A: Hi Lori, and many thanks for addressing what seems to be a sign of the times for so many. These clients may be using the economy as a reason for requesting the discount, but it can feel like a convenient excuse to avoid paying you what you’re worth. As you’re an experienced designer, I caution against offering a discount on your design services. I recommend an approach where you’re adding additional value by enhancing the services you provide, rather than devaluing your existing services by discounting.
Here are a few examples:
- Offer an incentive for clients who take action right away (e.g. clients who purchase your “Getting Started” design package during an initial phone consultation).
- Incentivize clients who take you up on a new design service package or product.
- Offer complementary services and/or products at a preferred-client rate (e.g. de-cluttering services from your favorite professional organizer, free candles supplied by a local artisan).
- Include desirable, add-on products or services (e.g. brag books -in print or online – your clients can share with family and friends).
- Offer payment plans (e.g. clients can make a one-time payment of $300, or three easy payments of $115).
- Develop a premium-level client category and offer premium benefits (e.g. designer on-call services by telephone or email, members-only newsletter, monthly webinars).
- Package your services and products with items that are of no or little cost to you but result in an overall greater perceived value (e.g. gift baskets with furniture care products to accompany all purchases of case goods).
The question of handling requests for discounts often comes back to this question of you as a design business owner: How comfortable are you with your fee structure? If you’re confident, if you know the value you add, the solutions you provide and the results you deliver, it’s much easier to handle these requests, be firm with your rates and demonstrate that value to potential clients.
Here’s to living an inspired & creative life,
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