"It's Just a Small Job"... Beware Of Clients Price Conditioning YOU!
which in simple terms means raising the price EXPECTATION of your
However, as a freelancer you should always be aware that it works both
ways - clients often attempt to price condition YOU!
For example, one of my clients runs a small auto welding business, and his
potential customers often start their request for a quote with something like, "It's just a small job".
To be fair, from their point of view it often LOOKS like a small job... just a
small hole in the metal... surely it just requires a quick bit of welding?
Unfortunately, the small hole is usually the result of a massive amount of
rust and corrosion hiding behind the paintwork.
The hole is a symptom of a bigger problem behind the scenes.
The truth is, your client's "small job" may not be so small after all, but
there are two important reasons why they might say this:
(1) They don't fully know what's involved:
They are not experts. With my client's welding business, they see it as
"just a small hole", but it's not. Filling in the hole isn't good enough,
because the corrosion around the hole will get worse.
(2) They are trying to price condition you:
Let's face it, some freelancers might feel a little intimated when they're
told, "It's just a small job". They think: "The client clearly expects a SMALL
PRICE, as well."
So they might feel compelled to charge lower than they would do
This is price conditioning in reverse. The client is price conditioning YOU,
and setting a subtle expectation that they expect a "small price", because
it's a "small job".
So how do you deal with clients who do this to you?
The solution is simply to spell out what's involved, and the time/effort
For example, writing a sales letter for someone isn't just about writing, is
it? You have to research the product. You have to research the market.
You have to spend some time thinking about how best to pitch the product.
You have to think up the unique selling propositions.
And that's before you even start writing!
So you should make sure your client fully understands what's involved,
before you tell them your price.
Break it down for them, and spell it out... and don't be intimidated by the
phrase, "It's just a small job".
Maybe it turns out that what your client wants IS a small job - that's great.
However, YOU are the expert... which is why they're approaching YOU in
the first place. Only YOU are in a position to determine the true size of the
But if you want to get paid for something that turns out to be a bigger job,
make sure your clients know in advance what's involved.
I hope that helps someone Any other tips, folks?
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