Agency Pricing Models: How to Price your Agency


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Percival Villalva

This article will compare the various pricing models used in the industry. By understanding the various pricing models available, you can make an informed decision when choosing how you’ll build and price your agency and start generating revenue.

Deciding how to price your services is a crucial step for any agency, directly impacting your ability to attract clients, cover costs, and ultimately turn a profit. 

This blog will explore various agency pricing models, offering insights into their pros and cons, and providing real-world examples of agencies that effectively use each model. We’ll also discuss how to align these models with your agency’s revenue goals, from making your first sale and breaking even, to achieving sustainable profitability.

Overview of Different Agency Pricing Models

Agencies have several pricing models to choose from, each with unique advantages and challenges. Selecting the right model plays a vital role in balancing client satisfaction with profitable business operations. 

To help you find the best pricing model for your agency, let’s start with an overview of the most common pricing models used by online agencies. We will also go through some examples of real agencies that successfully employ each model, demonstrating that any approach can be viable under the right circumstances.

Project-Based Pricing

Description: Project-based pricing involves charging a fixed fee for a specific project, which is agreed upon before the work begins. This model is often used for projects with well-defined scopes, such as website builds or marketing campaigns.

Pros ✅ Cons ❌
Predictability: Both the agency and the client know the project cost upfront, making budget management easier Scope Creep: There's a risk of project requirements expanding beyond initial agreements without proper scope adjustments, potentially leading to losses
Simplicity: Easier to sell to clients who are wary of variable costs Limited Flexibility: Changes to the project scope can require renegotiation of the entire contract, which can delay project timelines

Real Agency Example 🌟

Tangent is a digital agency specializing in innovative web design and development services.

Tangent offers well-defined packages and pricing options for services such as website development and digital transformations, ensuring clients have a clear understanding of the costs and scope involved. Another benefit of having predefined service packages is that it tries to minimize one of the major complications associated with this business model: scope creep.

Hourly Pricing

Charging hourly means billing clients based on the amount of time spent on their project. This model is favored for tasks where the scope is not clearly defined or is expected to change.

Pros ✅ Cons ❌
Flexibility: Allows for changes in the project scope without needing to renegotiate the terms of engagement Unpredictability: Total costs can be uncertain, which might discourage clients who prefer predictable pricing
Fairness: Clients pay only for the time spent on their project, which can be more palatable for those who are concerned about budget control Administrative Burden: Requires meticulous tracking of hours worked, which can increase administrative overhead

Real Agency Example 🌟

Lounge Lizard is a digital marketing agency known for its web design and development services. They offer a wide range of products and services, with hourly billing for certain services, particularly when it comes to minor design and development tasks. This approach allows them to adjust the scope of work based on client needs dynamically.

Value-Based Pricing

Value-based pricing involves setting prices primarily based on the perceived or realized value to the client rather than on costs or hours spent. This model suits agencies that deliver high-impact work, such as strategic consulting.

Pros ✅ Cons ❌
High Profit Potential: Allows agencies to charge more for services that offer significant value to clients Complexity: Determining the value can be subjective and requires a deep understanding of the client's business
Client Satisfaction: Aligns the agency’s objectives with the client's success, potentially leading to higher client satisfaction and retention Justification: Requires convincing clients of the value, which can sometimes be challenging, especially with new relationships

Real Agency Example 🌟

The Futur is an educational platform and digital agency that specializes in teaching business skills to creative professionals. In addition to its educational offerings, The Futur employs a value-based pricing model for its coaching sessions, particularly those led by founder Chris Do. Chris is a staunch advocate for value-based pricing and has built a substantial following on YouTube, where he teaches creative professionals how to better value their work.

By focusing on enhancing clients' branding, marketing, and design skills, The Futur positions its services as investments in professional growth. This pricing strategy is based on the perceived value to the client rather than the cost of service delivery. Such an approach aligns the agency’s objectives with the client's success, fostering higher satisfaction and loyalty.

Retainer-Based Pricing

In a retainer model, clients pay a set fee regularly (monthly, quarterly, etc.) in exchange for an agreed-upon set of services. This model is ideal for ongoing work, such as content creation or full-service marketing.

Pros ✅ Cons ❌
Stable Income: Provides predictable and regular income, helping with cash flow management Complacency Risk: The guaranteed income might lead to less proactive service delivery unless properly managed
Client Relationships: Fosters longer-term client relationships and deeper understanding of their business Flexibility: May be less attractive to clients needing more dynamic or less predictable support

Real Agency Example 🌟

Single Grain is a digital marketing agency that offers services under a retainer model. They specialize in customized, ongoing SEO, paid advertising, and content marketing strategies. 

By employing a retainer model, Single Grain provides continuous, month-to-month marketing services that are designed to progressively enhance their clients' online presence, generate leads, and increase conversions. This approach ensures stable income for the agency while also building long-term client relationships and deep familiarity with each client’s business, allowing for more tailored and effective marketing solutions.

How Agency Billing Works

Once you have selected one or more pricing models that suit your agency, the next step is to refine the mechanics of agency billing. This step is crucial for managing finances efficiently and maintaining transparency with clients. Billing mechanisms can vary significantly across different pricing models:

Setting Up Payment Terms

Payment terms should be established at the beginning of a client relationship and clearly detail when and how payments are to be made. These can include upfront payments, milestone payments, or regular invoices for ongoing services, commonly associated with project-based pricing.


Invoicing is a critical component of agency billing. It is essential that agencies issue clear and detailed invoices that outline the services provided, their cost, and the payment due date. Effective invoicing practices eliminate ambiguities and help maintain a professional relationship.

Time Tracking and Reporting

For models like hourly billing, precise time tracking is crucial. Agencies often utilize software tools to accurately track the hours dedicated to each client's work. Providing clients with detailed time reports ensures transparency and justifies the costs incurred.

Use of Automation Tools

Many agencies streamline their billing and invoicing processes with automation tools. These tools can automatically generate invoices based on tracked time or project milestones and send them directly to clients, reducing administrative overhead and enhancing accuracy.

Managing Late Payments

Handling late payments is an uncomfortable but necessary consideration. Establishing clear policies for late payments is important. This might include sending reminder emails, applying late fees, or pausing work until payment is received. Clearly communicating these policies from the start can help prevent issues with late payments and ensure smoother financial operations.

Important Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Agency

Now that you have a better idea of the agency pricing models out there and how they translate into operational requirements and challenges, it's time to start considering how you set your rates and how you communicate and justify these rates to clients. As if everything related to pricing there is no one-size fits all. To find your answer, you will need to consider a few factors linked to your agency’s services and clientele profile:

Target Audiences

Understanding your target audience is fundamental. Different client segments may have varying perceptions of your services' value and different budgets. For example, startups might prioritize cost-effective solutions, while larger corporations may be willing to pay a premium for comprehensive services that deliver higher business impact.

Profit Margins

An Agency is a business after all, and setting prices that reflect your desired profit margins is a big part of keeping this business afloat. Consider the direct costs involved in delivering your services, including labor, software tools, and overhead, and ensure that your pricing covers these costs while leaving room for a reasonable profit. This will help ensure the sustainability and growth of your agency.

Revenue Goals

Align your pricing strategy with your overall revenue goals. If your goal is to grow quickly, you might consider more aggressive pricing strategies or special promotions to increase client acquisition rates. Conversely, if you aim for steady, sustainable growth, focusing on higher-margin services that deliver exceptional value might be more appropriate.


Keep an eye on what your competitors are charging and the services they offer at those price points. This doesn't mean you should simply match or undercut their prices, but understanding the competitive landscape can help you position your services more effectively and highlight what makes your agency unique.

Costs to Run an Agency with Memberstack’s Premium Agency Template

While choosing the right pricing model and implementing an effective billing system are important aspects of running a successful agency, these elements also introduce technical challenges, particularly when it comes to integrating these systems into your agency website.

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to ensure your website is equipped to handle these challenges is by building it with a template specifically designed to meet the needs and preferences of an online agency.

Integrating Pricing and Billing with Memberstack

Memberstack’s Premium Agency Template is designed to simplify complexities by providing a robust framework that supports diverse pricing models and sophisticated billing systems. This template equips you with the necessary tools to efficiently establish your agency’s pricing structure and manage payment processing directly through your website.

Running your agency using this template involves clear, upfront costs, including subscriptions for Memberstack and Webflow. These are essential for maintaining the functionality and security of your site. For a detailed breakdown of these costs and to gain a deeper understanding of how the Premium Agency Template can benefit your agency, please watch the video below.

What Next? Growing Your Agency

Now that you have a solid understanding of agency pricing and got a robust website equipped to handle payments and various pricing models, the next step is to focus on scaling and expanding your agency. This phase involves not just acquiring more clients but also enhancing your service offerings, improving client satisfaction, and optimizing internal processes.

For a comprehensive breakdown of strategies you can use to scale your business, check out our blog post 'How to Grow Your Agency with Webflow.