A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from someone who wanted a copywriter to rewrite two websites. He’d got my name from someone who had recommended me. The project was an interesting one and looked to be about 10 days’ work.
Not to be sneezed at.
When I submitted my quote, the potential new client said. “Yes, I’d like you to be the writer on these two projects and I’d like you to start as soon as you are free. But you need to reduce your quote by 25%.”
When you go to the dentist, you don’t say: “I’d like you to cap my tooth, Mr Dentist, but you will need to reduce your charges by 25%.” And when did your accountant or lawyer ever give you a 1/4 discount?
Now, I know it’s only sensible for a client to try and negotiate a better price but my reply was: “Why should I drop my price and work for 25% less when I can fill my working week writing for clients who are happy to pay the figure I’ve quoted?”
When it’s OK to discount
Don’t get me wrong, there ARE times when I do discount my rate. In fact, there are three instances:
- When the client is a charity.
- When times are quiet (like last year) and the client says “I’ve got a budget of x, do you want to do it?” If you have no other work on and it’s a case of earning something or nothing, then it’s got to make sense to accept a lower price.
- When I write for a friend, I charge them “mates’ rates”.
And, if you’re starting out, there’s also a fourth instance. You might want to accept a lower fee when you’re trying to compile a good portfolio of work. However, there’s a problem with that: you’ll find it really hard to get the lower-paying client to stump up your full fee once you’re an established freelancer.
A quick follow-up to the story about those two websites I turned down: three days’ later, I had five new writing projects of varying sizes land on my desk. So my August timetable is just about filled up already, without my having to work at a discount.
What stories do you have about clients trying to squeeze you on price?