One of the first things you learn as a freelance web designer is that everybody wants a deal. It happens with both new and existing clients. You’ll receive plenty of requests for discounted pricing. They must think that web designers are akin to a used car lot.
Haggling over price is as old as commerce itself. But we still need to make a living. Thus, if we provided a discount every time one was requested, we’d go broke.
That’s why full price should be the norm for most clients. Doing things this way has several benefits.
For one, it keeps your bank account in good shape. Plus, it helps you predict future revenue and serves as a motivator. A case can also be made that it reduces stress. You’ll avoid becoming desperate for that next project to come along.
Still, that doesn’t mean discounts are never a good move. There are scenarios where it might make sense for your business. Here are a few times when a discount should be on the table.
Charity Website Projects
Many businesses offer discounts to non-profit organizations. For example, everyone from internet providers to banks provides money-saving deals. Some see it as a moral obligation. Others may look at it as a chance to gain some positive publicity.
For web designers, especially solo entrepreneurs, it can be more complicated. We don’t have the financial resources of bigger companies. Deep discounts can disrupt our revenue stream.
There is room for compromise, however. Perhaps discounts could be reserved for causes that are close to your heart. A local charity with a tight budget is a prime example. A food bank, a homeless shelter, or an animal rescue are possibilities.
In those cases, you might find building a website to be a true labor of love. As such, money shouldn’t be the main object.
It is important to be judicious about who receives discounts, however. You don’t want to get into a situation where you’re putting in hours of work without fair compensation.
Loyal Clients Looking for a Website Redesign
These folks help to keep your business going. Because of that, they deserve a special place on your client list. They are VIPs.
Providing a small discount on a website redesign is both good business and a way of saying “thank you.” If they’ve generated substantial revenue, any amount you can knock off the price is worth it.
This helps to continue building goodwill in your relationship. In turn, you’ll know that you can count on their continued patronage. And they’ll be happy to spread the word about your business.
During Tough Times
Inevitably, one of your clients will go through a difficult time. It could be part of a widespread crisis such as a pandemic. Or maybe something localized like a fire or bankruptcy.
Regardless, this might be an appropriate time to provide a discount. Again, it’s about helping to strengthen your relationship. This demonstrates that you have your client’s back.
There’s also some practicality involved. If you charge recurring fees for maintenance packages or web hosting, it may be difficult for your client to pay. Providing a discount or splitting up payments might make the ultimate difference in whether you get paid.
Not sure what to do? It may depend on your experience with a particular client. If they’re generally on time with payment and great to work with, this makes the decision easier.
When NOT to Discount Your Web Design Services
The scenarios above are the exception. Plenty of people will ask you for discounts. It’s usually better to say “no.”
Prospective clients are shopping around for the best deal. That’s their prerogative. But web designers will not benefit from a pricing war. It’s a race to the bottom that will leave you with regret.
Some proclaim that providing a discount now carries the promise of “more work” later. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book – don’t give in. Unless future revenue is guaranteed in writing, you’re unlikely to ever see those brighter days.
Existing clients are a bit more complex. As we mentioned earlier, it’s fine to provide discounts to your VIPs. They’ve more than made up for whatever deal you offer.
But some people simply don’t want to pay for anything. And they expect others to bend to their demands.
It can be a sign of a one-way relationship. One where your experience and expertise aren’t valued. It might be better to see them walk away in an angry heap than to feed their ego.
It’s Your Business, Your Decision
The lesson here is simple: just because someone asks for a discount doesn’t mean they should receive one. You might even make the case that the opposite is true.
Some people do deserve a break, though. For example, non-profit organizations and loyal clients. Their actions may move you to offer lower pricing without being asked.
It’s your web design business. Therefore, you get to make those decisions. Choose wisely!