Jack Busch’s thoughtful comment to my post on Negotiating Rates: Overcoming the Price Objection led me to think about freelancers and rates and why we do the negotiation dance. A couple of things came to mind.
We’re Still in the Employer-Employee Mindset
When someone is interviewing for a job, part of the hiring process includes a discussion about the salary range the candidate is looking for. The question may come up during the interview process and the job seeker wants to make sure that the range they are looking for fits with what the employer is willing to pay for the position. If it doesn’t come up at the interview, the question of negotiating a compensation package will need to be dealt with when the employer is ready to make an offer of employment.
Freelancers are not employees, though. They work “with” clients, not “for” them. The type of negotiating that takes place when looking for a job may not be appropriate for freelancers.
Other Professionals Don’t Negotiate Rates
If you go to see a lawyer or an accountant for professional services, they don’t quote you a fee and then offer to negotiate it. Neither does your hair stylist or manicurist, or the person who comes over to fix your refrigerator or toilet. We don’t go into the grocery store to buy something and offer to pay less at the cash, so why do freelance writers give prospective clients an opening to change rates?
Alternatives to Negotiating Rates
Since freelancers are business owners, maybe we need to start thinking about the rates we charge from that point of view. Rather than negotiating rates for our services, perhaps freelancers should consider offering discounts at certain times of the year or special offers for new clients. Preferred rates for bulk orders or clients who refer other people to the freelancer are other possibilities.
Do you regularly negotiate rates or do you quote a set fee and stick to it? Have you tried alternatives to negotiating rates? If so, what has your experience been like?