduction of off shoring and $10 instant websites the perceived value of web development services has gone down for some people. If you're trying to make a living doing web design my best advice is to seek clients with a high value perception of the service. Tech savvy clients will understand the difference between a well designed custom site vs. one of the canned instant sites. Don't be afraid to interview the client and ask what they know about website design to find this out, it'll be a very valuable conversation.

The last part concerns your clients finances. How do you find out how much money the have to spend on your service? Well you can always go the straightforward path and ask them directly but it's unlikely you'll get a realistic number. Most times you'll get a low ball number or they will ask you what you think the service will cost. Don't get sucked into playing your cards too soon. One strategy that works is to present them with a good, better, best scenario and some loose numbers. When presenting these scenarios watch for their reactions to the figures you dish out, they will likely gravitate to a certain number and give you some indication of the budget they had in mind.

Once you think you have their target budget figured out, build your quote around this number but add in the ability to add or subtract a few features that will affect the price of the quote. Doing this allows them to "control" the pricing and doesn't present a line in the sand number.

Lastly don't under bid to try and get business. If you go too low it's likely the client will perceive your work as inferior rather than a deal. If you were presented with two identical Mac's one for 2k and one for $500 I can bet you' d be wondering what was wrong with the $500 dollar Mac.