I submitted my quote–through my photographer—who called me later that day to ask what I could do for ‘half my quoted price?’. The client had informed her, “We understand that we won’t get the ‘high-end’ look of the website we showed you because our budget has been reduced”.
In other words, would I then do the job halfway because their ‘budget’ was cut? My response to that was, “I can do half the job, pick a day (it was a two day shoot)”.
My look is my look, and my name goes on it when it’s finished. I don’t even know what less than ‘my best’ would look like because I can’t imagine doing any project that way.
I told my photographer it would be better if I spoke to the client myself to establish value.
The next day I called the client directly and said “The only thing that’s missing here is a conversation to establish my value; what it is that I provide and what it takes for me to give you the ‘look’ you want. After this conversation, you can decide what you’d like to do and I’m completely not attached to the outcome”. He said, fine.
We had a great conversation and he agreed to my original quote.
After the project was completed, I submitted my invoice (which was exactly what we had discussed). Later that morning I received an email from my client asking if I would ‘shave $300 off my invoice’ so that it would be more in-line with his ‘budget’. I declined and he paid the bill.
Why am I telling you this story? It perfectly illustrates this video (below), which has already made the rounds in the blogosphere but if you haven’t seen it, here it is:
Providing an intangible service is much harder than selling a product that you can touch and feel. You know what you are getting, it’s simple. A gallon of paint is what it is.
Services are different and in my 20’s I used to listen to sales tapes in my car and I’ll always remember this lesson: “The value of services always declines after the services have been performed.”
Which means as designers providing a service, our clients need to know in advance exactly what they are paying for or what the fee for the service is.
I have certainly made this mistake many times in the past (like I’ve said in this post, it would be way easier to have an agent to ask for the money) and have spoken to designers and students over the years and heard their stories of righteous indignation when they presented a bill to a client and they did not want to pay it. However, 99% of the time that conversation was probably missing from the very beginning (it certainly was for me when I encountered the same situation).
So the point of my story is this:
If you are a design blogger, don’t complain about your clients on your blog (I’m sure no one reading this post does). Write each post as if your perfect and favourite client was reading it. No one wants to hire someone that complains about the way their last job went down on their blog. It speaks to your professionalism, your ability to be responsible for how you contributed to the break-down as well as your ability to handle an uncomfortable conversation.
If you are a designer, your blog is an extension of your website (for some it is your website), and we spend way too much time blogging in the first place only to alienate a potential client. Your blog should be like a design magazine, a place to get inspiration! That’s what keeps potential clients and readers coming back for more!
I’m off to New York for the weekend my lovelies! If I see something inspiring I’ll post it!
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