Below I have an actual email a client sent me after meeting in-person and him receiving my project proposal:
"It was great to meet you as well, Jeremy. Thank you for your time and your proposal. I am aware of the average, going rate for a logo design and a project like this. At this time, I can not budget this amount. I'm a start up small business, non profit effort in nature and everything at the present is being funded directly from my own pocket to initially get this started.
I am waiting on a couple of other quotes but I feel that you would do a great job. I can probably budget $XXXX for this and even that is a big expense for me. I have already invested $XXXX in to a logo that I can not use. Please let me know your thoughts and from there, I can make a final decision by the end of this week, if not sooner."
As you look at the email, how would you describe what the client's really driving at in one short sentence. I'd say he's, "Trying to build a case why I shouldn't charge fairly for my time."
What do you think?
Managing this situation can be a complicated one: you need to stand your ground and at the same time, you need to be sensitive to the client's viewpoint. Here's what I'd come up with:
"No worries Randy, I understand that it’s always difficult to invest more money in a project that you feel you’ve wasted some in, but hopefully it will serve as a reminder to avoid inexpensive design. Sadly, I’ve met so many people in your same position that hired a designer thinking they got a great deal, only to end up with a logo, business card or web site that they really couldn’t or just didn’t want to use. They ended up wasting time, a lot of money and got really frustrated – it’s a shame.
While I feel badly for you and other owners who might have invested money in the project w/o a good result, I still need to charge fairly for my skills. So while I can empathize with you investing $XXXX already, that shouldn’t affect me charging a fair price for my time and expertise, should it?"
This format and approach is similar to what I've included in my Verbal Kung Fu for Freelancers book. If you received this email, how might you have responded?