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What to say if a customer asks for hourly rate or how much time to do a project?

by oldcat, published: 2008-08-17 11:51 viewed: 134 times
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As a freelancer and small business owner, I often get questions from potential customers like the hourly rate or how much time it will take me to do some project. How to answer these type of questions?

Potential clients will ask a lot of questions before they hire you. They will want to know about your experience and qualifications, when they can expect the project to be completed and, of course, the price.

I don't think you should let them know your hourly rate. If you are quoting a price based on a project, then tell them the bottom-line cost. Do not break out pricing based on an amount per hour.

For how much time to do some or all of the project. The client has every right to know when they can expect the work to be completed; however, they do not need to know how much time you will spend on the project. For example, you may tell them that you will have the finished project to them in four weeks. But they do not need to know that you will spend a total of 35 hours on the project.

The reality is that as a freelancer you may be working on several projects at once. That may mean spending two days this week on one project, one day on another, and parts of the remaining days on multiple projects. That may be because when you reach a certain point in each project you have to wait for something (e.g., client approval, a proof, a quotation from another vendor, etc.) before you can continue, or it may be because you are juggling several projects and trying to keep everyone happy.

So overall, if they ask one of these questions, you should get them to focus on the results. If you tell them that the thing you are charging $200 for takes you 15 minutes to do, they will think you are overcharging.

They will not consider, and it may be too difficult to make them understand, that it takes you 15 minutes because you have invested in tools and equipment that give you better results in less time, and that your years of training and experience enable you to do a job in 15 minutes that might take another professional hours. They are likely to fixate on the idea that you are charging them $800 an hour, and nothing you say will convince them that you are worth it. On the other hand, if all they know is that this amazing result cost them just $200, they will be satisfied customers.

Keep the customer focused on the value you provide, not how long it takes you or what your hourly rate is. Then provide value that will keep them coming back for more.
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