It is often difficult to find out your client’s budget. While some may reveal it, others will want to get a quote from you first. However, with some explanation regarding the benefits of a disclosed budget, some clients will talk money with you early in the process and this will often save you time and improve your relationship with the people you design for. Please note that these ideas are suggestions, and how you deal with your own clients should always depend on your existing relationship with them and personal preference.
Save Time for Both You and the Client
A lot of time can be spent meeting with clients, researching projects, and writing proposals. As your business grows, and the number of project inquiries you receive increases, it is important to identify which of these leads you can devote time to. Often, this will be based on the client’s budget. While it is clear that knowing the budget can save you a lot of time by turning down projects quickly, how can this be explained to the client as a benefit to them? Simply, if you identify a project as not being a good fit for you early on, you will also save the client a great deal of time. It is likely that the client is getting quotes from several designers, and pulling yourself from the running is one less meeting for them to have and one less proposal to read. Let the client know that getting an idea of their budget and time frame at the start can help you identify whether or not the project is a good fit for both of you. Of course, this requires you to have an idea of your minimum budget requirements for different types of projects.
Determine the Type and Level of Service You Provide
After learning a client’s budget, whether or not you take on the project is not always a simple “yes” or “no.” Let the client know that by revealing their budget, you can potentially change various aspects of the project while still providing a quality product. In printed pieces, the printer used, paper options, turnaround time, document size and other variables can greatly affect the cost. In website projects, you can often delay certain features until a later date. You may also offer less initial concepts for a design or adjust the time frame to work with a lower budget. If you know the client’s budget, you can write a proposal that matches it rather than making educated guesses on some of these variables and coming in too high or low.