So you’ve got this potential lead. You meet with them, go over their needs and wants, and you’re all pretty excited about getting started.
And then they review your design quote.
“Oh. We were thinking more in the <subtract 50%> range.”
(Have you heard something like this before?)
If you’re anything like me, that’s a BIG difference in cost. Then the anxiety sets in and you start second-guessing yourself…did you quote too high? Are you worth that amount? Is this client going to pay? Etc. Etc.
Before you turn down your potential client, try one of these creative ways to keep their costs down without cheating yourself.
Pare down your project goals
This might be obvious, but if your client can’t afford the snazzier (yes, I said snazzier…I grew up in the 80s) design with all the extra features, figure out how you can create a more basic version for less cost.
Tip: If possible, make the basic version expandable to add on those neat upgrades at a later date when they can afford it.
Offer fewer revisions
Revisions can eat up your design time and your client’s budget.
Offer to bring the price down in exchange for fewer revisions. Be sure to set an hourly rate for revisions past the agreed-upon amount, though, or you’ll be stuck making endless changes for no pay.
Consult rather than design
This works particularly well with clients who want to do as much as possible themselves.
Instead of doing the work, you critique it. Your client sends proofs and you respond with how they can improve upon their own creation.
It can be a win-win: you get paid your full hourly rate; your client spends less and gets some pointers on how to improve their project.
Also, after wasting multiple hours and struggling to make their visions come true, often times they’ll relent and ask you to do the project anyway…with a much healthier understanding of why you’re asking the price you are!
NOTE: this is not for the faint of design heart…you’re going to see some pretty awful stuff. You’re going to have to resist the impulse to fix it yourself or be too critical.
Focus on design, not page population
For WordPress and similar CMS websites, page population is often the tedious and time-expensive portion of redesigning a website.
If your client can’t afford for you to create each page, offer to create the design and one page. From that page design, they can create the remaining pages/posts to fill in the content of their site.
Sell in bulk
This tactic works really well with an existing client who pays well – offer a discount if they sign on to a year’s worth of services or commit to several projects over the course of the next 6 months.
Just don’t forget to sign a contract specifying the terms of your deal and what happens if either party breaks their part of the bargain.
Set up a payment plan
For start-up clients, often capital is their biggest challenge. But start-ups also need a LOT of work done to hit the ground running.
Allowing a client to pay you over a series of months can defray those design costs into manageable chunks.
NOTE: Be careful of how much money they owe you and set a limit at which you won’t continue work on any projects until they’ve paid down their bill.
Trading services can be a useful tool when the two parties offer mutually beneficial products and services.
Make sure, however, that your business really could use this service, NOT your personal life. Otherwise you’re just cheating your business…and it should be YOU who pays your business.
Examples of smart service trades:
- Trading for computer repair or computer upgrades
- Trading for advertising and/or marketing
- Trading for office space (if you need it)
- Trading for printing services
Share your stories!
How have you cut costs to win over a tight-budgeted client? Do you have a great client or did you shy away from what appeared to be a shady company? Leave a comment on this post – we’d love to hear your tip and stories!