5 pricing negotiation tactics for freelancers to get fair pay

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Ever come across a job post on the Internet seeking a freelancing gig, but it doesn’t have a price range? Here’s the 5 pricing negotiation tactics to deal with this to get a fair deal.

  1. 5 golden rules of negotiating
  2. Clarify the scope of the project
  3. What’s your minimum for the project
  4. Focus on the results, not the process
  5. Get room

Pricing negotiation is not all about the freelancer getting everything their way, nor is it about the client taking everything for themselves. It’s a negotiation and should be approached like that. In the art of negotiating with a client you both have your own viewpoints. Then you meet somewhere in the middle until you reach a position where both freelancer and the client are happy.

76% of freelancers who ask for a higher rate are actually viewed no differently and never viewed negatively. So there is no reason why you shouldn’t be negotiating for a higher rate of pay. Use the 5 pricing negotiation tactics in this blog so you can negotiate effectively when you next pitch a client.

pricing negotiation

A shocking 54% of freelancers say that it’s taking them far too long to get paid. Don’t become one of these freelancers who are struggling. Whilst your pitching a client use pricing negotiations as a time to state your boundaries and expectations as to when you’re going to be paid. Without making this clear from the start then the client can leave you hanging around waiting for payment.

5 golden rules of negotiating

Golden rules of negotiating are firstly the most important rules you need when negotiating with a client for your freelancing business. Whether you’re negotiating with a client from a job board or from cold pitching them via email take these 5 golden rules into consideration.

Use your ears

Ever been told you’ve got 1 mouth and 2 ears for a reason? Well there’s some truth in this, you nee to learn to use it in this ratio and listen twice as much as you speak.

By listening to the client more than what you speak, you can hear what the client is truly wanting from the freelancer and the end goal that they’re desiring.

Walk away

Show me a freelancer who’s won at every negotiation with a client. Can’t? That’s because thinking you can win at every negotiation with a client is trying to achieve the impossible.

There are so many different factors to consider when negotiating with a client. Whilst you’re trying to negotiate, you’ll come across the different factors. This discovery will then show you just need to walk away from the negotiation as it becomes clear the client is not the right fit for your freelancing business.

Shift the focus

If you or the client is staying focused on the price, then nothing will be negotiated. To get negotiations moving, shift the focus.

When you shift the focus away from the pricing, you can focus on what the client really cares about. As what any client really cares about is the results the freelancer can deliver. After you’ve moved the shift from pricing to results, you’ll be able to close the deal a lot easier.

It’s not personal, it’s business

All the time whilst freelancing we need to remember that it’s not personal, it’s just business. When we get stuck thinking that anything does not go right, it’s a personal attack we get stuck in a negative mindset. Negative mindsets are bad for our health and our freelance business as it stops us from growing and flourishing.

So to stop you from getting trapped in this negative mindset, remember all communication between you and the client is just business and never personal. Focus on the negotiation at hand, listen to what the client is saying and learn how you can change any objections.

Research, research, research

Whilst you were at school, college, or university you were told to always do your research. Research everything and anything so you’re always prepared.

Researching the client you learn what their

  • Pain points are
  • Competitors are doing
  • Options the client has
  • What’s going on in the industry the client is in

Honestly, the better prepared you are the more you can understand the client and present a better offer to the client that fulfills their needs.

Whilst in the midst of a pricing negotiation with your client it’s better to listen to the client more than what you say to them. Plus, whilst negotiating with the client you need to do your research on the clients business so you can give an offer that best fits their needs and gives the results that they desire the most.

Clarify the scope of the project

Ever read a job post on a job board and it was just a rather vague request such as ‘wanting a social media assistant to post 5 times a day to my Instagram account’? All these vague requests are everywhere on job boards and you should not be doing any pricing negotiation until you’ve clarified the scope of the project.

Before you ask for clarification, create an initial proposal for the project that’s been given. But here’s the key, make this initial proposal intriguing for the client to pay attention to. At the end of the proposal, add a call to action where you invite the client to discuss the project further.

It’s important to get clarification in the project at hand so both you and the client understand

  • What needs to be done
  • Time scale that needs to be allowed
  • End result that the client is expecting

Always manage your clients expectations during a pricing negotiation so that they don’t go back to you later and say you overcharged them. Therefore, you always need to remember that it’s better to under promise and over deliver.

Clarifying the scope of the project ultimately doesn’t just protect the client but it protects you the freelancer. So get it down in writing and not just a verbal agreement. Verbal agreements mean nothing if there’s a dispute about the work that’s been done.

What’s your minimum for the project

Yes, what’s your minimum that you’ll work on a project for. Your aloud to give yourself boundaries. Without boundaries as to what price you’ll work for, you’ll end up in a position where you find yourself in the race to the bottom.

The race to the bottom involves freelancers offering to do any task for as little money as possible. It’s how you end up with freelancers offering to write 2000 words of copy for only $10. In the UK, that equates to practically no money for a lot of work.

Whereas in India that $10 may be worth so much more for them. So you have to set your limits as to the lowest amount you’ll work on a project for. Therefore, you need to calculate your lowest rate first, then the ideal amount for the work involved, and the top-level which is more about the results you’re giving clients.

If you’re struggling to work out what you should be charging for a project, here’s how to calculate your rates so that you’re protecting your boundaries and stop working for peanuts.

Focus on the results, not the process

If you’ve noticed there’s a theme running through how to negotiate pricing, you need to focus on the results and not the process. So what does that mean in reality?

When you’re pitching a client, the client cares about one thing and one thing only, the results. If you’re a freelancer specializing in SEO and the client is wanting someone who can increase their backlink portfolio. The client is not requesting you telling them the exact process you have in getting backlinks for their website.

What the client truly cares about is

  • Quality of the backlinks
  • Safety of the backlinks (so they don’t find themselves penalized by Google)
  • Will it increase the websites position on Google search results

Speak to the client about the results and paint a real picture of it. Use social proof/testimonials/portfolio if you’ve got such evidence to back up your claims. Backing up claims with a portfolio of some description is far more powerful than just saying you can do it. Provide a portfolio and further your conversation with the client to get into more specifics about their business and close the deal.

Get room

You need room in a pricing negotiation so you can both meet at a place where you’re both comfortable with the work to be done and the price. Needing room to negotiate with a client is another reason why you need to calculate first your low rate, ideal rate, and the top rates for the service that you’re providing.

With having your baseline of what rates you’re comfortable with, you know how low you can go before you need to walk away. Walking away from a client can be hard to do, but if the client won’t even pay for your lowest rate then they are clearly not a fit for you and you need to find clients who are a great fit for your freelancing business.

In A Nutshell,

Remember talking about money and prices is hard. Even now, I find myself struggling when talking with a new client and they ask what my rates are. There is something in our nature to just feel uncomfortable talking about money or even asking for money.

But remember freelancing is a business (not a hobby) and a business needs money to grow. So use the 5 pricing negotiations when you’re next pitching a client. In the meantime, remember to download the checklist to start a freelancing business and get clients in 30 days.

Checklist to start freelancing and get clients in 30 days

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