When They Say Your Freelance Writing Fees Are Too Expensive

by Anne Wayman

Freelance Writing Fees Are Too ExpensiveWhat do you do when someone tells you your freelance writing fees are too expensive?

This is the perfect time to remember that it’s not about you, that you shouldn’t take this statement to be about your worth as a person or as a writer.

A potential client’s unwillingness or inability to pay your quoted price is about that client’s willingness or ability to pay – that’s all.

Take that in.

Clients always have a price in mind, even if they say they don’t. They may recognize they don’t know if what they’re willing to pay is reasonable enough, and they also hope to get a bargain. Besides, from their point of view, it never hurts to ask for a lower rate.

Here are the things I say when someone tells me my price is too high:

Oh, what price did you have in mind?

This will often surface a figure from the prospective client, or at least more information.

They might say “oh maybe half of that.”

This lets me know we’re far apart and I’ll just say, in one way or another, thanks but no thanks and move on.

But sometimes they’ll name a price that’s close, say within five or 1o percent of what I asked. Assuming I want the gig I might comment “then we’re not far apart, are we.” I’ll then shut up and see if they won’t agree to my fee. Often they will.

Of course, sometimes they won’t. When we’re close and I want the job I might suggest splitting the difference. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t

Once in a great while, if it’s a job that suits me to a proverbial T, I’ll come down to their price, but that’s truly rare these days.

What needs to happen for you to feel comfortable paying my fee?

Another question you might ask when you’re told your freelance writing fees are too expensive is ask what it would take for them to be willing to pay you you’re full fee.

This kind of question may surface information you didn’t have. It might be a simple enough request, like the conversion of whatever you’re writing into a .pdf file, or an extra review round.

You can respond with something like “I’d be happy to provide that. Shall I send you a letter of agreement?”

Sometimes, of course, they ask more of you than you’re willing to add. In this case you simply say “I’m sorry, that’s more than I’m willing to do.” Don’t make excuses or try to justify your position. You’re a pro. In fact, this is antoher ideal time to just shut up and see if they will meet your price.

It’s surprising what a little silence can do sometimes.

When your freelance writing fees are too expensive

If, you discover that your freelance writing fess are too expensive for this client, politely move on.

There’s no reason for you to reduce your fees for anyone. You don’t have to apologize or justify or act in anyway like you also think your fees should be lower. They don’t want to hear your story or about the dozen family members you’re trying to feed or whatever.

A truth in the freelance writing game is there is always another client out there who is willing to pay your rates. Truly.

Get more answers to freelance writing business questions in my special solutions seriesIt’s free, but you do have to sign up for it.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer

 

 

 

Image: StockMonkeys

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen Hicks August 15, 2014 at 3:11 pm

The challenge with coming down is that you risk feeling resentful, which will result in a negative client relationship. Also, you’ll be spending time on a client that doesn’t value you adequately, instead of working on finding better ones.

I think it’s helpful instead to see if there’s room for a compromise – can they commit to a specific volume each month in exchange for a discount, or agree to provide extra resources in the beginning that will cut down on research time in exchange for a reduced rate.
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Anne Wayman August 21, 2014 at 8:00 am

Good ideas, Kristen… although it may also be better just to move on to the client who is willing to pay your rate.

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Debra Stang August 8, 2014 at 11:49 am

I love this article. In the past, I’ve had problems with coming down on my fees when I knew I shouldn’t. Now I stand firm unless the difference is small or there is some other compelling reason to lower my prices (e.g., lots of good exposure, project I love, etc.).
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Anne Wayman August 21, 2014 at 7:57 am

Good for you Debra! It does work.

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Laura Spencer August 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

Great question to filter out tire-kickers from true prospects.

Thanks Anne
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Anne Wayman August 7, 2014 at 9:58 am

You’re welcome… ;)

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