It may sound logical (at first), but it’s completely illogical (AKA – the three most annoying questions asked by clients)

Home / Freelancing / It may sound logical (at first), but it’s completely illogical (AKA – the three most annoying questions asked by clients)

Every once in a while in the freelancing world, the client with any of the following „ideas“ pops up. Now, I’m not really sure if this happens in the „real“ world – the world outside of freelancing that is. And I am talking about the world where freelancing is defined as any of the type of work done by someone who is across the globe, done  through any of freelancing agencies, through personal websites or by any other means.

Therefore, if you want to hire someone to complete your project for you, make sure that you NEVER ask them to do any of the following, because if they are professionals, they will turn you down immediately. Myself being at the top of those who will reject you.

„Could you do this below your standard rate so I could see if you are a right match, we have a lots of upcoming jobs with much higher budgets?“

There is a video talking about specs – or actually – video talking about why should you never do specs. There is a 99.9% chance that true professionals will turn you down if you ask them this question. And this is not only because they don’t lower their rates for no obvious reasons. And moreover, this is not only because we all know that there will be no upcoming jobs, but because we know that after we complete the work, you will find someone else and will sell them the same story.

For some reason, freelancing is (still) not considered by some as a „real“ work – perhaps because most of freelancers don’t wake up at 5AM and drive for 2 hours through overcrowded cities, wearing a suit and tie and having those shiny shoes and a briefcase. But believe it or not, freelancing is indeed a real work – the only difference is that clients are not that concerned with who does the job, but how the job is being done and if they are getting the expected quality of work.

I would like to ask people having ideas as above – would you come to Mercedes salon and ask them if they would sell you the newest model at half price and then if you like it, you will pay the full price for the next one? Or – would you ask in a fancy restaurant if you could pay half of the bill and then if you like the food, you will pay the full bill next time? I’m sure you wouldn’t. Let me give you a little secret – there is no difference between freelancers and the waiter or the car salesman. They are all – people.

Make sure you check the video below as well.

„Why do you charge so much? For anyone who knows what they are doing, this is five minutes only“

I agree with the question – why would I charge 50 or 100$ for one line of code? But I disagree with the answer you may consider as the correct one. Because the correct answer is – I’m not charging you for that line of code. I’m charging you for 10 years I spent learning to write that one line of code. Because one of the most frequent sentences you can hear from clients is „wow, this has been bugging me for weeks now, thank you so much!“. So this is where we are with our knowledge and skill. And most of us, back in the day, also spent weeks leaning it. For some reason, we are not inclined to giving it for free. 😛

Consider the following example – famous bands such as U2 charge 150$ or more for tickets to their concerts. These guys can easily earn few millions in one night. So are you paying them for those 2 hours? No you aren’t . You’re paying them for all their brilliant albums and 30 years of a career. Or just think of the piano player (or any other musician) – even if they are playing that piece for 1 hour only, they spent months practicing. So you’re not paying for that hour, but for all those months. Suddenly, that hourly rate doesn’t seem that big, correct?

„I bought a theme for 59$ only, how can you charge 200$ for customization?“

I always liked that one. Let’s not mention that the theme which is being sold for 59$ requires months to be created, sometimes even years, by a team of several professionals. Let’s also forget that if something is being sold for 59$, it is because their work is paid by 1000s of units sold. This is all based on a simple economy. I mean, this is so obvious that I’m wondering how could someone even ask something like this, unless if they are trying to get the work done way below the real jobs’ worth and just pretending that they don’t understand this.  For example, Microsoft Windows retails at 150$ or so, but still there were hundreds, if not thousands of people involved in its production, and it took them years to complete it. But still, they will not charge you 500.000.000$ for that copy, but after all those millions of copies are being sold, they will return all the time and money invested.

So if thinking of hiring a top IT professional, but would like to ask them any of the above questions, let me give you a piece of advice – DON’T!

Thinking otherwise? Feel free to shoot your comments below.

  • Raleigh Leslie

    My name is Raleigh Leslie and I stand behind this article 🙂

    All this all definitely happens frequently outside of just freelancing, although all too often in freelancing.

    Love the musician analogy on the 2nd point. Totally true most concerts are way cheap when you think about all the time that went into creating that experience. Makes it hard to complain about any ticket price to a good show. Then you factor in opportunity cost…

    Nice one Bruno look forward to reading more here. -Raleigh

    • Thank you Raleigh for kind words 🙂