How to Talk About Your Pricing with Confidence
Why is it SO hard to talk about money?? It is actually more difficult for people than talking about death or politics. UGH. Interior designers are creatives - we love to talk about the pretty things and the stunning interiors we're going to create. But then we break out in a sweat when we have to talk money. We aren't in business to just create. It's called "business" for a reason! The key is to have the confidence to say "this is my fee and I'm worth it!" But HOW do you do that?? I'm glad you asked...
1. Know Your Value!
Remember that the reason the client is hiring YOU is because you have skills and expertise that they DO NOT have. You have experience, you are GOOD at what you do, and you are going to save them time, headaches, and issues. That is definitely worth what you're charging. You've got to really and truly BELIEVE that. You are providing a professional service, so you need to be paid like a professional. This is not about shopping or paint samples. There is a lot of work that goes into each project and you should be paid accordingly! To convince yourself, write down 5 bulletpoints that spell out exactly WHY you are worth what you charge. And be prepared to say those to your client if they balk at your fees.
2. Be Clear Up Front
You want to set the expectation right away with potential clients of what they can look for as far as your fees and other items in their project budget. There should never be any dancing around the topic. You can give them a general sliding scale if you don't know the exact scope. Show them a project and say, "The design fee for a project of this size and scope is generally between $xxx and $xxx. And then the furnishings budget would be between $xxx and $xxx, particularly because I crafted a lot of custom products for each room." Giving them an honest look at what you generally charge is the smart way to start off on the right foot.
3. Stick to Your Fee Structure
When you hire a lawyer, do you expect to go into her office and start haggling over her fees?! You do not. And there should be no back-and-forth over changing your fees. It is human nature to want to get a good deal, and to be sure you aren't being taken advantage of. That's what can cause some clients to want to haggle with you. But you just state, calmly and clearly, that you have set a fair price for the work that you deliver. Period. If you've done your homework, you know the general pricing that your competition charges, what your local market will bear when it comes to professional fees, and what YOU do that NONE of your competition does. Stick to your fees and don't budge. If a client wants to try to "get a deal," they are probably not your ideal client in the first place.
4. Present in Person
This is a BIG one! Never ever send a fee or budget proposal via email. Just don't do it. Because your client is getting those cold numbers without a REAL understanding of what's involved. Again, it is human nature to skip down to the bottom line without really reading everything else. And that can be a shocker for some people. You want to be there to explain the fees and what they include. It's so much easier to sell your incredible value if you're doing it in person!
To help you get started the right way, download my FREE Guide for Setting Client Expectations. It will help your clients really understand what you can do for them!