Does it ever make sense to discount your price?

In my previous post, I talked about the pitfalls of discounting your price because you’re new. I talked about the emotions that may be involved, and how the Triple Constraint framework can help you keepyour thoughts straight.

Now I’m going to talk about two instances where you could be more flexible in your pricing.

Clients who will grow with you

Recently, I quoted a price for an indexing job for a university press, and when I didn’t hear back by the next day, I followed up. It turns out the author had been really busy, but she also told me that the two other bidders both offered to do the work for half what I quoted.

I mentioned this to my network and I got some comments that was very insightful.

One colleague (and I’m guessing he was one of the bidders) pointed out that students and postdocs don’t have the budgets for their writing that the more senior professors have.

And another colleague added that she has clients that were starting out at the same time as she was in their careers, and they have grown together over the years. She was indicating that if you can bend your pricing to serve a client that has the potential to grow with you, you can gain a life-long profitable client.

Whether you charge by the hour or you fix-price your projects, it’s worth considering your client’s situation and the potential for them to become a profitable lifetime client. Depending on the kind of work you do, that could be a strategic move for you.

Clients who help you grow

I was helping an entrepreneur in my network launch a product. I wrote her Facebook ad and the landing page, but she also needed someone to handle the technical implementation. This went beyond my skills but I was interested in learning, so I offered to do it. The catch was that it was going to take extra time. In fact I couldn’t even put a deadline on it because of the learning curve involved. Nevertheless, I was going to do my best. She was fine with that, and I charged very little for my time.

It worked for me because I learned something hands-on that I was already interested in and it added a new skill to my toolbox.

Strategic pricing

As freelancers, we’re used to thinking about our pricing as it compares to industry standards and demand.

But as I’ve shown you, there are times when you can strategically underbid, because riches may follow.

Are you ready to take a closer look at your prospect’s circumstances the next time you have an opportunity to bid? Would you make a concession if it let you grow your skills or grow new clients alongside you?

These are some questions you can think about the next time you set your price to win.