As a service provider, having clients come to you and then say “Your prices are too much,” or “That’s out of my budget.” That’s something that is very common and is going to happen to you a lot. Especially as you get more and more experience and your services and skills go up, so will your rate or package pricing, which is totally normal and understandable.
Not all clients are going to be the perfect fit for you. This could be the case for any number of reasons. They might not be a fit because of their budget, or they may not be a fit because they micromanage, or what they actually need is an employee instead of a contractor. There are many ways that a client might not be right for you, but we’re going to go over exactly what to do when a client in particular says that you are too expensive.
1) Don’t adjust your pricing
When I say, “don’t adjust your pricing,” I’m saying, “don’t question your own value.” You know what you are worth, you will have clients that know your worth, and those are the right clients for you. If a client can’t afford you, that’s absolutely fine. What I would do in that case is either one of two options.
Number one, I would either say “Thank you for your time and if anything changes, just let me know.” Case closed. That’s it.
Second option. If it was a client that I was really excited about and is really a perfect fit for me in every other way, I might try to accommodate their budget by picking apart my package or proposal a bit. For example, my lowest package is 10 hours per month, I might try to get them on a five-hour package if I wanted to. This is only if the client is really a dream client for me and it’s someone that I really want to work with. Otherwise, there is no harm in saying, “I appreciate you contacting me. Unfortunately, at this time, with your budget, it’s just not the right fit.”
2) Understand why the client is saying this
You will have a lot of clients who just outright question the cost. With these clients, there are either two reasons.
One, they’re just not aware of the time that it takes to do the service that you’re providing or the amount of time that it’s taken you to get the knowledge and training to do the service that you’re providing. Either way, they don’t understand what is involved in it. I wouldn’t get into it with a client on what exactly they’re getting for their time. If I’m selling a client a package, I’m not going to nickel and dime myself and try to explain it to them. That’s my price and that’s it. If it’s out of their budget, it’s out of their budget, but I am not going to devalue my own worth and the worth of my services because a client can’t afford it.
Number two, the other option for those clients is that there’s the possibility that they have been hiring virtual assistants overseas. I’m in a lot of Facebook groups for virtual assistants, for freelancers. There are a lot of job opportunities posted in these groups. Some of the job opportunities are absolutely incredible, but I would say about 60% of them overall are people that are looking for an overseas VA and they’re expecting to hire them for a fraction of the cost of what it would be for a North American virtual assistant or service provider.
Now, I’m not going to get into why I feel this is wrong (too much). I feel that no matter where you live, you should be paid an accurate wage. I don’t feel like the cost of living should weigh into how much value is put on a skill.
And I don’t think clients realize everything financially that a freelancer or a contractor needs to pay out of their service package or out of their hourly rate.
3) Why it’s important to charge your worth
We generally have to take out of that 30 to 40% for taxes right off the bat. That doesn’t even account for all of the software, all of the training, all of the monthly subscriptions that we have to maintain for our business and for our client’s business. It is absolutely insane to think about how much it actually costs to run a virtual assistant business.
If you’re charging $15 an hour, which is minimum wage here right now, it is totally different than being paid $15 an hour at a minimum wage job. At a minimum wage job, you’re getting $15 an hour minus your portion of taxes.
When you are a business owner, you have to take your portion of taxes out of that $15, and you have to take what normally your employer would pay for taxes out of that $15. Since you are the employer and the employee for your own business, you have to account for both portions of that tax. I don’t think a lot of new virtual assistants and freelancers really consider that when setting rates.
4) Pricing your services
If you are struggling to price your services, or you’re getting a lot of clients that are saying “that you’re too expensive,” try to figure out why. Where are you looking for clients? It would sound like you are looking in the wrong place because I can assure you that no matter what your rate or where you live, you can find good virtual assistant or service jobs online where you are going to be paid what you are worth and what you want to be paid. It may take more time to find those awesome jobs and awesome clients, but please don’t sell yourself short and take a hit on what you know you are worth for a client that just can’t afford it.
Most times, if a client can’t afford it, they might be back in a few months when they can afford it, or they might try hiring somebody for a lower rate, and that’s absolutely fine. The main and important thing to remember is that they are not your ideal clients. And that is okay.