This is a lesson I have to re-learn every once in a while:
If you’re working at the lower limit of your fee range, and the client is at the upper limits of their budget range, step away. Better yet, run.
When it’s small potatoes for you, but a major deal for them, it will go south fast. You will lose money. They will be pissed off. It will be a 360-degree stinker.
The dynamic is easy to understand. If you’re working for bare bones fee on a relatively small project, your goal is to get it done. Be swift, be efficient, be a pro. Then move on.
But their goal, of course, is to get every nickel’s worth of the astronomical fee they’re paying. They want project briefs, target dates, ironclad agreements. More tweaks, more choices. They will want to re-think and over-discuss everything. They will never be sure if it’s good enough.
You will do twice the work for half the fee. And they will still feel gypped. Bad juju all around.
Best work zone: Top of your fee scale (where you’re delighted to be working, and eager to bust one over the fence). . . and the mid-range of the client’s usual budget. (Gee, he does really good stuff. And reasonable, too.)