Do you get fearful when you need to quote your design fee because it seems like a crazy big number? Are you afraid to say it out loud?
So you “chicken out” and tell them it will be $125.00 an hour because that sounds like less. Especially since you know deep down you won’t charge all the time it actually takes to do the job.
Do you find yourself in a panic when you are presenting a project that is way more expensive than you have ever done before? Like $100,000 more?
Do you hear a little voice saying: “I wouldn’t pay her that much.”
Don’t worry, you are not alone in this feeling. It is a very common situation that we all deal with. Most pricing panic issues can be traced back to our family money histories. The majority of designers that I coach came from middle class families where they were often praised and lauded for creating a great “look” for next to nothing.
Economy designing is indeed a talent for your own home, but causes big problems in real world design jobs.
One, it is often not what your upscale client is asking for.
Two, if you try and do it “on the cheap” it takes so much of your billable design time to make it work, it is no longer a bargain for the client anymore.
What is happening here is that you are not putting value on your own precious time, and trust me… if you don’t value your time the client will not either, and you are stuck working hard for nothing.
Besides, that scenario is an HGTV show… the “I can do an expensive room for less because I just put materials in the budget, and not my time” scenario. Designers bitterly complain about our profession being pictured in this way and then turn around and do it themselves. This practice must stop.
So let’s review… First, remember that you are not alone. Pricing panic has happened to every designer at one time or another, so a little edgy case of the nerves is not a problem, and you can work through that.
Second, do not become so terrified that you completely avoid talking about your professional fees or what a whole room will cost. Not talking about money will severely damage your business, your reputation, and your cash flow.
Another way the pricing panic challenge comes out is when the cost of the project you are working on is so high that you sabotage your success by listening to your inner voice telling you: “this room costs more than my house. This is crazy, my client isn’t going to go for this.” So you diminish the job and price it less so that you are more comfortable with the number. Never mind that the real number is exactly what the client asked us for.
Remember these three great tips to help you conquer “Pricing Panic,” and present your fees and pricing with grace and ease.
Tip #1 – Try to remember that your own values and family money history do not belong in your client’s design job. Our clients are often very wealthy and their ideas of value and price are very different from ours.
For example, just because you would probably not spend $400 per square foot for tile in your own home doesn’t mean that your client cannot. If your client asks for something special, exclusive and expensive, let them have it! They will be happy with you and their purchase, and you will be happy with the profit.
Tip #2 – Practice saying the “big number” out loud, over and over again until you can say it with conviction and total comfort. Practice while you are driving, or while you are in the shower – anywhere you can you can speak out loud and people won’t think you are crazy.
One more thing: Your body has to get used to the big number as well as your mind, so practice saying that number until it is no big deal. Remember that when you are totally comfortable with that number, your clients will be too.
Tip#3 – When you are speaking to potential clients about your design fees, emphasize the results of the service you have to offer, rather than the process you use.
People buy results, not process.
In short, take time to understand the real design problem your client is trying to solve. Remember, they would not have called you if they could fix it themselves, and that affluent people are used to spending money to fix a problem. When you become the solution to their problem you also become their hero and are paid accordingly.
Important: The more you get clear and talk about the value you bring to a design job, the more you know what you are worth.