Good Client Relations 13: Cheap Skates

cheapskate clients

This is certainly one of the most common traits that I’ve seen freelancers get frustrated with. Clients who want the earth for pennies. So how best to deal with a tight pocket? Here are my tips.


I’d like to think that most clients are not malicious but just under educated about the time and effort some things take…and that’s your fault! It’s your job to communicate this to the prospect so they better understand what goes into your product or service. Try and give them detail as to time and costs.

Price Comparison

Let’s say you have two identical umbrellas in front of you, but one is cheaper. Which one do you think you’re going to choose? It’s important to remember that basing your business around price is a race to the bottom and indeed there will always be someone cheaper. To an uneducated client hiring one person might seem the same as hiring another. This is why you have to create your own value. There are a number of ways to do this, through the amount of experience you have, through the speed you operate, to the quality of the end product. Never forget that in most cases you’re not really selling the service but the benefits.

Make it simple

One very straight forward tip is to make your billing as simple as forward. Bill daily and not hourly, use round amounts, and publish guidelines in your material. This will act as a barrier to entry for those clients who may simply not have the cash.

Low Bidding

I do think, especially with newer clients that there can be an aspect of ‘trying it on’ and seeing if there’s any room for negotiation. Stand up for your rates and never be drawn in on the potential for supposed future work. You can only price based on the here and now.

Just Less of You

The biggest tip with a cheapskate client is that you don’t lower the price for your service, you just give them less. (This may be hard to do if you sell products) where it would normally take 2 days for something see what an alternative would be for a day. I’ve found that where people can’t afford me suggesting alternatives, looking at templates or similar leaves them feeling good about you so when they do have money they can come back.