Managing Clients Who Think You Charge Too Much
What do you do when you have clients who are shocked at the price of your quote, or don't want to pay anything at all for your services? I've dealt with this challenge back when I first started out freelancing and I still run into it today
The truth is that all freelancers and entrepreneurs deal with this challenge that is commonly referred to as "Sticker Shock."
What do you do when you're in one of these situations with a client? I've learned (the hard way) a few things that can definitely help manage the challenge of different expectations between you and your client.
The first lesson I've learned is one of the most challenging, and it is to be comfortable and okay with walking away from a project if a client says no to your quote. This is especially tough in the beginning when you may not have a ton of work coming in, but it is important in the long run to place a value on your time, talent, and expertise and stand by it.
When I started out I did jobs for people that, when you factor in all the hours I put into it, were paying me minimum wage. So I figured out what my time is worth, factoring in all of my experience, talents, skills, knowledge, etc. and decided to stick with that hourly rate no matter what. I decided that my time is valuable to me and I would rather have that time to myself than give it away for less than what it' worth.
The second lesson is to present yourself to clients in a way that reflects the value you are asking them to pay. Basically, you need to look professional and treat every client with the same respectful process. The client's perception of you, your business, and how you operate has a huge impact on whether or not they're willing to invest their money in your services. Show them that you're not only taking this project seriously, but the extra effort and attention to detail is exactly why they are paying what they are paying.
This also means having things like a professional looking website, even a simple one works fine, an email address that isn't gmail or hotmail that goes through your website (I admit I'm guilty of this one!), and presenting yourself well at client meetings with confidence and respect
As they say, 'you get what you pay for,' so make sure that your clients are getting that from you.
The third lesson I've learned is to have a consistent system for how you quote and bill all of your projects. This service costs X dollars per hour, this equipment use costs X dollars per hour, my
editing in post costs X dollars per hour, and so on. Create an in house quote that is just for your eyes only, that breaks down every aspect of the project and shows exactly how and why you came to the total amount that you did. Then, have a separate quote for the client that is a condensed version of your in house quote, that shows them all the different aspects of your services you are giving them and the total cost breakdown.
For example, on my in house quote I list the hourly rate and how many hours for each specific service (i.e. editing, crew members, equipment usage, etc.), but on the client version I simply list the total amount for each service. If a client wants to know or see more details as to why that is the price, then you have all the inner details at your disposal to back up your final price.
My last lesson I've learned is to explain your services to your client, be upfront about your fees, and be prepared to show a potential client the value of your services. That last one is important. Clients are not the experts, that is why they hire you, so respect that they just might not know what things cost, why they cost as much as they do, or what the value is that they are getting in return.
I do video production and I often explain to clients how videos are the digital equivalent to someone walking into their storefront for the first time. What first impression (that will likely last forever) do you want to give them? Yes, you could have your nephew throw something together on his iPhone, but if low-budget is your investment then low-budget is how you'll be perceived by people. On social media it gets even more challengin
g, as every video is held to the same standards and expectations. Whether you are NBC with a $3million budget or you are the local hardware store with $3,000 budget, you will be equally compared to each other, and every other video in a person's feed. Investing in a high quality video now will pay off tenfold for your business online.
My point is to find your pitch. You should know in one sentence why you're the right choice.
If anyone else has tips or lessons learned, please share them in the comments! I'm sure that there are many things I could still learn and be better at.
Two Brothers Creative