Sunday, January 18, 2009

And That is a Big But

I was recently in negotiations with a client for a large number of Web content articles. I had written a handful for him before and he was interested in hiring one of several writers who had written for him before to handle a much larger project. After much back-and-forth negotiation (including on Christmas Day), the answer came that he was choosing someone else. Why? Well, the answer comes down to the "but" that shouldn't have been.

In the end, this client, like many others out there, made their decision based on the price per article rather than what he wanted to market, how it could be marketed and the potential readership of the resulting articles. In other words, he cheaped out. I was told that I was the best of all the writers he was considering, but that I was also the highest priced so he couldn't hire me for the project. Did you see the but? Let's examine the but.

If you really think about it, the but is the problem with a lot of clients. It should never have been a but- it should have been an and. I was the best of the writers in the running and I charged the highest price. You get what you pay for, though many clients still don't realize it. They still think that a virtual product is different from a physical one or that the laws of business don't apply to Web businesses. Both of these myths couldn't be more wrong.

If someone is fairly good, expect them to charge more than people who aren't. If you want a plumber who will take his shoes off and won't call you "sweetie," expect to pay more. If you want someone to write your content who has a degree as well as experience in corporate communications, print news writing and Web writing and marketing, expect to pay a little more than someone dabbling in writing to pay off their credit card. And don't ever but me again.


Russell said...


On a slightly similar line, this might possibly interest you ...

L. Shepherd said...

I work a lot more with flat rates than trying to gauge the right price for each client. Maybe I should do that? I don't know. I actually charge less than a lot of people that I know, but that keeps work steady rather than a feast or famine freelancing saga.