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June 6, 2011
So a new, quite large, client comes to you. It's a pretty big and exciting job. They meet with you and ask you to put together a quote.
Then what do you do? How do you work out what fee you should charge? Obviously you don't want to be the lowest, but you don't want to overcharge. How do you put a quote or proposal together that knocks their socks off, that gives them no choice but to accept your quote? (Is there even a difference between a quote and a proposal?)
Is being asked for quotes even standard practice for the clients you attract?
(And on a different note, I've got an associate (not a writer) who doesn't believe in quoting. He reckons that, if they're asking for a quote rather than just immediately wanting to do business with him, that they're just getting price comparisons because they have to, or checking that they're getting a fair price from the person they've got waiting in the wings.)
February 11, 2010
I have standard rates, and they're posted on my website (even if just in ranges). That gives prospects an idea of what to expect before they ever ask for a quote. It eliminates people who can't afford me, so neither of us wastes time. And it eliminates any shock value others might have.
With custom quotes, I just try to be as detailed as possible and I often give them a couple of options to choose from (if they don't have a very detailed project description yet). For example, I'll let them know what different editing levels will get them so they can choose what they need and what will work within their budget. Or if they ask for copy or blog posts, I'll quote them based on a few different lengths.
What I prefer is what I just did this week for a new client (the first I've felt excited about in a long time because the company's plan meshes very well with my style). They come to me and tell me about their general problem or opportunity. I put together a detailed set of suggestions, from minor tweaks to content for complete marketing campaigns or even a blog content strategy. That's usually what puts me over the edge. They rarely have anyone else willing to do that. I basically try to look at their business as if it was my own. If you show them you'll be invested in the project, you stand out. At that point, my rates are rarely a problem. And I certainly don't go out of my way to quote low. I'd rather pass on a project and find a client who better fits within my target market.
As for that associate of yours, it sounds like he's confusing quotes and bids a little bit. Quotes are absolutely normal in the freelance world, even when you do publish rates (which I highly recommend, although I know some colleagues disagree). They have a right to compare prices. They have a right to know what they're expected to spend on a project before contracting you. And they have a right to get further details on what your services include for the price they're paying. In many cases they've already decided to hire you. A quote just solidifies the deal by detailing the exact services you'll provide and slapping a dollar amount on it.
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