First and foremost, we’d simply like to say that this is not an etiquette guide. If you’re looking for the “proper” way to haggle with a client over the price of a new design, you’re in the wrong place. IT is best to keep in mind that you have your needs, as do the clients, and typically there are already a few numbers floating around. If you can get at those numbers quickly, and without much face, we guarantee the client will like you even more for it. With that in mind, may we present below our fully functional and work-ready guide to haggling with a client over a contract or design pricing agreement.

  1. Ask for Their Budget: Depending on the project you’re being faced with, you may or may not want to simply ask the client what kind of budget they’re willing to work with. This is most effective when you’re creating a rebranding for a client, or perhaps have more than one project on the table. You want to get a feel for exactly how much work the client is willing to pay for, as well as how much you stand to make from it. With that in mind, the most direct way to discover the vitals is to simply ask for the budget. If the number is to your liking, move on to talk about the specific prices of each individual project. If not, ask how they’d like to scale down: Don’t ever short-change yourself, as working for less than you’re worth is demoralizing and immoral.
  2. Let Them Drop First: When haggling over the specific price of a known project, always try to have the client speak first. The age old rule in bartering is that the person who speaks first loses the most. This works because once a number is out, it cannot be retracted, only knocked down. With that in mind, always ask the client what number they’re thinking. If it’s too high, you’ve lucked out: Take it and run. If it’s too low, tell them what you were thinking instead.
  3. Judge Reactions Well: Lastly, simply watch the client, or listen to the tone of their voice. If you drop a number, and they don’t respond favorably, you’re likely way out of their target budget. Work with this, and shoot for a more respectable figure.