As a creative, I’m sure you have friends asking for your services – but they’d like to get a massive discount. Josh Enobakhare (aka Olufemii Tutorials) discusses this problem and offers some tips how to deal with this without offending anyone or undermining the value of your work.
Josh says his video is aimed mainly at those who offer expensive and large-scale services. However, from my experience, people will often ask for a discount no matter what you charge – so this video can be useful to everyone, really.
To make it clear, these tips aren’t for those situations when people ask you to do stuff for free. In those cases, the answer’s a simple “no” (with some exceptions). This is to help you avoid those awkward situations when people are willing to pay – but they’re ready to pay only a part of your price.
1. Don’t take it personally
First and the foremost, don’t take situations like this personally. Remember that these people “come from a place of ignorance, not a place of malice.” So, always answer with grace.
2. Post your prices
Make sure to be transparent about your prices and post them on your website and social media. Josh points out many people are hiding how much their charge, and I’ve noticed the same thing. But, the transparency will save you so much time and so many awkward situations. This way, people won’t assume how much you charge (and make the assumptions based on their budget).
3. Assume until you know
Even if you suspect that the potential client/friend doesn’t have the budget, negotiate like they do until you’re sure. This way you’ll avoid misunderstanding and the awkward situation of assuming the lack of funds.
4. Get to the price
It’s normal that the client wants to talk more about the project itself instead of the “boring details” such as the price. But, to save time and effort for both of you, always try to bring up the price as soon as it becomes appropriate. Don’t let them go to great lengths about the project without bringing up the topic of the budget.
5. Respond with grace, firmness and confidence
If you don’t want to offer the discount, be graceful and respectful in your answer. But, still be confident and firm. This way, you won’t offend your friend, and they will respect you for being honest and confident about it.
6.Educate the client
Keep in mind that people who don’t do your job don’t know how big the expenses are. So, don’t be afraid to break down the price. When you do it, it will start to seem more reasonable and justified to the clients.
Although situations like this can wear you out, remember that it’s not cool to flip out on people (no matter how tempting it may be at the given moment). Be kind and patient, educate your potential clients, but stay firm and confident.
As for my experience, I must say I have given a discount to very close friends, although it was mainly when they needed English lessons (I used to teach English for a living). When it comes to photography, I’ve been through the whole range, from charging full price, to even doing stuff for free. I am not making a living from photography; it’s writing that brings home the bacon. But even if I did earn mainly from photography, I believe I’d still give my close friends a certain discount. What about you? Do you give your friends a discount? And if you don’t, how do you deal with the situations when they ask for it?