Perhaps it’s the state of the economy, or perhaps it’s just in the blood of small business owners in general, but… I’m starting to wonder if the only thing small companies care about is getting the job done as cheaply as possible.
Small and solo biz prospects regularly approach me with the demand for a “very reasonable price” (read: cheap), “some kind of special deal” (read: very cheap), or a “significant discount” (read: very, very cheap). You know—because they’ve shaken my hand at a networking event once before and, therefore, feel entitled to a Friend and Family Discount or something.
This got me wondering: should freelance copywriters offer special deals or discounts to their clients? And, if so, when and how?
For a short while, I offered a 10% discount to new clients on their first project, but, after crunching the numbers, I realized that I was actually losing money. And to make matters worse, some PITA (pain-in-the-ass) clients got too used to the idea of getting 10% off, so they demanded it on every subsequent project—even though I explained to them that it was a one-time offer, only.
Then I started thinking about it some more. Other professionals who offer professional services and charge professional rates offer their clients reduced rates on occasion.
My husband, for example, who’s a corporate attorney at large law firm, told me that even lawyers—yes, the ones who charge hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars per hour for their work—give discounted rates to select clients from time to time. (Granted, the discount may only be something like 1.5%, but it’s still a discount!)
My CPA, for another example, charges $100/hour. Yet, even she offers $20 coupons to her clients whenever they refer a new client to her.
And then there’s my mechanic (a swell guy, really). He once charged me all of $0.00 to find and fix a problem that had been puzzling us both for weeks. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve kept going back to him for whatever service my car needs. His kindness cemented my feet in the repeat customer club.
So, I wonder: if all of these professionals offer special discounts and rates to their clients from time to time, would it be worth my while to do the same for mine? And if so, why? And how? Or, would that be setting up a bad precedent and lead to the further devaluation of a copywriter’s skills?
I’d love to hear input from both writers and non-writers. Please share your thoughts below!