It’s not very uncommon that we as designers are always being asked to “give a good deal” or, heaven forbid do a job “for FREE”. And to be quite honest, asking is probably not the best way to go about getting a better deal or free work. If fact it almost guarantees a 100% markup the next time you need this designer.
If you want a deal – while becoming one of your designers favourite clients – you’ll need to follow a few steps and put some good habits into practice. One of our favourite clients (TheMacnabs) have consistently followed these steps and become one of our very favourite clients, whom we’ll often give discounted work or give them lots of extras just because we like them. So, for the purpose of this blog, they are going to be our case study.
Be excited about the project and even more excited about working with your designer.
When Russ and Jordan approached Yassin&Ward about doing a full website and brand overall they were so excited about our work and what we are capable of. They made us feel like rock stars who we’re about write an epic song featuring them, and it was gonna be amazing. We got so excited to work with them just because they were so excited to work with us! Love begets love!
DON’T ask how much it will cost… Instead come with a realistic budget and then be open to the options.
So after the Macnabs buttered us up they informed us about their budget and then sat back to hear what we could offer for that price. Well, because we were feeling so awesome and wanted to outdo their expectations, we threw in more then we would normally do for their budget.
Chances are, if you come to your designer with a reasonable budget they will try to meet your needs (or make suggestion on how to prioritize) and stay within your budget. You also need to be realistic about your budget. Most designers or agencies won’t do jobs for less than $1000, however what they give you for $1000 may very. Check our blog: What does a Website Really Cost? for some insight on realistic costs.
Don’t react poorly when you’re given a quote or estimate.
If you’ve given your designer a budget, chances are you really shouldn’t be surprised at their quote, and if it’s a bit higher than what you budgeted be respectful, your designer is establishing their value and that is to be respected. The worst thing you can do is say “That much?! I was thinking more like THIS much.” You’ve just devalued you designer and their work, so all that ego stroking you did in the beginning has just brought you from hero to zero! If the estimate is a bit more then what you can afford, ask if you can arrange a payment plan.
When we quoted the MacNabs they didn’t bat an eye. In fact they thanked us for the great price then asked if they could pay it in instalments. I have yet to meet a designer who won’t do instalments (unless you’ve burned them in the past).
A side note: please keep in mind that an estimate is exactly that – it’s not a solid invoice! The cost of your project could very depending on your requests and reviews so the estimate may change. When you receive your final invoice and it’s slightly over, don’t call your designer up barking and haggling. That will guarantee you a 100% cost increase for the next project. If you designer is smart they will usually warn you for any major (like $100 +) charges beyond the estimate. Remember, respect the value of their work.
Be excited throughout the projects and give lots of positive feedback along with constructive criticism.
I had a very interesting situation with the Macnabs. After they had a look at the first draft they came back to me and said, “It’s awesome, it’s not blowing our mind, but we just don’t have the budget for mind blowing, so it’s good.”
WOW! They were so humble that it made me want to “blow their mind”, so back to the drawing board I went.
As the project went on I would get emails saying “jaime, it looks sick! We love it, it’s totally awesome. But do you think we could adjust these few things?”
And after the changes are made, “it’s sick! You’re so dope!”
If you haven’t caught on yet stroking a designers ego is the key to true love.
Never tell another living soul what you really paid!
When we finished the Macnabs’ project they thank us very much, made their final payment and PROMISED not to tell ANYONE what they paid! They are one of our favourites!!
The worst thing you can do to your designer, after they have gone above and beyond to over deliver is tell everyone about the great deal you got! Maybe you think you’re doing your designer a favour, but honestly you’re not. We decided to give you a great deal, or give you extras because WE LIKE YOU! And we reserve the right to choose who we like.
If your buddy Jim comes to us and says, “Dave said you gave him a great deal on his website with lots of extras and I’d like the same deal.” well you can bet we’re gonna be pretty pissed at you (let’s say your Dave). We don’t know Jim, we don’t know if we like Jim and we don’t know if Jim is going to be a difficult client. Jim’s project may also be completely different than Dave’s. And to be quite honest, Dave did all that work in order to get a good deal. Is it really fair that Jim get’s to get the same deal with no work involved? Ummm, nope!
So to wrap up this blog, getting a deal from your designer takes more than asking (don’t ask). You need to work a bit for it. But I can guarantee, once you establish a great relationship and your designer likes you, you’ll be set up for life!