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9 Ways to Get a Bargain on Professional Services

Last week I wrote about ways clients increase the cost of their copywriting services, 7 Surefire Ways to Increase your Copywriting Fees. The post was pretty much a flop. It didn’t get a lot of traffic and only garnered one comment. I was surprised. It provided inside information on pricing along with insight to how client behaviour influences a costing exercise. This week I’m taking a different approach.

How can you get a bargain on professional services?

I know I’m not alone in the pursuit of a good deal. As the owner of a SMB, it’s important for me to get value for money. I want to ensure I’m getting a quality product, but I also can’t afford to pay a premium price to every vendor or service provider. To balance last week’s post with a positive spin, I’m sharing things that influence me to discount my normal rates.

1) Repeat business: If I have a client continually sending work my way, my appreciation is reflected in the project pricing. Clayko Group was one of my first clients and continues to enlist my services in their strategic projects. Because I’m so familiar with their company, I can complete their projects much more efficiently, which saves them money.

2) Not for Profits: In a nod to a loosely defined CSR policy for my business, I automatically knock 20% off the rates for Not for Profit (NFP) and charity organisations.

3) Start-up SMBs: When you’re trying to get a business off the ground, the expenses mount fast. An owner with the foresight to invest in quality copywriting gets a discount from me.

4) New clients: If a new client pushes me on price, I consider giving them a “new client incentive” on the first project.

5) Something new: It’s always good to expand my reach either by geography or by industry. If the project is going to open a new market for me, I’ll lower my rates to stretch my wings. Fitzgerald Photo Imaging got a great rate on a magazine article because of my personal goal to be published in an Australian periodical.

6) Balances the portfolio: I specialise in a few different areas – white papers, case studies, blogs and website copy. If I find one part of my mix has hit a slow patch, I’ll put a sale on a specific product to attract more work in that area.

7) New territory: Occasionally an existing client will ask me to write something I’ve never done before. If it’s outside of my comfort zone or I’m inexperienced in the genre, I’ll often suggest a barter deal instead of charging a fee.

8) Fun projects: If I feel passionately about a project or the company that’s hiring me, I often find myself knocking the quoted price down a bit. If work doesn’t seem so much like, well, work then it doesn’t always get priced that way, either.

9) Easy money: I collaborate with different companies on different projects. If I haven’t had to make any effort in securing the work, I’ll give a good rate to the person who delivered the package. Ryan Briggs is particularly good at generating business for me. He often wraps it up in a pretty copy brief, which also improves the pricing.

I can think of plenty more circumstances where I would be willing to give a discount on my services, but I’d better leave it at nine. Regardless of the project and the influences on pricing, I always quote on a fixed price project basis and never change the terms once the project has started. While it’s always a bonus to get a deal on a project, I believe the most important thing when it comes to pricing is transparency. When everyone knows the budget for a project from the onset, the whole thing runs smoother.

When do you give discounts? When do you expect to get them?