Give it away for free or charge full price, but don’t discount your fees

Here is a principle that follows from the last blog post:

Never discount your fees. Do something for free, or at full price, but don’t discount. If you discount, your “discount” will become permanent as you instantly lower the bar for your clients. Now they will expect your discounted fees since they have become a “loyal client.”

If a client doesn’t have the budget for you, then reframe the project, phase it out, or ask them which part is least important to them. But don’t discount.

Be strong. Stick to your fees. Then be flexible on things like payment terms and project structure.

For small projects, as the last entry demonstrated, it can be an excellent idea to give away some work for free (especially, and perhaps only, for a long-term loyal and good client). That way, they know it is a favor. In contrast, clients don’t perceive a “discount” to be a favor. If anything, they wonder how much money they left on the table by failing to negotiate harder with you before.

Discounts bad.