Scarlett Letter #141: AE firms—don’t discount your price!

Architects, engineers, and interior design professionals…..why oh why do you acquiesce to clients when they ask you to ‘sharpen your pencil’, aka reduce your fee? Don’t do it.

Or, let me rephrase. If you honestly built your fee based on value (and perhaps cross-checked it with the man hours it will take to complete the project), then don’t discount your price.

In lieu of reducing your fee, here’s what you can do:

-Reiterate the value they are getting for your proposed original price.
-Re-confirm the scope details and timeline. (And—if you are competing with other firms—confirm that everyone is working from the same data set.)
-Reduce the scope. This is what I do most often. If the prospect balks at my fee, I ask them (yet again) about their budget for the project. By then, if they give me an actual firm number, then I back into that number with my recommendations as to the very most value I can give them for their price.  I’m also crystal clear (in writing) about managing their expectations on outcome if we reduce the scope.

You are professionals. You should take pride in your work and the value that you bring to the client. Don’t let them take advantage of you or beat you down. If none of the above options work for you, then maybe it’s time to reconsider if they are a client worth having in the first place.

Please feel free to email me directly with any of your stories of how you stood strong on a price.

Tags: AE client relationships, AEC pricing, Anne Scarlett A/E Marketing, construction industry fee proposals, linkedin, professional services sales, Scarlett Consulting AEC business development

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April 17, 2012