I have been working in the web design & development field since 1995 and during the years I have been working as apprentice, then employee in big internet provider, founder of small company then evolved to bigger company, then back to single freelance working in home office, now still freelancing with the help of different other freelancers collegues (we help each other in our different specialisation).
I have been in all kind of situation from super modern agencies office in business areas, to cubicle, to garage, to average office, to home office, etc.
Since I work at home office (or similar situation) I always had to deal with the problem of being considered "cheap" by clients, I mean the place where you receive the clients seems affecting their perception of "how much expensive you can be", if you are in a sleek bright modern office (possibly in a business area or nice building), you can easily ask a lot more and it is all ok. If you (same person with same skills) work in a confortable and well kept, clean, functional home office with average furniture and desks, the clients usually expect you to be "cheap" and have low rates, just because you are at home.
I know of a freelance web designer (in another close city) who got an office in an attic on the main square of the city, who decorated the office with expensive paintings and sculptures, modern sleek glass furniture, large monitors a**le computers all over the office, etc, intentionally for the purpose to impress the clients and apply higher rates. This professional told to someone I know personally: "People who are looking for cheap work don't even enter here".
Now, the "funny" part is that for two times in the last years I had to recover/rebuild web projects that this above said professional made (actually he doesen't really develop, he makes young apprentices work and develop for him then he send them away after the stage finish). The sites were made with Wordpress, with commercial templates with minimal personalisation, published and abandoned forever, when I was asked to rebuild these sites they were completely hacked and infected with malware and viruses and this "professional" refused to fix the problem or even he told to the client "I will notify the problem to Google and they will solve it", which is a mockery since Google can't care less if your site is hacked of infected (I guess he just doesen't know what to do).
The "shock" was when I knew of his rates that are at least 3 times mine! In one case I knew he billed something like $1200 for something that I would happily bill $400. Am I stupid or the other is taking advantage of people technical ignorance?
I always focused myself on the work quality, to be a reliable person and polite worker, but it's hard to make new clients undestand that, and I always have to pull on the prices, vice-versa this above said professional seems to be attracting a lot of clients happy to pay high bills to have something that every freelance could do for 1/2 or 1/3 of the price. Somehow he built a reputation of someone who is above the others but it is not true (or he could be even worse to be honest).
Should I invest a lot of my money to rent/buy a magnificent office and in architects for furnish it?
How to communicate your value as a serious reliable freelancer other than impress the clients with special effects for it's own sake?