Should Freelancers Ever Give Discounts on Services?
As a freelancer it can be difficult to ensure that you get paid what you are worth for the work you do. First you must decide how you are going to charge – by the hour, task, word, or page, for example.
Some freelancers charge by one method, and some another. They all have good reasons why they bill their customers by the method they have chosen.
But in addition to figuring out the way you are going to charge, you need to also determine how much you will charge. In addition, you need to consider whether or not you should ever give discounts to your clients.
1. Giving a Discount Could De-value Your Work
When considering if you should ever give discounts, think carefully about the work that was done. For example, if you’re a writer, was the article well written and pleasing to the eye? Was the content good and on topic?
Answering yes to all of these questions leads me to wonder why you would want to discount your work. As long as the demands of the client were met, why would you give a discount?
2. Discounts Could Set a Precedent
Freelancers who give discounts for no real reason could be setting themselves up to give more discounts in the future. If you give a discount, what is to stop your client from wanting one on every job in the future?
Furthermore, clients talk. If one client who received a discount talks to another who didn’t, you could be causing unnecessary trouble for yourself. Rather than risk losing business from a good client who becomes upset by such a scenario, make it a practice not to give discounts without a good reason.
3. Reputable Clients Will Pay What You Are Worth
There are clients who will ask for a discount on every job you do for them once they receive the first one. These types of clients could spell bad new and should be avoided if they do not have the funds to pay what you are worth.
The reputable clients you contract with will nearly always pay what you quoted without you having to lower your rates. In other words, they will be as professional as you are and pay you what you are worth.
4. Reasons to Consider a Discount
At times, of course, you may have to entertain the idea of giving a discount to a client. Some reasons include:
- being new to freelance work
- being in-between clients
- or trying to expand your services by offering something new
You could also provide a special discount for a slower time of year, such as summer or around the holidays to help your business grow and avoid slow times. Another way to offer a discount is for a new client or if the client wants to throw a lot of business your way.
Use caution about how the discount is offered so you do not appear desperate to your clients. That could make them jump ship and give their business to another freelancer. Additionally, make sure the discount has an expiration date on it.
5. Make Sure You are Earning Enough
Since there are times you may need to lower your price for a client, make sure you are earning enough to cover your bills. You still need to have the income to cover vacation and sick days, health insurance, retirement taxes, and all other associated expenses.
You may be tempted to simply add more clients to make up the difference if you think you are not making enough money. But, the hours available in your day are limited and you need time off to sleep, eat, and do other things too.
To ensure you are making enough to allow for the occasional discount, build a little cushion into your normal rates. That way if a client wants to haggle you have a little wiggle room on the price for the job.
There are no guarantees you will get enough work as a freelancer to cover all of your bills. However, you can make sure you get paid enough for the work you do by deciding when or if you should ever give discounts.