As a designer it’s not always easy to stand up for yourself… clients often have demanding requests, tight budgets and due to one reason or another, designers will succumb to taking on labour heavy jobs at heavily discounted rates. This does not have to be.
In this article I will show you how I personally ‘stand up’ for my rates and how I ‘sell’ the value of my design services, which in the end, means a better result for the client and a much more pleasant overall experience for the designer. Below you will find the original transcripts of a conversation between a recent client and myself. By providing this transcript, I hope to provide an example of just one way to stand up & sell yourself as a designer.
It’s also interesting (for me at least) to see how others run their business and seeing an email conversation between a client & designer is a rare insight.
I hope you are well. I appreciate you responding to me post vacation for you.
I was actually all set and had contracted two separate entities to create a logo, letterhead, etc. for the new direction of the business, at the start of the New Year. However, I have been disappointed and have decided not to use the designs.Therefore, I am looking for a design team – but now have a limited budget after paying these past two firms.
Are you able to do a logo design, with the end result of my business having 4 total variations to use? Also looking for letterhead and business card design. I like things super simple, classic. Clean. Nothing too graphicy or colorful. I am looking at a price at $X,XXX range.
Are you willing to take me on?
Thank you again for getting back to me.
Sorry to hear about your misfortune with the other agencies though unfortunately my price range will be above your budget of $XXXX (more in the range of $XXXX) for the logo design and stationery. I also have other client commitments for the next 2-3 weeks so unfortunately I won’t be able to start until then if you decide to go with me.
If you were having any hesitations about hiring myself as a designer here are some things to put you at peace of mind ensuring your investment goes into the right hands…
- My clients come from all different backgrounds – if you notice my portfolio, nearly every logo design is from a different industry… this shows that I adapt my skills, research and process around the client’s needs and industry in a successful and effective manner. I adapt any design brief and ask questions until the real need of the business is discovered.
- Understanding my clients background and and business is part of my thorough research process. You can read my design process in full here. This underlying process, as linked, ensures that every client gets what their business needs.
- I have had plenty of positive feedback from a large array of clients showing how I adjust and adapt my skills for each project. Read some of my many testimonials here.
- I have received numerous awards for my work in logo design and my work appears in design related books world wide. You can read more on my awards on my about page.
- If for some reason you are unsatisfied with my work you may still leave without paying the final 50% of the project.
As mentioned before, if you have any further questions, please do ask. I guarantee you will not be disappointed with my work.
Thanks, I hope I have the pleasure of working for you and XX, it sounds like an exciting project!
Hear from you soon.
I have no hesitation on working with you. You were my first choice. I love your website, I love your designs. There is no questioning that. I have just spent all of my budget on this already. It was hard to free up an additional $XXXX. I can try for $XXXX but it will be hard. If I can get my accountant to free up $XXXX, are you able to work with this?
You going on vacation, killed me! Haha. But I understand. This has been a nightmare process for me. I have business cards and letterhead that is about to be thrown away – very frustrating.
Let me know your thoughts.
Thanks for your kind words and good to hear you wish to work with me. I do understand your situation with your prior designers, and can feel for you there, however unfortunately as I do not lower the quality of my work, I can not lower my prices, even for situations such as yours.
As much as I would like to work on your project, I can only justify the prices as specified previously. If you wish to go ahead with the work, let me know and I will put together a formal proposal and send over my agreement. Let me know XX. Thanks for your time.
Thanks for speaking me about this. I am going to get with my people and see if they will free up the cash for this. You are definitely the man for the job.
Client: (2 Hours Later)
I wanted to write and let you know that I understand and respect your firm price with $XXXX. Quality of work is important as is price value. I hope to have this cleared by this week and or look at alternative methods to secure you.
It was really funny. I was just chatting with my cousin, who is a web developer in LA and I was chatting about you. I was showing him your stuff and we stopped at the Vero logo. XX, my cousin, pulled up an article that you had written. He had remembered that logo and that piece you wrote. He is a fan of your work and said that I really need to make this work. I am pretty excited and doing everything I can with the finances to make it work.
Thank you for your correspondence. My business is so important to me and the new brand direction may identify my group initially, but I hope it helps define my quality in work over the following years. Thanks again.
To cut the story short, in the end the client did work out some more funds (the original “budget” was literally doubled) and eventually signed on for the project. I had stood up for my rates and it had paid off.
Although there are many ways to handle low client “budgets”, I’ve found being upfront and honest to yourself and your client is the best way to deal with it. You may not get the job in all cases but I can guarantee you that in the long term, you will definitely come out on top. You will have higher morale, have longer to work on projects, thus producing higher quality work and overall, have a much steadier income to work with. What do you think? Do you or would you have handled things differently?
Further resources on how to work with clients
- How to get your clients to say ‘yes’ to your designs
- How to talk to non tech savvy clients
- How to design for men and women
Red Light District Photo by Alex Piechta.