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ASK US WEDNESDAY: “How do I deal with clients who always try to bargain me down?”

by Rachel Smith
12 November 2014

Ask Us Wednesday NEWHi Rachel. In a blog post recently you mentioned how one of your ‘bugbears’ were clients who think you should be able to do something in no time flat (thus saving them money) when actually you know from experience the brief would take longer than they think it should / will. This is always the problem; my quotes being challenged or negotiated on. Any tips for getting around this? It’s driving me mad. Pam

Yep, I think one of the biggest annoyances for any writer is a client who only sees the slick and shiny end product with no insight into what it took to get there. Of course, that’s how it should be, but we all know the path to clean copy that reads beautifully is a process, and one that meanders through from the idea stage to the writing and tweaking and eventually, the final spit and polish.

I know like anyone how hard it is to turn down work – even badly paid work – when you’re against a rock and a hard place and a ginormous electricity bill. So I’d urge you to read another post we wrote back in May on negotiating your freelance rate and also, here are my tips:

1. Supply a watertight quote / proposal. If you’re always super professional and spell out what you’ll provide on your quote – any research, amount of drafts / edits etc – it’ll help the client visualise where their money’s going.

2. Allow yourself some wiggle room. If they come back to you following your quote trying to bargain you down to do it for say, 70 percent of your original price, what you can do is go back and say, ‘Sure, I can meet that but instead of getting three drafts you’ll only get two, and only one round of edits’. You’re then effectively saying, ‘My time is valuable and it costs $X’. Which is totally fair enough.

3. Be confident and don’t enter a bargaining game. If you do, you’ve effectively told the client that you will go below your bid and that sets a precedent.

Over to you List members: how do you deal with clients who try and bargain you down to nothing?

Rachel Smith
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Rachel Smith

As a kid, Rachel used to carry around a little suitcase of pens and paper so she could stop and write stories whenever inspiration struck. These days, she writes for a living, in between running the show at Rachel's List. Some of you may actually believe she looks like a megaphone in real life, but it's not the case. Honest.
Rachel Smith
Find us!

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