I've been designing for about ten years now, and lately I've noticed something strange.
No matter what quote I give someone - it could be $50, it could be $5,000 - I'm always met with the same request.
"$5,000 - could you do it for $2,500?"
Am I doing something wrong, or is anyone else experiencing the same thing lately? I feel like the sort of jobs I'm doing are becoming increasingly complex in terms of needing to meet multiple different outcomes (nothing is a simple logo anymore), and I'm confused how this trend of immediately halving a quote has come around.
I recently did a job that cost about $2,100 working on an hourly rate, and today my client suggested we cap the exact same amount of work at $1,200 for the next project.
Am I doing something wrong? How do you go back to someone and tell them that your time is worth what you originally told them, and repeat work isn't some short cut to diminishing returns?
I've had the opposite, a client that asked me if I was charging too little... and had no issue with me raising the budget a little.
Might be just some current bad luck, comes in waves...
Maybe you can also review how you're presenting your initial costs to them, does it include some details around the work you'll be doing for them?
With web stuff that means I include info on features such as responsiveness, SEO optimisation, social media integration ...etc ...etc, that would be a given in any website nowadays, but ensure the client knows there's a bit of work that goes into even a fairly "simple" site. Not sure how that would be conveyed with non-digital, which perhaps has some less tangible "features"...
For most jobs, one of the things you should ask is "Do they have a budget?". I would also think about how you charge... per hour can be quite costly if the client is unaware of the time it will take to complete. A little bit of education can go a long way. But with that said, many client like to penny pinch so choose your clients wisely.
We haven't experienced the sort of extreme haggling you describe, but I have noticed that it is increasingly common for our clients to push back on quotes. Possibly a consequence of the "gig economy", which makes it easy to source cheap contractors, and might embolden clients to haggle. Of course cheap seldom equates with quality, and the challenge is to communicate that fact to the client.
I'm actually working on an illustration at the moment which is very involved. It's taking my flat designs and turning them into sculptures that need a lot of technical accuracy, so there's a lot going into this.
Now that the work is all done and dusted, the client is baulking at the price (despite having been given my hourly rate up front, along with updates at each stage of how many hours we've accrued).
Annoyingly, thanks to the gig system that seems to be taking over the world, I'm now being told that because someone in Europe did the same job for about 1/5th the price I'm charging, that I should be expected to only charge the same.
The freelancers on here should be familiar with the "feast or famine" carry on.
Someone contacts you out of the blue, usually when the emergency baked beans are running low and we have to quote for the job.
Do I low-ball and get the gig or price fair and risk losing it?
One thing that I have found is that pricing fair will separate the bad clients from the good.
The ones that will pay the rate seem to respect you more for what you're doing whilst the opposite is true for the hagglers.
The hagglers tend to be the difficult clients that don't seem to respect you and have you jumping through hoops, changing the goal posts, design by committee and so on.
I also find these kind of projects never end up as well as they could.
It's not always the same as some of my clients are creative professionals themselves and these tend to be a dream to work with both financially and creatively.
I'm not sure if it's a psychology thing but a clients respect for you and their behaviour often seem to be linked to what they're paying you.
I've done jobs for people as favours and not charged them a thing.
These turn out to be the worst of all and the hardest work.
I've given them something that would normally have cost £1,00o's and it's like I'm handing over a cheese sandwich.
Also, when you work for free or cheap then you won't do your best work as there isn't the motivation to do so.
I'm crap at business and it's hard when the wolves are at the door but I'm finding more and more....
I once came across an interesting theory about pricing once, that has stuck with me: If all of your prospective clients immediately accept your quote without haggling then you are underquoting. If around 20% of your quotes are rejected because the client considers them too high then you have found the sweet spot for your target market.