If you’re in a service based industry, and got a penny for every time you heard it, you’d be a millionaire.
“But Don’t I Get The “Friends and Family Discount”?”
If someone has to ask, the answer is usually an easy “NO”. The only way they really do deserve a discount would be because they have been a huge asset to you or your company as you’ve grown into the independent entrepreneur rock star that you are today.
So the dilemma, “Do I allow it?” or “Should I stick to my guns (aka pricing) and have the uncomfortable conversation as to why not?”
Luckily, we have some solutions for you, so it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable!
Set clear policies
Anyone would take a discount over paying full price, but if you have a strict ‘no discount’ policy with everyone, it makes it easier to stay the course when it comes to friends and family expecting otherwise. If you respect your own time, others will as well.
“Gift” a portion of the project with a note saying why you’re gifting the amount
Family and friends will physically see ON PAPER that you’re giving them the friends and family discount and won’t assume that your already discounted rate is your standard pricing.
Set aside time for these projects
If you’re dead set on doing some free work, or discounted work, set aside a strict time allowance each month to which you can designate this work. This makes it easier to budget your time for your paying clients, and won’t interfere with your packed schedule.
Make it clear in advance
“this is a private offer outside of my regular rates”
This lets your loved one know that you are making an exception for them, and they won’t go around blabbing that “Oh hey! Claire did an entire massage session for me for FREEEEE” PS – Don’t be that guy to blab about private deals to your friends. Just don’t do it. Tell your friends instead that the services you received were awesome, and you’d recommend them to anyone…. PRICE EXCLUDED. Derp.
Offer more flexible payment plans for those you absolutely trust
This makes it clear that they’re definitely still hiring you and paying your rates, but your willingness to work out a payment plan with them allows them to pay for everything in portions. AGAIN – please only trust the people who are worthy of that trust… Like your mother, for example.
Ask for their budget to begin with
While this is an industry standard in web design, some other service based industries may not start with this. Finding this out prior to even beginning a conversation about your services sets the tone for the rest of your interactions. If you can’t work with their budget, send them on to a reliable resource who could handle a tighter budget.
Just say no. – to the discount that is
Explain that you’d love to work together, and if they’d like to hire you, you would be honored. Explain your rates and available time slots, and tell them to make sure that you’re the person they want to work with because you don’t offer a friends and family discount. This makes it clear that to work with you, they have to HIRE you. This is further cemented by the statement of your pricing and availability.
Attempting to avoid awkwardness with friends and family while talking money, pricing, and costs, can be a narrow path to relief, but it can be done.
What have you done to explain that you don’t do the friends and family discount dance, or if you do, how to do tango?
If you have any experience dealing with this, please share with us!