On My Own

A Personal Journal
by Davood Denavi

Negotiate or Discount Prices?

Everyone loves discounts. When a business provides services that require meeting deadlines and do not return a tangible product the equivalent of a discount is negotiation of prices. As a website developer who has only worked on contracts. I have always negotiated my rates.

There was only one time where I discounted them not including what I refer to people as my “friends and family discount” which is me charging friends and family hourly instead of flat rate. That was July of 2020 when I started offering new clients a maintenance package at the end of a contract. From May until the end of September I was prorating the maintenance package I already offered to clients who I had completed a new project with out to a January 1, 2022 renewal date. Only one of those clients actually took the offer. The other three still work with me but decided they did not need the maintenance offer and have never signed up for it. They pay me on a project basis, then when that project is over they call me the next time they need my services.

Then October 2020 I was offering clients who were with me before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic the same prorated package that I was offering new clients all summer. All of my clients who were already on the maintenance took the prorated pricing and signed on through January of 2022.

Then in January of 2021 I stopped waiting for a contracts to be concluding to offer the prorated price on maintenance and started including one year of maintenance in the proposal since I sometimes include hosting in my proposals and hosting requires the maintenance. This was always one year of maintenance/hosting from the website going live since my goal for 2021 was to pick up five clients who needed new websites or website redesigns.

I reached that goal and three of those clients signed on to the maintenance after the one year that was built into their initial contract. One of them was already a hosting client and kept the hosting.

While it might be smarter to offer discounts on services than negotiate I will always negotiate and offer prorated pricing for long term things like hosting and maintenance while negotiating contract projects that have a hard out because i charge flat rates and when technical problems arise fixing them is included in the flat rate I included in my proposal. Charging flat rates has generally worked better for me when I am not working with a marketing agency who I have a retainer with and discounting flat rates leads to a poorer quality of work as well as a much lower average hourly rate. As a result, I will never discount my services.