02 Sep Negotiating Pricing Pitfalls for New Indies
I knew what my work was worth, but I didn’t know that clients don’t care. All they want is the cheapest, best option. From the get go, I found myself struggling with a cliché – should I charge hourly or by project? I chose hourly, to keep it simple, after endless Googling of the going rate. It seemed like a fair and well-researched starting point. I had a “decent” contract in place, customizable for every client. However, I hadn’t accounted for the multiple revisions that my writing would be subjected to by clients who didn’t know their mind. I became not just a writer, but also an advisor helping clients keep it real. What would have taken two hours, ended up taking one whole day, and I got paid for only the hours that I actually wrote.
The familiar feeling of being used as an employee was back.
Soon client#4 came along and I was charging by the project. I made sure to account for meetings, revisions, writing and advising which increased the project quote. It was now harder for me to get a “yes” from the client. I found myself justifying my post-graduate degrees and my experience. What I didn’t have was a creative brief to make convincing a little easier. After a few meetings, I landed client#4 who signed on the dotted line. When payment time came, the client summoned an emergency meeting to say that my invoiced rate was too high, and that she couldn’t pay me unless we re-negotiated a lesser rate. Remember, I did say that she signed the on dotted line – literally! While suing was an option, it wasn’t affordable for a new indie like myself. Begrudgingly, I said “I am happy to quote a lesser rate, but please make sure to read every word of the new contract before signing it this time.”
My Take Home
After numerous readjustments to my pricing strategy, I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. These pricing truths shine bright for me:
· consult experienced indies who have negotiated their pricing pitfalls and can help you avoid yours
· pricing cannot be rule bound but should be determined based on a thorough analysis of the work scope, and your gut
· value your work, find YOUR price, and stick to it
· draft a creative brief for your client
· use a project management approach to price your ideas
· veteran freelancers may decry the use of contracts, but contracts are legally binding and go a long way
· make no assumptions.