Working as a graphic designer is always full of challenges. You have to be creative, open with the new trend, flexible, and good at handling a client. Most of the time, you are working with other people that demand negotiation. And most of the time, the action to negotiate budgets is not always a smooth sailing occurrence.
You have to negotiate and face many clients with varying perks, habits, or demands. It cannot be denied that graphic and web design is incredibly competitive. Thus, haggling cost is unavoidable. Many buyers want a lower price for a better graphic project. But, then it might unbalance with the work. That is why you will need to carefully negotiate the plan.
Negotiating budgets with clients and get an appropriate value is not an easy thing to do. Besides, there are still many people that are clueless about graphic design values. The clashing competition forces graphic designers to be smart about the budget. So, what should you do? No matter whether you are an experienced designer or a new freelancer, here are some tips to try out:
1. Know Your Market
The first thing a graphic designer needs to jot down is the market. How much this aspect affects your business and the project cost? It means a lot. Graphic design, in particular, is a competitive marketplace. Many designers are starting to show their abilities and offer more affordable work. This is when you need to plan how to negotiate budgets.
Other than rivals, you can also underline the fact that this industry always attracts tons of talented people. With the barrier getting lower to enter, you need to think about the plan thoroughly. At the same time, the graphic design market is very vast and worldwide. If you have a more specific and know who to target, it will be easier to settle the cost.
It is especially helpful when designers are trying to negotiate budgets with clients. You can tell the client about the public ranges, the industry standard, and anything. Thus, you can convince your client about the price tag. It is also relatable to tell that you are a graphic designer that always follows the track and move incredibly fast. It is not only about your work pace, but also your cost.
2. Handling Objection Professionally
As you know the graphic market, you will see the standard budget. It also helps a lot for you to make a clear benchmark about your graphic designer's value to the client. Thus, you got a real detail to negotiate budgets. However, you will always be up to objection. As you negotiate the price with your client, you might hear an objection that says you are more expensive than others.
It is not an uncommon occurrence. In many cases, it is just part of the client's habits or nature that seek for better budget and cost. If you hear a lot of this comment, you will need to handle it professionally. As a graphic designer, you have to negotiate while staying strong about your confidence and market. You also need to know the client to counter the sultry comment.
The best answer for that comment goes back to your graphic competence, ability, skills, values, and how unique you are as a designer. If they say, they know other places that are cheaper than you, chance that the client found a gem inside you. As you negotiate budgets with clients, they might see another value to work with you. Or maybe the budget might not be par with their expectation.
In this case, you are bound to learn how to negotiate budgets. You will need to tell that you are a worthy graphic designer that knows the values. Tell them that you can offer great value with the budget set. It is not overpriced, and you are particularly confident with your skills. But if the client is all about the price, perhaps it is a good time to move on.
3. Know Your Worth
Setting the budget is not only about knowing the market. At some point, you have to know about your worth. No matter you are a freelancer or a graphic designer from a firm, you need to know how good you are and how much money you can ask for it. It can be one of the first things that you need to learn as a designer so you can negotiate the proper price.
Again, you need to underline that the market is exceedingly competitive. There is a local and global competition for graphic, web, or any other art designer. In other words, you compete against thousand or million of graphic designers out there. At some point, you also need to compete with some of the designers that want to sell their job for a lower wage.
So, do you have to follow the cheap graphic or wages countries? No, you don't. You can negotiate budgets with clients while being paid properly. The idea of properly is on par with your graphic skills and competencies. If you are a skilled and qualified designer, thus you deserve a professional wage. But if you are new in the business, you can negotiate for a lower rate.
As a graphic designer, you can start with a free or low wage. But of course, you don't have to do the same. After you continue the professional designer gig, make sure to negotiate budgets for a higher rate. It is the state in which you should know how good your skill and the cost are. If you find yourself far below the standard, that means you should give the right cost.
As a designer, you have a specific set of skills that are currently in demand. Tons are looking for a skilled graphic designer with a great budget. It does not mean you should offer a lower price, but budget accordingly. Underline that you are working for hours, doing research, ideas for the graphic, and eventually pour your creativity into the project.
With that in mind, you deserve reasonable compensation. If you are not sure about the right price, do some research on other graphic designer freelancers or agencies. Look how much they set the budget and charge for a specific project. After that, you can set your fees accordingly. Make sure you negotiate budgets that are right or on par with what you can give.
4. Avoid Doing Self-Negotiation
There is one perk that every graphic designer needs to consider as they negotiate budgets with clients; it is called self-negotiation. Just as the name says, you will be bound to ask yourself about the charge and budget set before discussing it with the client. Most of the time, it appears even after you did all of the needed research, due diligence, designer's value, and price.
But how important is self-negotiation for your graphic designer career? If you are working with self-pricing, it is an occurrence that will happen over time. It will force the designer to prepare themselves before they negotiate with the client. Undeniable, it will happen a lot even for the professional designer. But, you better avoid this habit.
Doing self-negotiation will put designers in doubt. In this case, you cannot hold a commitment about the price. Thus, it ended with a waving decision as you negotiate budgets. You can set your price beforehand, which serves values for the client. Go with that price set and make a strong principle when you negotiate the total graphic cost. Thus, the client will see your confidence.
5. Know Your Client
There are many clients out there, and you will need to negotiate with them from time to time. As a graphic designer, you might have to face different clients, including their needs, motivation, priorities, or understanding. Don't get shocked with some client that has bad habits as you negotiate budgets. So, the designer needs to master the art of negotiation.
The key to success is recognizing or know your opponent, in this case, your client. You will need to learn how to recognize the client's types when you negotiate with them. It is especially important if you are talking about budget and price. Underline that some clients might be all about the price, but some see you as a valuable graphic designer.
To negotiate budgets with clients, make sure you can put yourself in the buyer's shoes. Understand that the project is about the client, not about your preference or anything. You are the one who gets hired as a graphic designer. They will set and negotiate budgets according to how your client sees value in you (your design graphic work).
If you can see or recognize how the client considers the value, it will help you to negotiate the acceptable price. Pay attention to how they see your work values as a designer. Do they know about the project? Do they appreciate the hard and complex graphic design project? If you know, it then it will help settle the budget easier.
6. Acknowledge The Barrier
When you negotiate budgets, you will find times when the clients hesitate or haven't signed the deal yet. It is a barrier that every designer needs to shed and enter. You can enter it by knowing the client. In this case, you need to find the reasons behind their hesitancy, confusion, or anything. After discovering the problem, it means you got the chance to come up with solutions.
That is why when designers negotiate budgets with clients, your knowledge about them will seal a great deal. At some point, during the graphic project negotiation, you will find the problem is not merely about the budget. It can be about the time, deadline, method to pay, or anything. So, identify the client and their problem to make sure you can make a pitch for it.
7. Understand The Difference Of Value And Price
There is a time that both client or the designer is way too focus on the budget. It can hinder the process of negotiating with the client. You barely get to negotiate the design graphic budget. It is also important that you do negotiate not only the budget but also the value worth for your job. So, how much is the value or the price? After you know it, you can set the right price.
Underline the idea that the price is not always representing the value. It can be higher or lower. And knowing the value can help to set the price, thus aid you to negotiate budgets with clients. The key to getting the best budget is to use the idea that value is what you get, and the price is what you pay. Basically, to be a pro graphic designer, you need to set a budget according to the value.
Most of the time, value refers to the service, and the price is the project time to provide adequate recompense for the designer's time and effort. From the client's point of view, the design graphic value is far outweighing the project. If you know how to pour value into the project, it will help you stick with the price. Thus you can gain a deal as you negotiate with the clients.
8. Don't Break Down The Cost
Consider how vital the value and cost are. Designers will also need to take a look at the budget transparency. In design, you don't need to break down the budget to negotiate. If you do find a client that demands you to make a complete breakdown, do so. But if not, avoid it as much as possible. One of the reasons is to prevent the salami effect.
The salami effect is when the client gets the detailed or broke down budget but then decides to cancel part of the project. It can be a pitfall for your design graphic project. As you negotiate the budget with the client, you are bound to lose a lot of aspects. Working for a creative job is also pretty hard to break down. That is why avoid it when you negotiate budgets with clients.
9. Avoid Freebies
If you are a new graphic designer, try to avoid freebies. Yes, it can help you gain or attract customers, but it can be either success or loss. However, make the client get it with more effort. The best idea is to cut 10% for your design. Try to negotiate this discount only if the customer makes a subscription or takes another service for you, such as sign-in for 18 months or more.
The idea is to negotiate the budgets with more interesting options in the future. You only give freebies if the client pays enough or does something valuable for you. It is one of the marketing tricks that graphic designers need to learn, especially for freelancers. The overall budget may sound free or cheaper, but it is not. It is just a trick to negotiate and make clients spend more.
10. Keep It Written
Another point to ensure your negotiation goes well is the written contract. If you negotiate budgets with clients, you as a graphic designer need a contract as protection and guarantee. In this case, you can lay down some of the important details, including the scope of work, payment schedule, client responsibility, milestones, intellectual property, and rights.
The idea of using written agreement comes from the fact of how hard it is to negotiate the best budget. You can use the design graphic project contract as a shield of complaints from the client. It also makes you look more professional as a designer. With the contract, both parties got the details of the funds, responsibilities, values, and all of the graphic project detail.
11. Pay Attention To Upsell
Many times graphic designers only focus on negotiating on profit and take the opportunity to rob the extra upsell. However, try to negotiate to increase client and worker relationships. Rather than use the upsell for robbing, try to add value to the client while making relatively little cost. So, you can give valuable work within a profitable budget and secure customer retention.
12. Learn How To Say No
Don't hesitate to say no when you negotiate budgets with clients. There are times that the client's talking ability force the graphic designer to accept a bad deal. However, it does not mean you have to be hard-headed. One of the occasions that are worth saying no is when the client makes the first offer. If you say yes, most of the time client will ask for a lower price.
You can also say no when the client becomes more trouble than they are worth. You have to know the client, how they value graphic designer's work and appreciation. If you found they try to negotiate budgets to scope creep and constant demand, say no and move on. It also applied for the client that asks for extra features and unreasonable addition under the same costs.
Considering how important the skill is for every business, you can underline that graphic designers need to learn it. It is especially true and vital since graphic project cost lies in the negotiation. If designers can negotiate, they won't have lost anything but gain more with a great and rewarding project. However, it is not easy and takes time to master.