You know what?
I rarely discuss my rates anymore. I just tell my clients what they are.
If you want to know what has been one of the biggest time-savers for me, this is it. No more haggling. No more trying to convince the client. No more worrying if they’re going to accept my quote.
Those worries have more to do with my level of confidence than with what clients can or cannot afford. Of course they will always lowball your first offer, or start off with a dumb deal. That’s negotiation 101. Never put all your cards on the table. It’s better to pretend you have a bad hand.
I know my rates are as reasonable as the one my dentist charges. I know he does an excellent job, and so do I (mine also involves a mouth; it’s just less painful). You don’t see me arguing with the dentist over his prices, do you? He’s an experienced service provider, and so am I. I respect his rates, just as I want my clients to respect mine.
What if they don’t? Well, that’s their problem. “Luckily” there are plenty of colleagues willing to work for less than they should be asking, and not all of them are on Fiverr, or are Bill DeWees/Fred Gleeck disciples.
And lucky for me, I have plenty of clients who pay my rate, no questions asked. I don’t say that to boast about my business. I know I don’t have the pipes of a Morgan Freeman, or the vocal flexibility of a Hank Azaria. I see myself as an okay voice over who happens to have an international accent that’s in demand.
What having been a freelancer for forty years has taught me, is that we should not be so afraid to ask for what we believe to be a reasonable fee, and stick with it. We know there’s a market for Kias and there’s a market for Mercedes-Benzes. Kias aren’t bad cars, but I’d rather be seen as a Mercedes.
PAYING TOP DOLLAR
Everybody knows Apple products are more expensive (in the short term), yet I bet there will be another rush for the latest iPhones! And get this: it’s not just the wealthy that can afford these high-priced premium products.
We often make the mistake believing that small, mom-and-pop type companies or charities can’t afford to (or shouldn’t have to) pay full price for what we offer. Yet, they too invest in quality equipment that lasts longer.
Remember the book The Millionaire Next Door? The authors found that millionaires are disproportionately clustered in middle-class and blue-collar neighborhoods and not in more affluent or white-collar communities. You can find wealth where you least expect it.
I’m by no means a millionaire, but I lead a rich, wonderfully fulfilling life, doing what I love. And I know this for a fact:
No matter how much I charge, my added value is always higher than my rate.
Joshua Alexander says
One thing I was always taught in quoting my customers was to NEVER apologize for my rates. I remember being a lowly telemarketer in the early 90’s (tell no one!), and after offering the price, I would have a tendency to silently cringe, waiting with baited breath to see if they would bite my head off or jump down my throat. But one thing I DID do right was I just kept silent – I let the offer reside in that waiting silence for them to choose, understanding that these simply ARE the rates, and they can either accept or reject. It’s up to them, sure, but it was up to me to not apologize and fill the air with sound reasons why the price was truly justified. Over time, I stopped cringing and simply laid it on the table. No cringing. No waiting apprehensively. No preparing to overexplain why I’m worth it. As Jack Palance used to say in those old cologne commercials, “Confidence is…very sexy. Don’t you think?”
Paul Strikwerda says
Confidence is a great aphrodisiac, for sure! insert pause
Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt says
I was advised once, by someone who agreed to read and review the first novel in my mainstream trilogy, to price much lower, as indies often price (note – he was getting a free review copy).
I said nothing, but I asked him after he finished reading and left an amazing review, if he thought I had priced correctly – and he said yes, absolutely.
You’re worth what you’re worth. My product, my imprint on which is over by the time someone reads the novel, has to stand by itself. Yes, I think it’s that good – and I want readers to be looking forward to paying the same for the remaining novels in the trilogy.
If it gives people pause to pay what you’re worth, they don’t know the market.
Paul Strikwerda says
I don’t blame clients for wanting to get a good deal. When I am in the market for a big purchase, I do the same thing. But I also know I can’t buy a Mercedes and expect a KIA price tag.
Moira Tait says
I went back and forth with a potential client as they wanted in perpetuity but I told them what it would cost (thousands). In the end they went with a member of their staff – so they didn’t value what I did in the first place.
Paul Strikwerda says
That’s disappointing. Thank you for sticking to your guns, Moira!