4 Easy Ways to Convince Clients Your Pricing is Fair
Three interior designers on Houzz share their strategies for ensuring clients feel confident about their fees
A client’s budget and their perception of the value your firm offers can have a huge impact on whether they hire you – and can affect your professional relationship as the project progresses. This can be particularly important at a time of rising material costs, so that’s why it pays to follow these simple steps to make sure your customers feel confident they’re getting value for money.
Explain why quality is key
Clients are often unsure about whether to go with a lower-cost service or one that’s at the top of their budget. Some guidance from you can make them feel more confident about their decision.
“I explain what they get for my time, essentially how I save them money in the long run and help to prevent them from making costly mistakes,” interior designer Natasha Burton of NB Interiors UK says. “I make them aware that quality does come at a price, that it’s a false economy to go cheap. I also explain that, from past experience, going cheap can cost more overall, as you have to replace items sooner. It’s part of my core values and that’s what I try to convey to my clients.”
Be open from the start
There’s no point skirting around the issue of price, say the professionals we interviewed. Instead, address it head-on at the start.
“I think it’s always best to be clear from the very first conversation, follow up in writing and highlight you’re happy to have a conversation to discuss should they wish,” interior designer Caroline Nicholls of Slightly Quirky says. “Communication both ways is the key.
“We’re very clear from the first phone call what our daily rate is and how we work out our fee proposal,” she explains. “We discuss this again on the first meeting and it’s documented on our Scope of Work and Terms and Conditions. We feel how we charge is straightforward and up front, and we give a detailed breakdown of how we will apportion our time.”
You can easily communicate your fee by using Houzz Pro, our business management tool for designers. Also, use the Product Clipper tool to create a library of goods and simply add these to a proposal template to share with your client for approval.
Decide on your business model and stick to it
Whether you choose a fixed or hourly fee strategy, it’s important to be consistent. Any changes to this could reduce your client’s confidence.
Gemma Hill of Bayswater Interiors says her firm uses an hourly pricing structure, as they feel it’s fair for both parties. “Clients only pay for what we’ve provided,” she says. “In the past, we’ve had projects where clients have increased the scope of our work, or changed their minds unexpectedly midway through the process, and expected us to start again to incorporate their new ideas, which ended up costing us money in lost hours. This way, we’re invoicing for work completed and are not out of pocket, and this is clear and fair to the client throughout.”
Caroline, on the other hand, prefers a fixed pricing structure.“When we put together our fee proposal, we estimate the amount of time we’ll spend on a project, using similar jobs as a benchmark,” she says. “Once we’ve given our fee proposal, our fee doesn’t change unless the scope of work changes or there are unforeseen circumstances. We would then discuss this with our client and adjust the fee if necessary.”
Track your time
The most accurate way to illustrate a fair pricing strategy is by tracking your schedule. This works for both hourly and fixed models, as it can be done ahead of time or during the project.
“We use our diary to schedule when we’ll be spending time on which projects,” Caroline says. The schedule helps to inform the fixed price her firm provides ahead of project commencement and is a clear way of conveying the thinking behind a fee structure.
“I use the Houzz Pro Stopwatch and track my time for each project,” Natasha says. “This is a great way to see how long certain projects take. It also ensures I’m pricing correctly for similar future projects.”