August 1, 2021

The client said my rates are too expensive!

Kei Maye
Hands up if you're dealing with, or have ever dealt with pricing issues?
When you hear opinions (because that's what they are) from people saying things like:
'You shouldn't charge that much, no one will ever pay.'
'You're not experienced enough to charge so high!'
'Your services are far too overpriced.'‍
These can quite easily lead to feelings of doubt, discomfort and sometimes even guilt, leading you to question your entire pricing structure and sometimes even yourselves.
Here are some things to think about whenever someone raises objections about your pricing or tries to talk you down into a discount.

It's not always a complete no. Sometimes it's a not right now.

It may feel uncomfortable, but use this as an opportunity to find out what problem they're trying to solve or what they're trying to achieve. Get to know the ins and outs of their end goals and ask them what possible resolution is worth to them.

They may need time to go away and think about what's been said before deciding whether they want to invest in the service after all.

But what if they don't come back? This is okay! Not everyone will be able to afford you. Let's take a look at other reasons why clients may object.

Different people have different spending styles and habits.

Different types of spenders prioritise different things when purchasing products or services. Cost-based spenders are more likely to zoom in on whatever is the cheapest; regardless of the finer details.

On the flip side, value-based spenders consider the specs, quality and potential value as a more important deciding factor, choosing to purchase if they have access to the necessary funds.

Problems may arise when you encounter cost-based spenders in a value-based service industry, as you are providing something valuable and charging as such, but this isn't what they are prioritising.

The value-based spenders are the clients who will pay larger sums for valuable solutions and remedies, making them ideal clients for freelance design projects.

If you haven't been told you're too expensive yet, you're probably not charging enough.

If everyone feels like they're getting a sweet deal, then chances are - that's exactly what they're getting.

Sometimes to your detriment, often at your expense.

In some cases, if you're priced too low - this can actually cause a degree of uncertainty. Value-based spenders in particular may question why your services are so cheap.

"What's the quality like?"

"Why are the prices so low?"

"Do they trust their own level of service?"

Some people will make comments to try and deter you.

Let's call a spade a spade. Sometimes it's our fellow designers or people you may look up to in the industry telling you that you're punching too high and that you need to lower your rates.

It's no one else's right to dictate how much you should charge for your services.

You know what the role of design is?

You spend time learning about your craft and how to develop?

You know how to provide a valuable service to clients?

This is what you need. The right clients will pay for you to potentially solve their problems. The right clients will identify that you are able to provide this resolve and focus on the bigger picture i.e: Freedom from their struggles, and they will pay you for it.

Everyone has their own individual skill-set, experience, approach and variables. No one is sat in charge making all the rules about when freelancers can raise their prices or not. No matter how they may try.

If I had listened to people telling me I was too expensive, I would still be out here charging £20 for websites, making absolutely no sort of living whatsoever.

To be honest, in some cases, people may try to deter you as they may not have been able to set higher parameters for themselves. They may have limiting beliefs surrounding money and end up projecting this on to you. Whether they mean well or not, these limitations serve absolutely no one.

There are businesses, companies and individuals even, paying upwards of five figures for design projects and pieces of art. Smile and wave.

Bonus tip:

Don't undersell yourself to make the sale - this could work against you.

In short, there is no one set amount that every freelancer should universally charge. There are far too many variables for this to work effectively.

Competing on price by intentionally charging what others are charging, or lowering your prices to suit cost-based spenders (who may end up being nightmare clients anyway) is a race to the bottom. It also doesn't compensate you fairly for the value you have to add.