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When existing clients try to lowball their next project...

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  • When existing clients try to lowball their next project...

    Freelancers, what's your advice for how to respond to an existing client who proposes a new project but throws out a price that's way below what you would have told them? This has happened to me a couple times recently, and this morning I got an email from another one who wants me to work on a new project for him and at the end of the email says, "Would $X be reasonable?", and I feel like telling them I'll get back after I get done crying tears of laughter and sadness. They're a good client and I'd like to keep them, they pay fairly well on the other steady work I do for them, but if I had named the number first on the new project, it would have been three times higher than what they suggested.

    I need the work, but I also need well-paying work. If I had never done business with them before, I'd have no problem naming my price and asking if they want to still hire me. But, this is a client I do regular work for. I don't want to appear selfish or lose them as clients altogether, but accepting this new project at their price is practically charity.

    I'm going to work on drafting an email back to them, but in the meantime if anyone else good suggestions I'd love to hear them.

  • #2
    When that happens, I treat them like someone with whom I have a relationship, and say something like; "Well sorry, but I'd be taking a loss at that price. This may take more of my time than you're thinking, or less than I'm thinking right now. I don't think we'd want either one of us to get soaked, so let me work up a proper estimate and we'll negotiate from there to an arrangement we can both live with..."
    I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.


    • #3
      Hello Salsa, I am new to this Forum but have been doing freelance work for the past 5 years. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that your clients and most likely "friends" at this point are coming back to you for some simple reasons.

      1. They like your work.
      2. They are used to working with you and feel comfortable with the way you do things.
      3.You have a relationship with them.

      Knowing this, you should feel comfortable raising your price with them, and not the opposite. You are more than welcome to give them a discount for being recurring clients, but I would agree with Hotbutton at this point. You have to tell them that you are not comfortable with this price.

      They are not only paying for your design skills but for the time spent thinking about a project, coming u with an idea. The time that you have spent learning your craft, school etc...

      It's not easy to tell someone no, but sometimes necessary in order to grow your business and attract better clients.



      • #4
        Hi Outrun and welcome to GDF.

        We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
        Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


        • #5
          Any client can find someone cheaper and if the quality and service is not as good as you give them many will live with that. It is a fact of life for a freelancer I'm afraid.

          Take Hotbutton's advice and negotiate sensibly and honestly. If they don't appreciate that then wave goodbye.
          Time flies like an arrow - fruit flies like a banana


          • #6
            Thanks for all the advice, guys. Pretty much confirmed what I was thinking.


            • #7
              It always helps to remember that everyone thinks the money paid to a graphic designer is essentially 100% profit. That's why they think making an offer is appropriate, and you should just take what they offer.

              Informing them that they're asking you to take a loss sometimes makes them actually think a little.
              I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.






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