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Should I charge less

Should I charge less?

With many companies cutting back these days, a lot of freelancers are struggling with the conundrum: should I lower my rates to compete?

Generally speaking, I would advocate setting a rate and sticking with it. But these are not normal times, and I know that a lot of clients have become more price sensitive out of fear.

So, in this spirit I offer some alternative suggestions to lowering your rates if you’re feeling the pressure.

  • One potential alternative is to offer your prospect a smaller, but still viable, solution that is within their budget. So, for example, if you’re being asked to produce the same deliverables for 2/3 of the price, figure out a less comprehensive package that would still meet their fundamental needs. The advantage of this strategy is that the prospect appreciates you looking out for them while, at the same time, you do not feel like you are giving away your services.
  • Another option, as outlined in this blog, is to maintain your rate but cut the number of hours that you estimate the work would take. There are two ways to take this – you can look for efficiencies that mean that you produce the same deliverable in less time, or you can accept that you will work for a few hours gratis. You may grumble in the short-term, but the next time that client contacts you, you can continue to charge your full rate.
  • Building on this last option, you can offer your client a more basic deliverable and then “gift” them with the additional component or hours. As a market researcher, that might mean I charge for 5 focus groups and offer my moderating and reporting costs for the sixth one free of charge. Be sure to position this as something you are electing to provide in recognition of the challenging times we are facing. This way, you can once again maintain your rate for future projects and you’ve built up equity because you were there for the client when they needed you.
  • A final option is to outsource parts of the project to a less experienced freelancer. Charge your standard rate for the higher-level strategic work that you will do personally and charge less for more executional work that you will outsource. The client ends up with the same deliverable, and you have not lowered your rate.

Should I charge less?

Flexibility pays in this economy, but it’s important to remember that flexibility does not necessarily mean you need to take a hit. Creativity in how you approach projects may just be the key to coming out of the current climate with your rates intact. Position it with the prospect as doing your best to work with them and provide them with the optimal solution that meets their budget. Your attitude and problem-solving abilities will be remembered in the long run.

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