The Client Project Budget: Just one of a few tricky, and challenging, aspects of being a self employed freelance logo designer.
It’s not tricky if a potential new client appreciates and understands the value of good creative work, as well as the importance and value of a quality logo brand design, and provides you with a whopping budget that you could almost semi-retire on…
I’m specifically talking about receiving a new work Enquiry, from a potential new client.
For a brief moment you’re really excited to get that new enquiry; it may have been a few weeks since the last one, and you’re scratching in your pockets for all the loose change you have.
For the first few seconds of reading about this new potential logo design job, you’re still excited; it sounds like a really cool and interesting job to design a logo for.
But then you see their allocated project budget, and a little bit of your soul and sense of self just melts away.
Worth mentioning: this doesn’t automatically mean the client doesn’t value good skill and workmanship; they could well have the greatest respect for your skill set, but not every client does have the funds that we’d ideally need to do the best possible work.
Then there is the flip-side: the client who expects the world for the smallest possible outlay.
What Do You Do?
So you could just bite the bullet, and do a Proposal for the amount the client has indicated.
You know it’s worth more, but maybe things are really tight your end, and you’re just thankful for ANY job at this moment in time.
Sure, you still take the job on, but are forever resentful of the client, and this can ooze itself out into the quality of work you do, and that’s not always a great thing.
Worse still: you could just turn the project away because you don’t feel happy about asking the client increase the project budget.
So is there a solution?
Freelancers: It’s OK to Ask a Client for a Bigger Project Budget
It’s absolutely OK to ask a client to raise the project budget if you feel that the brief warrants it, especially if you feel you could really enjoy the working on this logo.
In my experience: clients putting down inadequate budgets, for whatever the reason, is quite common.
I’ve now become accustomed to replying back to the client, with a counter offer on the table.
I don’t like turning away any job, so I’ll always now ask the client if they have the means and resources, in which to raise the budget.
I’ll obviously explain my reasoning to them, so they at least know I’m just not trying to milk-it
It’s really very important you can sincerely justify the extra cost to them, otherwise it’s just not worth going down that road.
Give the client a Choice
Sometimes their specificed budget is kinda on the line. By that I mean: the budget they have specified is ‘OK’, but if you were able to have just a little bit more, it would mean you could spend that little bit more time, which you know would be of value to the design process.
Sure, you could do the job for this budget, and you’d be very happy to do so.
However, if they client was able to compromise somewhat, then it’d mean you could spend just that little bit more time: exploring other avenues, adding that final layer of polish, not rushing it, etc.
In these cases I give the client two Preliminary Proposals: the first one has the budget that they initially suggested; the second Proposal has the amount I feel would be a more overall reasonable price.
I don’t always send the same worded email, but a recent email I sent went something like this:
Firstly, thank you for reaching out to me and considering me for your logo design needs, much appreciated. Also, thank you for taking the time to fill in my brief, which I have attached for your records, along with the Preliminary Proposals.
So you’ll see that I’ve actually included two quotes: one for £850, and one that covers the £850 – £1500.
I’ll just quickly explain why:
For a project such as this, and with the information based in the brief, I’d usually be looking to budget closer to the £1000+ range.
When I read a brief, and I feel that raising the budget would be of value, then I do feel it is important to at least mention this to the client.
It’s not so much that I can’t do the project for what the client has indicated; it’s more that I could do a more thorough job if there was more time available to me, in order to do the best possible work for my client.
Unless there is some major discrepancy in the brief and a clients proposed budget, I always try to honour what the client has selected for their budget.
I will therefore very kindly ask: if you do have the means to move ‘upwards’ in your initial budget range £550-£850, then it’d certainly be appreciated, and would certainly be beneficial to the project.
I of course understand that this is a big ask, so please be sure I’m not trying to do anything underhand.
I will stress that I am completely happy to do the project for the £850, should you not have the means to increase the budget—If I felt I could not do the project justice, for a certain amount, then I’d not take the project on—but allowing for more would give me the extra time investment I feel this project could certainly benefit from.
Please let me know your thoughts on the above, and If I can be of any further help at this initial early stage, please do not hesitate to shout.
Look forward to hearing from you soon,
In my experience, the client has nearly always been very happy to increase the project budget, if they are in a position to do so.
This not only makes the project more attractive, it also helps establish some honesty and openness with the client, which I feel is really important.
It’s the way you ask
Obviously, this only really works if you ask nicely, and justify the rationale behind the request.
It’s important to ensure the client doesn’t feel they are being ‘coerced’ into raising their budget, but that they full understand the value and positive reasoning behind paying more for your creative services.
If you ask nicely, then you really have nothing to lose. I don’t think a client would ever begrudge a designer from being open and honest, especially if you provide them with options.
If you have any questions on the above, then please feel free to leave them in comments below.