Freelancers – How to Deal with the Budget Constraints of Your Clients

Updated on: by Miranda Grimm

How to stay within the constraints of your clients budgets without sacrificing your dignity.Guest Post By Paul Maplesden

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If you’re a freelancer, you know that your clients are often working to very tight budgets. This can sometimes make negotiating rates and payments tricky as they’re trying to get the most for their money and you’re trying to earn a living. Here are some simple techniques that you can use to help negotiate rates and secure the project.

If you can turn the work around quickly,

highlight this to the client. Businesses are often up against tight time constraints and clients might be prepared to pay a little more if they know that you can meet or exceed their deadlines.

Upsell the quality or unique selling points that you provide.

Give the client every reason to trust in the high quality of your work; demonstrate the care and attention that you will treat their work with and highlight any unique selling points or extra value that you can provide.

Detail any costs that they are saving by using you.

Tell the client exactly how their money is being spent and show them how they are saving money by using your services.

Offer to provide a sample of your work for free.

Clients often find it difficult to part with money if they don’t know what they are getting in return. Offer to provide a sample of your work for free. Spend an hour or so working on something for them and provide it at no obligation. This can often encourage them to provide the entirety of the project to you.

Let them know that cheapest is seldom best.

Many businesses that pay bottom-dollar end up regretting it. Explain how low rates can result in poor work that often needs to be redone.

Provide a guarantee.

Offer some kind of guarantee of quality; this may involve providing revisions for free or working very closely with the client to ensure that they get exactly what they want.

Cap your prices.

If you charge by the hour, offer to cap your prices at a certain amount. Calculate how long you believe the project will take, add on 20% for unforeseen circumstances and cap your rates there; let the client know that they won’t pay any more than that.

Price for the project, not by the hour.

If possible, provide a set fee for the project as a whole. Many clients like knowing up front how much they are going to spend and would prefer not to have the uncertainty of an hourly rate.

Compare yourself to your competitors.

If you know that your quality is higher, your prices are better or you’re more flexible than your competitors, let your client know. Highlight all of the ways that they would be better off choosing you rather than your competitors.

Provide something more.

If you can, offer to do more than might be expected of you, and offer to do it for free. The willingness to go the extra mile for a client is something that they will appreciate.

Find out if the client can help to reduce the amount of work you need to do.

If the budget remains a sticking point, you do have further options. Find out if the client can take on some of the work themselves, meaning you only need to get involved at the most important points. Alternatively, you can also suggest downscaling the project to match their budget.

Outsource the easier parts of the project.

You may be able to outsource or subcontract some of the work out to others. You can then pass this cost saving onto your client.

Provide a payment plan.

Divide the fee for the project into several stages so that the client doesn’t have to pay it all at once; you can also propose breaking the project up into smaller phases.

Using one or more of these techniques can be a great way to find middle ground between you and your client. Ultimately, if you can be flexible, deliver quality, reassure your client and build trust, you should be able to negotiate fees that work for everyone.

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Leisa Good

October 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

Excellent article, Paul. One of the best that I have read about freelancing over the last couple of weeks.