Freelance pros take the zeros out of project bids. Here's why.

Jun 16, 2014

Here’s a really simple piece of pricing advice that always works: cut the zeros.

Let’s say you’re doing an interior design project for a client. You list out all the services you’ll provide in your proposal, and then you give them a project fee: $5,000.

The client balks. Even though you provided a breakdown of how you got to that number, they want a breakdown of your hours or an itemized list of expenses. They try to haggle you down another $500.

What would happen if you quoted them a price of $5,180?

I bet your client would be happier. A specific number has greater meaning because it looks like you calculated your cost exactly. You took the time to break down all the custom component costs, and come up with a number for their needs -- not just the number you normally quote. $5,180 looks like an unrounded number with no padding.

I’ve seen it time and time again: clients don’t like zeros. It wakes up their never-far-away suspicion that freelancers pad their quotes and are trying to milk them dry. It’s a law of non-even price numbers that marketers have employed for centuries.

If you’re pricing your services right -- based on true value -- you will not be lying to your clients. This is not about misrepresenting yourself. It’s about making the proposal and bid process smoother.

This is not always going to make your clients happy. But try it and you may see a difference.

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