Ideally, you don’t want to haggle over a project like a rug merchant in a Babylonian bazaar. That’s out of pro mode.

But some clients are just compelled to bargain. Others may find themselves under-budgeted or caught short or under pressure from a boss. Whatever.

Simple technique. (Used since ancient Greece, I’ve heard.)

Always frame the discussion around the smallest possible numbers.

1. You quote 1400 for a set of web templates. Client says “The other guy charged only 1200,” or . . .  ”But last time, it was only 1200.”

Get away from those big numbers.  Focus on the difference. Which is a mere 200.

You say, “But for that 200, you’re getting my ingenious designs.”  (Said with a straight face, of course.) Or, “Is the 200 more critical than getting everything done and tested before launch?”  Or, “Would that 200 be an issue for the company at this point?”  (Who would admit to that?)

2. You’re quoting an hourly fee of 85. (Although, I assume, you are only quoting hourly because the client insists on it. Or because you have no idea where the project is going.)

Client says, “We normally don’t go higher than 75 per hour for UX.”  You start talking about the 10. “I hear you. If the 10 is an issue in the scope of the project, I’m probably not a good fit. But otherwise, I’d be ready to start on Friday.”

3.  You’re quoting a project hourly. (Again only because they insist on it.)  You quote hours. Not total fee.  “I’d estimate 8 to 10 hours for the php modifications, and another 4 to 6 for some testing on the staging server.”  Don’t do the math for them.

4.  The client wants you to write a series of promotional emails.  “If you’re looking for a series of six emails, they would run about 650 each.” 

Small numbers sell better.

Which is, incidentally, exactly how you convince yourself when you’re standing there in the Apple store trying to decide between the 16 Gb and 32 Gb iPad.  It’s not about the $600.  You’re thinking, “Yeah, but for just $100, I’d get double the space. All my movies, 6,234 songs. Like $100.”

Small numbers, bigger fees.