Lowering Fees is NOT the Answer

May 31, 2017

No one likes it when clients complain about fees. However, it does happen. And when it does, do you have a strategy for steering the conversation to a successful conclusion?

First off, you want to handle those situations immediately. Ideally, you’re diligent about logging your hours so when the client has a question you can turn to the support documentation to review the amount of work performed.

There’s frequently a temptation to just lower your fees when a client expresses dismay at the costs incurred. After all, you just want to finish the job and make the client happy. Surely you reason, “If I lower my fees, the client will understand that this job isn’t about money for me. I really want to do exceptional work and make the clients happy. This sacrifice on my part (lowering fees) is bound to earn me some extra brownie points.

Unfortunately, giving in to the demand to lower fees, even once, virtually ensures you will be challenged with each new bill. You are literally teaching your customer that your fees are negotiable, so you can hardly blame them for concluding that:

  1. you make so much money you don’t mind taking some hours off,
  2. the hours are heavily padded anyway, and
  3. you’re a pushover.

Reducing your fees for one client might be acceptable (might!) but multiply this conflict (and your solution) over two, three or more projects and suddenly you are throwing away well-earned money, month after month, year after year. Not only do you deserve that money (you’ve earned it), often, you need that money. You have bills and commitments.

Lowering your fees is never the solution. Instead, document your time/expertise thoroughly and send those log sheets to clients with each invoice. Unless there is a legitimate concern that a task is inefficient or ineffective, hold firm to your fees.