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  • Dealing w/ clients & sticker shock

    Hi all,

    I run into this all the time and I'm sure you do too. My graphic and web design business is two years old so it's realtively young and I'm working on building it up. I try various forms of advertising including networking groups. However, no matter where I find the potential client, they ask me what it will cost and when I give them my minimum, they nearly choke.

    I'm not willing to take on a web project for less than $XXXX. It takes me at least a month to do what I need to do: brainstorming, sketches, determining layout, fonts, navigation, browser testing, etc. This is a minimum amount of time. Invariably, my clients DON'T get me their deliverables in a timely manner and a project may stretch out for months. My time is valuable and I need to make money, just like everyone else.

    I just don't know how to handle potential clients who balk at my prices. Ideally, I don't want clients who can't/don't want to INVEST in a web presence, so I'm aksing for insight.

    How can I more effectively target the clients I want? And how do I get across the time and effort that goes into creating a custom web presence for someone? I feel, even in my face to face networking groups, that the people I'm talking to don't understand (or aren't listening).

    How do you market yourself? How do you justify to others what you do? I feel like the vast majority seem to think a web site should cost $100. I am reminded of Oscar Wilde's comment about the man who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    Should I, when confronted with an inquiry, smile and say, "sorry, but I don't think you can afford me"?

    I think marketing is my weakest point, so I'm looking to other designers with more experience. Give me your insight, I need it!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by urstwile; 05-20-2007, 09:56 PM. Reason: removed pricing reference

  • #2
    You should probably edit out the pricing - We are not allowed to discuss dollar amounts on pricing in this forum.

    I've run into a bit of sticker shock, or, "Why does this guy in India only charge me XXX when you charge XXXX?" My answer? "I am very good at what I do. I believe strongly in client satisfaction and hitting your deadlines. I will work closely with you to ensure that you get the best product." Reading btween the lines - you get what you pay for. I've gotten jobs with that pitch, and other times people who thought I was too high walked away. I'm comfortable with that.
    Think of me as programmable soda.
    Tori Amos

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    • #3
      Sorry about that. How can I edit a post?

      Comment


      • #4
        I used to have that problem. My portfolio and credentials have grown enough that people come back to me and refer me for the quality of work I do. If they don't want to pay then they won't.

        Some/most clients argue the price just so that they can weasel you down on it. I believe in hardline pricing and discounting only for quantity orders (ie: printers give me a break and I pass it on). Unfortunately there are many out there that will break the price just to get the job. And that I believe has hurt the GD industry as well as those who have so-and-so does it for "cheap".

        I'm not so-and-so. I'm fair in my pricing, and the clients will actually get a quality product and result that will benefit them in the long run.

        It is also selling yourself and your product to your client. Delivery of the price with no review of what they want in their site - is a big turn off for customers. "my websites start at $xxxxx and go up from there" may be a true statement but it is not a value statement for the customer.

        Find out what they want to do with the site and what the site should do for them. Then talk with them about the things they want in the content, photos, video. Deliberate and think (or act like it) then quote your price or "let me take a look at this project back at the office and I can get you a quote" Then the customer will find value in the price you are quoting them.

        Off the top of your head quoting for dynamic sites often leads the customer to think that you are not investing in the project. A slight delay minutes (as you think things over - take a look at your schedule - etc) or hours (I'll look this over and get back to you on a quote) can increase the value of the project in the customer's eyes.

        On the flip side, this can backfire on you as the customer may think that you don't know what you are doing. Double edged sword. However, presentation, using words that make the customer see that indeed it is hard work to put together a website. Some customers seem to think that we have the "magic button" that just assembles everything for us.

        Also, always ask what is their timeline. You are working for them, if they want something up by a tradeshow midmonth, then accommodate that if possible. No different than any other design or service industry - make the customer come first in their mind. This will also have future value to you as word of mouth goes around how "you" take care of "them", not "them" taking care of "you" as you find the time to do what they want.

        I don't know if any of that is of any help, but it is common sales and business practices.

        Jade

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        • #5
          I know I run into this all the time.

          If they can't afford it, then I usually would rather go work in my garden than work for pennies. That's how I look at it.

          Sometimes, though, it's just a little more than they budgeted for, and you can talk to them and find out how much they had in mind. If the figure isn't tooo far off, you can whittle out stuff from the proposal, such as maybe instead of 5 logo designs, you only do three.

          Other than that... our work is worth something.
          it's deadline and I'm GROUCHY.

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          • #6
            Jade and Greyghost,

            Thanks. I appreciate the quick feedback. Yes, I would rather work in my garden too (if I had one) than work for pennies.

            Jade, thanks. I do use some of the techniques you mention and I always submit a proposal which details what they get for their money.

            I'm sure we all like the work to speak for itself, but I would really like to find a way to get across to people, what goes into creating a piece (web or print). In my networking group I have 40 seconds once a week to sell myself. (Of course there is more opportunity to meet with people one on one). But I want to find a way to get across the value of my services. Since the people in my group are potential sales people for me, I need them to have a good grasp of what I do.

            You're right, they do think we have a magic button. It also bugs me when they think they know everything I do because they've got a copy of Dreamweaver!

            Thank you again.

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            • #7
              milauskas, I edited your post for you to remove the pricing reference.
              "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!" - Ricky Ricardo

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              • #8
                What I do is have a list of other designers whose work is comparible to mine, but who charge more and say, "here's a list of other designers who have good reputations, you might find someone there who fits your price range" (and they might) and always add, "good luck with your project, it sounds like a great idea" or something to that effect. Be nice.

                I'm lucky because the list of designers who do what I do is all on one well-known site, so I just send a link to that site.

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                • #9
                  I run into the same issues. I usually avoid talking price until I know they are seriously considering using me and want a quote. A majority of the companies I work with are small/entrepeneur type companies (5-25 employees) so of course they want to get a Lexus while only paying for a motorized scooter.

                  I haven't found many answers either, I simply keep trying and hope the right clients will work out.
                  You see, whenever I start feeling sick, I just stop being sick and be awesome instead. True story.

                  Comment

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