Bad Client Series : The Cheapskate

Bad Client Series : The Cheapskate

You don’t want to deal with a cheapskate.

Almost everyone loves to get a discount. As a freelancer or business owner, it’s very likely that your clients will regularly ask you for a discount on your services or products. This is not bad in itself as it’s normal human nature to get more for less.

However, there are a group of people that take this bargaining to the extreme level. They just love to do this all the time and shamelessly too.

I call these kind of bad clients ‘The Cheapskate’.

Cheap isn’t really about the total dollar value, but it’s about the amount and quality of work you’re putting in compare to how much the client is willing to pay you for it.

Cheapskates love it when you use competitive rates and position yourself as the most affordable in the industry.

The worst part of it is that cheapskates are very demanding, so most times, they require the same amount of work as higher paying clients — if not higher.

I found two interesting stories that depict the typical behavior of the typical cheapskates.

Google Ads Campaign is Too Expensive

I was discussing a Google Ads marketing strategy and social media project with a lawyer who worked in a large city.

Me: What’s your budget for Google Ads ?

Client: About $300 a month. I don’t want to pay anything more than I need to.

Me: That’s not very much. It could cost you a lot more to see the results you are seeking. But the ROI could be worth it. How much are you willing to pay someone to work on this marketing project? There are a lot of other considerations and topics to discuss, such as SEO and your social media strategy.

Client: I am looking to pay someone about $25 per hour, no more than 5 hours per week. You’re not charging me for this conversation, are you?

Meanwhile, earlier in the conversation he’d dropped that he’s going on a very expensive vacation and was very proud of himself.

I decided to move on from this “opportunity” pretty quickly. End of story.

Here is the next one…

Ilustrations For Pennies

A cheapskate wants illustration for pennies.

Client: I want 10 elaborate illustrations. I will have full rights to the characters within, and you will only have permission to use up to three of these drawings in your portfolio. Oh, I am going to pay this outta my pocket by the way 🙂

Me (thinking): I’m not sure where else they would pay from.

Client: Let’s meet near my house because I have to pick up Suzy from school

No, I don’t know who Suzy is. I guess their daughter. Anyway, I had to drive far out of my way to meet them.

I arrived at the coffee shop, showed some proposals, and gave them a quote. Believe me: it wasn’t expensive. Client: (visibly upset) You charge this much for your little drawings? And you say I only have the rights to use these images for this project, and not for upcoming ones?

Me: We can negotiate future use of the characters, but if you want future use of the intellectual property that will cost more.

Client: (indignant) GOODBYE.

I drove nearly an hour for a meeting that lasted less than five minutes ( haha ).

Cheapskates are just bad for so many reasons:

  • their entire focus is mainly on the price and not the value of the project to them
  • you don’t make much money at the end of the deal
  • they don’t value your time at all
  • they don’t care about your business growth and won’t refer you for more work

Never position yourself as the cheapest in the industry, that’s very dangerous as you will keep attracting these cheapskates. It is fine to use the market rates as baseline but value yourself much higher.

By the skillful use of empathy, you will easily know when they are being a cheapskate.

Don’t waste you time with these kind of clients. Fire them politely and professionally. Spend you time finding and attracting clients that deserve your time and skills.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you have questions or comments, please use the comment box below.

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Thank you!