How to Negotiate as a Freelance Web Designer

Do you find it enjoyable to negotiate with clients? I didn’t enjoy it either when I first started. I would agree to whatever terms were provided to me and any compensation and timeframe the client desired.

Then things began to shift. I started building websites with Divi (helpful Divi review here), which really changed how I approach dealing with web design clients.

You know you have to take a stand for yourself. That’s what I did. So, I have devised 7 powerful tips for you to negotiate with clients as a freelance web designer.

negotiate as a freelancer

1) Know Your Worth

The foremost thing to be a demanding freelancer or to run a professional studio of web designing is awareness of your worth. Skills attract the clients to come once, but your enthusiasm and skills make them come again and again.

The thing you need to learn is to know how to create your own domain among all the tremendous web designers and how to compete with developers available in low-wage countries.

Yes, you don’t need to work for free to create your position in the market. You need to know these basic tactics to become a proficient freelancer in a shorter time.

You need to monitor all the ups and downs of the market and organise your commodities accordingly. Make sure your products deliver what clients require and make them pay you what you demand.

As a web designer, you have to work day and night to polish your skills. So, you deserve reasonable compensation for your endeavours.

Every profession, let it be doctors, engineers, chefs, lawyers, etc. have set their values according to their demand and being a web designer, you too should never settle for anything less than what you deserve.

You should be aware of all the ongoing projects in demand and how much agencies and other freelancers are proposing. Learn what is offered, how much is charged, and set your fees accordingly. This will help you prevent self-negotiation.

Also, take into consideration how much time you’ll be spending on a website. Once I switched to Divi, I was able to build websites way faster. So this allowed me to take on more projects per month.

freelance web designer negotiation tips

2) Know Your Market

The global marketing of web designing is full of competitors because this enterprise attracts a lot of people to work and try their luck. This industry also has a lot of creative designers from low-income regions.

For working and maintaining your position here, the complete monitoring of market place is essential. To compete with low-salary designers, you should be more creative and establish a better negotiation position than them.

Barriers in entry

The essential thing to maintain your market position is to know how to deal with a particular kind of client. When you know the intuition of a client, it’ll be easy for you to secure a deal.

A client might be negotiating with other web designers. He might be hesitant to trust such a big amount with you, or he might have someone agreed to a lot less than you.

A client might have issues with the cash. Maybe he is running short of it or has to wait for someone’s payment.

A client might be dubious about your proficiency in handling work and deliver the products in time.

These are all the aspects that create problems. It would be best if you showed them your proficiency in work so they won’t trust anyone else with their work.

how to negotiate as a freelancer

3) Know Your Client

All clients are different, and you have to deal with them accordingly.

Some clients are all about price. Some are about quality work. Some are obsessed with their websites. Some want shreds of evidence of all the work you do.

Some trust your words and leave it all to you. Here, the key is, no matter which kind of client approaches you, you should be able to satisfy them.

Some clients usually don’t acknowledge the hard work behind designing. How many drafts have been created before the final one?

How much effort and time the designer has put into making this one for him. So, if you want to be a demanding one, make them realise real endeavours.

Always remember that the project is about the client, not about you. Your work should persuade him more than your inner self.

Now let’s discuss value and price a little more. The clients who are all about prices often aren’t good at recognising good work, so you better leave them. We will discuss it in detail in the coming topic.

tips for negotiating as a freelancer

4) Cut the Losses Early

In freelance web designing, price negotiation is the most frustrating facet. Clients here don’t realise the hardworking of makers and want their work done much less than the designer has the right to. Here, we are going to elaborate on this topic.

Client’s don’t know the complete work behind designing a logo. How many designs have been developed before the final sample?

Clients don’t usually acknowledge that they aren’t paying exclusively for the designer’s time. They are paying for the years of hard work to polish their skills to reach this point of perfection.

Freelance web designers are working in a highly competitive world where many people want to make their position in the marketplace, with low rates are welcomed to try their chance.

A lot of freelancers in the market are stealing other’s designs and selling them in their name.

So, while dealing with a client, make them realise that they have to agree to a quality price if they want quality work. No good designer ever settles for anything less than what he deserves.

tips for negotiating as a freelance web designer

5) Focus on Value Over Price

Before starting a negotiation with the client, you should grasp the complete information of the product you will make. How much of your time will be served? How many efforts will be required? Whether you need a consultation from other freelancers or not?

While keeping all these factors in mind, it’ll be easy for you to authorise your price for negotiation. When you have done all your homework, it will help you avoid self-negotiation.

While dealing with the client, don’t price your work. Rather let the client know the benefits you are gonna provide, the excellence of your work, and how you will save his precious time by professionally dealing with everything.

Pricing structure:

As I cited earlier, knowing the kind of client is the foremost thing. Based on your speculations, interpret the type of pricing structure that will be best for you.

If the client tends to make off-the-agreement requests, an hourly fee may work best for you and shielding you from squandering your time.

If the client is up for a smaller object and knows exactly how much of your time will be served, negotiate with the flat rate.

how to negotiate with web design clients

6) Objection Handling

Here, you are going to face a lot of critics. A client might say, “you’re too expensive, and I can get this work done with a lot less money from other web designers.”

Objections are something you need to learn to handle.

By having complete knowledge of the market, by having done complete research on the project, and having complete consideration of workload, your time is serving, and competency of the project, you will be able to surpass these objections.

Show them the quality of your work and explain to them that they can’t risk someone cheaper for this work.

Show them the market strategies and how much the product you will make for them will help them launch their website. How your work will benefit them not only in the present but also in the future?

Still, if the client is too fussy to continues the project, it’s better to say “No” to that deal.

But when the client is negotiating, know that they want you to agree with their terms. They can get it accomplished from somewhere else too. Learn to recognise and value your clients. Be compassionate with your words while acknowledging your worth too.

freelance web designer negotiation

7) Learn How To Say No

NO means “Next Opportunity.”

However, in the competitive world of web designing, if you start saying NO to all clients during negotiations for trivial reasons, it will become your hindrance to opportunities.

When to Use No When Negotiating With Web Design Clients

Based on my experiences, these are the times when I advise you to say No.

On the first offer:
It would be best if you never endorsed the first offer, as it will reflect your desperation and make them wonder that they could have gone lower. Equally important – it will lessen your market value.

For unreasonable improvements:
As I cited earlier, some clients trust your words and leave all work to you, while others want to scrutinise each word and require something different. Little additions don’t matter.

Cooperate with them on logical recommendations but for non-logical additions, learn to say no. “No” might be harsh but worth your efforts.

When they become more trouble than they are worth

Some clients are magpies. Those who squander all your time, make constant demands for progress, addition, feedback, and modifications will be troublesome to deal with, and it is fairer to say No to some things!

negotiate better as a freelance web designer

8) Bonus tips from a professional negotiator

Before I wrap up this article, I wanted to leave you with some final thoughts.

A friend of mine is a professional negotiator at one of the world’s largest retailers. He asked me not to mention his name, but he did allow me to share some of his negotiation tactics:

Bonus 1 – Use the journalist trick
Ask any journalist who is the part of interviews people are likely to give them the best quote and the answer is: “After the official part, walking towards the exit door when just asked my final question”.

Always think ahead of any negotiation of two nice things to have to include in your last sentence and use them at the end of the negotiation. It has taken some time to get this far? Even better! The chances to achieve another concession are high, working because the other party will not want to waste what has been agreed. Use this carefully, and it can get you just that little bit more!

Bonus 2 – Use the hypothetical question
A technique that helps every conversation and thus negotiations: talk about ‘what if’. It helps to test your own hypothesis, to determine how serious the other person is, and this technique helps negotiations forward when there seems no more room left to move.
“If I were to give you A, how would you feel about doing B”?

By asking this question, you’re not making a step offer-wise; you’re using words to find out the level of flexibility at the other side of the table & what it might be possible to agree upon. This can be useful for checking a new idea or to help break the deadlock, and matters can be discussed without the fear of commitment. If used during the exploratory/testing stage, it can open up useful alternatives and help shape a deal.

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Freelance Web Designer

By Tiago Lavis-Fernandes

Tiago is a Portuguese freelance web designer living and working in Manchester for over ten years. Fascinated by WordPress and the Divi Builder, he helps clients achieve success through UX/UI website design and search engine optimisation. If you're looking for someone to help with your online marketing, look no further.

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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This website is run by Tiago Lavis-Fernandes and not associated, or act on behalf of Elegant Themes. Divi is a registered trademark of Elegant Themes, inc.

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