May I vent? A client recently contacted me and asked for a substantial change to his site (launched 3 years ago). I told him it would take about 2 hours and asked for an OK on that, because I don’t like to surprise clients with big invoices if they assume it’s a 5-minute task.
His response: “Go ahead and do it, but only if you agree that I can pay you for just half of it.”
I asked whether he would agree to it, if a client walked into his store and wanted to buy an item, but only for half-price. And his next response: “Well, I didn’t ask you to do it for free.” As if asking for a 50% discount was perfectly fine, compared to that. And this is a client that I usually have to chase for payment, so he’s not exactly on my A-list.
In some very specific circumstances, asking for a discount might make sense. Here are a few I can think of:
- You’re a non-profit organization with a very limited budget, and think I might be willing to volunteer part of my time.
- You’re a very long-term, well-behaved (no, wait, make that exceptionally well-behaved) client who consistently asks for a lot of billable work, and you pay your bills on time.
- You’re someone that I frequently purchase from (or in some way come to you for services), and you would like to suggest some possible trade or barter situation.
Needless to say, this client did not fit into any of those circumstances. The end result was that I was unwilling to do the work for half-price, and he was unwilling to pay for it. So no work was done. Might be time to start writing his layoff notice…