I know from first hand experience that it is all too tempting to drop your prices just to avoid hearing “no”. When an enquiry lands in my inbox, I spend the first 5 minutes figuring out how long the work will take me and how much it should cost. And then I spend the next 4 hours trying to whittle down my rates to a number I’m more comfortable with.
“That’s way too much, no one would ever pay that.”
“Am I even worth that much?”
“I bet they can get someone better to do this for cheaper”
Imposter syndrome is alive and well here
I used to lowball every quote thinking that it would lead to more work. But it rarely works out. When you price your services to avoid a no, there are no guarantees of a yes. Here’s why.
Imagine you’re thinking about buying a bottle of your favourite perfume. You find it online and the price is pretty consistent. And then you find one person is selling it for £5 on eBay. It looks authentic, but you can’t be sure.
You’ve never heard of the seller before so you decide to do some research. You can’t find any bad reviews for the store, but you can’t find any good reviews, either. The cheap perfume is just too good to be true so you suck it up and pay the higher price.
Don’t be the cheap perfume
When you lowball your prices, you’re the cheap perfume. If you’re new to the game, you might think dropping your prices will lead to more work, but you’re just giving clients reasons to doubt you.
Granted, some clients will always look for the absolute cheapest freelancer they can find. But those aren’t the clients that are going to help you to grow your business. They might help you get a foot in the door and a testimonial on your website, but you shouldn’t be thinking long term with them. You want to work with individuals and businesses that appreciate the value you bring to the table.
A note on pricing your freelance services
There are many ways to price your services. You can either figure out how much time the project will actually take you, and then figure out how much this time is worth to you. Or you can think about the value of the project and how much it is worth to the client. Trying to second guess how much a client is willing to pay is a huge waste of time.
Unless they have given you their budget, the best you can do is tell them how much it will cost you to complete the work. After all, that is what the potential client has asked for.
Should you ever drop your rates?
There are a few occasions that might warrant dropping your prices. If it’s a company you really want to work with, or if it’s a not-for-profit you are passionate about, then by all means, drop your prices. But only do this if you want to do it, not because someone else has asked you to.