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Going Cheap – Is It The Right Way?

You, as a designer have started your own small company, created a wonderful portfolio, and also kept your price down. Now, you’re waiting for clients to come.

But something seems to be wrong. It has been quite a long time and you are not getting as much work as you had expected. Seems like people are ready to pay more and go to other designers rather than coming to you.

Now, you’re thinking, what’s gone wrong?

Well, this kind of thing happens to many of us. Starting your own entity is a very tough thing to do, much tougher than what it looks. Also, every business has its risks, whatever calculations we have done behind it, it can go wrong. We can see even big and established companies have failed with their business strategy despite having highly paid executives in their stables. One wonders what these executives are paid for.

Well, leave that, that’s their problem; let us look at our own problem. Our problem is, despite keeping our price down no one seems to be rightly interested.

But, isn’t it what people like, good products at low price?

No, my friends it is not always like that.

Cheap products even if they are of good quality don’t always attract customers.


To get the answers we must look at the pros and cons of the situation. As you will see the positives are very less but the negatives are far more in number.

First we look at the positives.

  1. Everybody likes to save. Yes, it’s true that everybody wants to save money. If some product is available somewhere at a cheaper price, people will surely like to buy it.
  2. Even big companies give out sales. That’s again a right point. Every big company in this world sometimes gives discounts to its customers. And everybody likes it; in fact, people buy more during sales than in another period.
  3. Gain more clients. Yes, by being cheap you can attract new clients and can become known in the job arena. Even if eventually clients don’t take your services they will surely like to take a look at your work. This will make you known to them and may bring work to you later on.

That’s all! Yes, that’s all.

As we can see there are only a few good points in favor. So, let’s look at the negatives.

  1. Apprehension or Prejudice. People have an apprehension that, cheap products are of inferior quality than products that are highly-priced. We always think twice before buying cheap products. We always ask ourselves, why someone is giving it out for a lesser price than some other person, is it really of good quality? So, this can be very hurtful for your business. Your prospective clients may feel that your work is of inferior quality and that’s why your price is low.
  2. The sale isn’t always a one-time thing. It’s true that most companies hold sales and give out discounts on their product. But sale or discount is given only for a limited period, especially during festival time. It is not a permanent thing.
  3. Your profitability may suffer. You are doing work at a very low price and also gaining some clients. But after some time you find that your income is much less or is just about equal to your expenses. Yes, this can happen, and remember it happens. Even big companies are not immune to this, or you may have never seen so many big companies falling apart in recent times.
  4. You hurt the community. You have kept your price below every other designer and you are getting some work. But this situation can trigger a price war. Some other designer may start to offer lower rates than yours and someone may offer rates that are still lower. The situation can get worse and eventually, everybody will lose and it will be a loss to the whole design community. You can be thrown out of the community. Remember it’s not a good thing to be alone.
  5. Get branded as inferior. I have said earlier that people have apprehensions about cheap products and their producers. Because of this you and your work may get branded as being inferior, though in reality, this may not be true. This is a very difficult situation to get out of; whatever you do you may not be able to get this thought out of people’s minds. In the end, you may not be able to get good and highly paid work. This will really be a great loss.

So, from the above, it becomes quite clear that keeping the price low does not guarantee work coming to your doorstep. But, now a question arises, if keeping a low price is detrimental in getting work, then what should be a good price.

There are actually many things we should think about before setting the price for our work. These areas below.

  1. Your experience and previous work. This is one of the most important factors to consider before setting the price for your work. If you are a novice and starting without any previous experience or with very little experience then you can keep your price low. But if you have enough experience then it’s quite a bad idea to keep your price down. It is undervaluing your potential. The more experience you have the more you set your price.
  2. Competitive pricing. Your price should be competitive, not too high or not too low. As a low price is detrimental to your business so is a price that is too high.
  3. Learn from your competitors. It’s a good thing to know your competitor’s price. You can keep a price close to what your competitor is offering. But before offering that price be sure to take care of a few points, like is affordable to you and also to your client.
  4. Set your price according to your target client. This is another very important aspect to think about. First, make it clear to yourself what kind of clientele are you looking at. You can set a different price for different clients, like one amount for corporate clients and another amount for small businesses. Big companies are ready to spend a lot of money on this kind of work. They want good output from you and for that, they are quite ready to spend a large amount. But, if your client is a small businessman/businesswoman or a small organization then you have to keep the price low. Small businesses have limited budgets, but they also want good work. So, keeping a price that is affordable to these kinds of organizations is very important. But whatever price you may charge or whatever type of work you may get always try give out your best. Your work should not be based on the price. It should never reflect the budget of your client.
  5. Locality. Another aspect to be taken into mind is the locality or the area that you run your business. Quite often we get work from the local area. There are lots of business owners who don’t have time to go to far places; they look for designers in their own locality. Getting their work done by a local designer saves them a lot of time, as they may need to pay a visit to the designer more than once. So, take care of the locality you are working in. If it’s a middle-class sort of area then keep your price a little lower and easily affordable to the people in that area. But, if you are working in an upmarket posh area, then never keep the price down. People in this area will surely hesitate to come to you. So, if you are working in an upmarket area your price should also be upmarket.
  6. Explainable. Whatever price you set for your work you should be able to explain the reason behind it. Clients will be more willing to pay you if they know the reason behind your price. So, think of a good and explainable reason behind your pricing and be ready to explain it to your customer.

I hope these points will help you set the right price for your work. But, as I have said earlier, never compromise with the quality of your work. Your work should not reflect the price you are charging. You should always be true to your work.

P. S. – For another point of view on how to set a price for your work you can also tryout the article titled “How Much To Charge Clients”  in this site.

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