Clients asking for discounts

How do I feel about clients asking for discounts? I’ll tell you…

I feel that clients (or in this case potential clients) only ask contractors, freelancers, entrepreneurs and/or small business owners for discounts? Have you done this? Why?

How about we turn the tables on the 9-5er, the W2 employee. If that’s you, would you say yes if your boss offered you a project but told you that it wouldn’t be your normal rate? It would be a discounted rate. Would that offend you? Would you accept the project? I’m assuming you either wouldn’t accept the work or you’d be offended at the offer. You’re already getting one rate why would you want to work for less?

Perhaps it’s a different kind of thing than you normally do, it’s an opportunity for growth or a new skill, would you take the project then or still want your normal rate?

What’s in a rate?

I am a small business, freelancer, contractor or entrepreneur. Regardless of the name choice, I pay taxes out of the fees I charge. Why is it ok to be the ones that get bartered with? Why is it appropriate here, asking for discounts, if you wouldn’t ask in other businesses? Yes, I set my own rates which I think are fantastic since I have 17+ years of experience and have to pay all my own taxes (state, county, federal), fees, insurance, retirement, equipment costs etc (trust me, it sucks!). Just because I set my own rates doesn’t mean I can or should discount any project I do. Right? Are you with me?

Why is there this double standard on asking for discounts (employee vs contractor)?

What can you do to change this?

Trust me, you aren’t doing someone a favor by “giving” them work at a discounted rate or better yet asking them to do it for free. This only works if they don’t have a lot of experience and even then they probably have considered that in their rate. I know for me, my rates have gone up with experience and equipment costs. I didn’t start out where I am now and I don’t want to go backward.

Let’s all respect each other and our work. We all have bills to pay. If you want cheap work, go to someone with less experience. If you want quality, just like in furniture or clothes, you’re going to have to pay for it. It’s an investment.

What are you willing to compromise on? 

3 replies
  1. Leanne Cole says:

    Very well said, it is so frustrating. I haven’t got it from work, but I get it when people want to buy images. They expect me to sell them an image for $25, but they never take into consideration what it has cost me to produce the image, how much my gear cost, my experience, my education etc.

  2. Deb Williams says:

    Darn right Melissa, you bring up many good points………especially the idea that paying for our expertise is an INVESTMENT. It’s not an article of clothing we will later donate to Goodwill or junk food or a temporary bit of feel good with a manicure or a ride on a merry go round (where you can use a Groupon). It’s the “cost” of choosing a path for your life. Choose wisely dear clients or potential ones. If you’re asking for a discount , maybe you’re just not ready……

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