Freelance Novice Needing Advice

Hello Everyone,

I am just as my title suggests, very new to freelancing, in fact I've built my first prototype for a potential client. I'm scheduled to meet with them in a week or so and I know the subject of cost will come up.  I really don't know what say.

It is a short interactive topic introduction that reinforces a subject that is covered during a face to face seminar. The hope is to load it on the organization's website and encourage visitors to access the session.

It is five slides built in Storyline, one of the which has 11 layers. There is audio and the user has control to view the content on the 11 layer slide in any order they choose. There is also a quiz at the beginning of the session that introduces the topic. It took me approximately 20 hours to build.

What do you suggest I provide as a rate? With this being my first endeavor my goal is to build an online presence. However this client has the potential to want more. If I start too low, that will be the expectation, if I start too high, I could lose the opportunity, It's a non-profit organization.  

Can someone advise me?

5 Replies
Bruce Graham


OK - this may sound harsh, but it is meant with kindness. Cost is not what you should be looking at, ever, as the primary subject. You need to look at the VALUE you create for them. If you start with a cost-based conversation you will forever be held to that. Base the conversation on VALUE,  and the value that you can bring to them, you IMMEDIATELY elevate yourself above the rest of the suppliers, and can flex your price in all kinds of ways.

What will your work save them, or gain for them? 

For example...

Let's assume their F2F training costs them £100,000k, and they are asking for "reinforcement", then do they feel the $100k is being wasted, or only $40k, or what? Your VALUE is pricing against that (potential) loss. 

Ultimately it IS a conversation that comes down to cost, but do not just quote a fee at them, or they will just counter with a lower fee. It's much harder for them to argue with a figure that has been created by them.

Now...this figure can be sliced and diced in a number of ways - a project fee, 50% up-front, an hourly rate with a 10% contingency, and so on, but NEVER negotiate based on "cost" per se. If you have a few weeks, get a couple of books on solution selling / value selling. 

Also - remember that "non profit" organisations often have LOADS to spend, that's what makes them "non-profit" - they plough back into the effectiveness of the organisation. Non-profit organisations often try to play the "...we have no money" card, often that's just not true. They are all about making (and spending) as much money as any commercial organisation, it's just that the accounting is done in a different way!

Make sure you read this thread, all of it, twice :)

Hope that helps you, and good luck.

Bruce Graham

PS - it's also normally perfectly OK to ask them what their budget/expected budget is - and then you can see if the two sides match. Pricing and negotiation should not really be an adversarial process. You start the "close" the instant you first speak to a new client, then getting the PO just becomes a formality between business partners on an equal footing at the end. You need to be prepared to walk away if needed. That's hard for your first job, but make sure your first job is based on agreed rules, not just their rules.