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Do this before asking the client for a budget

As a freelancer, I've learned the hard way that one of the most difficult aspects of working with a new client is discussing the project's budget.

Alex Dovhyi
Alex Dovhyi
3 min read
Do this before asking the client for a budget

It's a delicate subject that has the potential to make or break the deal.

But, over time, I've developed a strategy that has helped me navigate this difficult conversation. Here are 5 tips that helped me grow from a $20 per hour freelancer to a $500 per hour consultant.

Get to know the clients' business

Before you even tell the price to the client, you should study his business from the customers and market point of view.

  • Who are the customers of the product or service your client provides?
  • How much do they pay to use the product or service?
  • What problems and pain points does the product or services cover?

When you have this data on your hands - you'll be able to move to the next step, which is...

Show the value of your work for his business

We all love fancy designs, how clean and minimalistic they look, and all the tiny and shiny animations of the interfaces.

But designers often forget about the primary goal of the design - to help the business grow.

Design is just one of the tools that companies use to create better customer experiences, provide clarity of information, and all other benefits.

But in the end, the goal is the same — make customers spend more money with the product or service they already use.

Once you've explained everything I said above to your client and you're sure he understands this — you can show what the value of your work can be.

Explain to the client how engagement rate will improve the business health, how the easier-to-use navigation will help lower bounce rate, and how the clear and prominent call-to-action will increase the conversion from visitor to customer.

And if you don't know what all of that means — the next point is especially for you.

Talk numbers

If your client is a business owner, he understands the only business language – numbers.

He doesn't care about the customer experience until it's represented with numbers.

Be prepared and learn those numbers before meeting with a client. Learn about conversions, product lines, marketing funnels and how they work, the bounce rate, and the A/B testing.

With this, you'll be able to explain the value of the work you do in the client's native language.

Learn the cost, the price, and the value

Cost is the amount incurred on the inputs (raw materials, salaries, rent, interest, taxes, duties, etc.) for producing any product or service. It's the amount of money spent by the company to manufacture a product or create a service.

"Price is what you pay; value is what you get." — Warren Buffet.

Price is the amount of money paid by the buyer to the seller in exchange for any product or service. The seller determines the price, which includes cost and the profit margin.

Value is the usefulness of any product or service to a customer. It can never be determined in terms of money and varies from customer to customer.

Let the client say the price

When you're able to explain the value of your work to the client, the next thing to do is to figure out how he thinks this value will be translated into business profit.

Your value will be improving the conversion rate of the landing page by 20% from the current level.

"When the value exceeds the price, people buy." — Grand Cardon.

Ask a client how much money that will be for them?

Let's say they have a 12% conversion rate. 20% of that will be 2.4% which will be around $10000 in revenue. So when you do your work and the conversion rate improves, the company will start making $10k per month more.

Based on those numbers, you can determine the price for the value. Ask a client if it's a good deal to invest $10k once to improve the conversion rate, bringing $10k to the company each month?

If he's not stupid, he'll say YES!

"When you tell the price – you sell. When the client tells the price – you close." — Chris Do

Alex Dovhyi Twitter

Product designer giving unsolicited advice on design, freelancing, career and personal growth.


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