I recently had a few cases where I had the opportunity to charge for services and projects clients were looking to get done. In each case I had a choice to make. I’d like to think I did the right thing in all 3, though some would disagree.
Here are the cases:
Case 1: a client of mine had a few projects they wanted to get done before the end of the year. While we were estimating time and cost, I figured out a way to handle one of the big requirements in such a way that it wouldn’t cost the client a dime. Now, they were expecting to pay upwards of $1000 or more for this new requirement alone. But I did the right thing and showed them an alternative which as I said would cost them nothing.
Case 2: I had a client looking for me to install a new feature to their site. Similar to Case one they were expecting to pay and had even budgeted for the project. But again when looking for solutions I found a cost effective one that I could implement for free.
Case 3: One of my clients does a lot for charity. They were working on a nonprofit project and entrusted me to build and manage the site for them. This was coming entirely out of their pocket, and all the proceeds will go to the charity. When I got done and was creating the invoice, I discounted it greatly. To me that is the essence of doing nonprofit work. It isn’t just another client. It is somebody looking to do good in this world.
So all these cases point out that perhaps I am not the greatest businessman that ever lived. But I would counter that this makes me a better, smarter businessman.
Why, you ask?
On the short-term I cost my self revenue, there is no doubt about that. But in the long run, all three of these clients were thrilled and I can count on referrals down the road. Too many companies look for the big hit and don’t take a long term view of their business. Loyalty is a big deal in business and especially during the pandemic. Now, I am not telling you not to bill for your services, that is your right. But once you have good clients, treat them fairly, and you will prosper in the long run. As I have been doing this since 1996, I think my hypothesis is proven.