When Clients Ask for Discounts

I bought a couple of new jackets recently. One was from G-Star, another from Country Road. They were not cheap, but not unreasonably expensive. I paid the price the shop asked. What I didn’t do was haggle over the price with the shop owner.

As a professional design agency, we have fees. We are not cheap, but we are also not unreasonably expensive. And we always try to be transparent in our pricing. That means that we prefer not to waste my time on price negotiations.

Sometimes, clients contact us and say, “We’d love to hire you. But can we get a discount?”, or better yet “If you look after us now, we will give you more work as our business grows”.  We have found a great way to deal with these discount requests: I simply ask our customers, “Why?”

My usual reply also includes something like this, “Is there a specific reason you believe you are entitled to a discount?” Without my directly saying yes or no, I’ve bounced the question right back to the customer, forcing them to re-consider what they’re asking and to give them a chance to point out something that could be of value to us.

Some clients say they cannot afford our fees, so they’re hoping to get us at half our normal price. Sometimes, they even ask me to do my work for free (LOL). “It will be a great opportunity to present your work!” I hear. But this always just baffles me. I have never considered asking Country Road to sell me a jacket at half the price, or to just give it away for free: “Because it will be a great opportunity to show off your clothes!” Imagine if the world worked like that.

If I find a business too expensive, I wouldn’t have shopped with them. Instead, I would have checked out a cheaper imitation business. So, when faced with the discount question, my next move is to tell clients that I will happily refer them to other design agencies.

Sometimes, clients are so big they consider themselves too important, that the magnitude of their arrogance itself seems to qualify them for a discount. They say “You will be able to add our name to your list of clients!” (again, LOL).

Some clients just love haggling us. My problem with this attitude is that those clients assume that we are overpaid and with some negotiation, it should be possible to talk the fee down to a “proper” price.

Another possibility is that a client assumes that we are so desperately in need of a sale that we are willing to be underpaid, which seems like a lack of integrity on the side of the client. They sometimes say, “You probably have a special price for friends,” to which I might reply, “I have many friends and our fee is what they pay. I assume you want me to treat all my friends equally and fairly?”

We don’t say “no” to clients who ask us for a discount. We just ask “Why?” because it’s possible that they have a very good reason? It comes down to customising the value of the exchange.



The only time we would agree to give a discount is if we get something in return. In exchange for a discount you ask your client to give you something which is important or of value to you. Then you will find that your client stops and thinks about it for a minute, usually with a reply of ‘OK, we see you’re point’.


At the end of the day don’t sell yourself short. No one will value you. Set a fair price for your services.

Most of us set way too low a price. Put it a little higher than you would normally be inclined to do. The worst that can happen is someone will say no.



How To Write A Design Brief


How does a client get the design they want? The perfect design you dream about in your head? … Writing a design brief is the answer.

Whether you are a designer or a client, an effective design brief is the most important factor in ensuring that a project is successful straight away.

This article will tell you how to write a design brief that will be both beneficial to the client and design agency.

This article will be based from the client’s perspective though.

1. What Is A Design Brief?

What is a design brief? A design brief is something that is critical to any design project as provides the designer with all the information needed to meet and exceed your expectations.

A design brief should focus on the results and outcomes of the design and the business objectives of the design project. It should not try to deal with the aesthetics of the design. That is the responsibility of the designer.

The design brief also allows the client to focus on exactly they want a designer to achieve before any work starts.

A good design brief will ensure that you get a high quality design that meets your requirements, providing you have chosen the right design agency.

2. How To Write A Design Brief

Answer these questions below and your design brief will be nearly finished… the rest will come from questions from the design agency after you submit the brief.

Answer the questions and remember, to provide as much detail as possible! Please this does not mean one line answers, the more you explain, the easier it is for the design agency.

What does your business do?

Be concise and clear 

  • What does your company / organisation do?
  • What is your company’s history?

What are the goals?

  • What are you trying to communicate and why?
  • What is the overall goal of the new design project?
  • Are you trying to sell products or raise awareness of your products / service?
  • How do you differ from your competitors?
  • Do you want to completely rebrand yourself, or are you updating your products / service?

Who is the target market?

  • What is your target market’s psychographics & demographics ie. age, gender, income, tastes, views, attitudes, employment, geography, lifestyle, trends, habits.

What content is needed?

The copy and pictures used in a design are crucial as the design itself and you should clearly state who is going to be providing the copy and pictures.  You may need to look into getting a professional copywriter / photographer – ask your design agency for some recommendations.

  • What copy is to be included in the design? And who is providing the copy?
  • What pictures / photographs / diagrams / infographics etc need to be used? And who is providing these?

What are the specs?

  • What size is the design going to be? i.e A4, A3, DL, etc.
  • Where is it going to be printed? Is it online, business cards, stationery, or signage on your car?
  • What other information should the designer know in regards to specifications?

Have you got something already in mind?

  • You should provide the design agency with some examples of what you feel to be effective or relevant to your design, even if it is from your main competitors (you can learn a lot from your competitors). This can help set a benchmark for your design agency.
  • Provide the design agency with things not to do. This will give the designer an idea of what to avoid and will avoid you being disappointed.

What Is Your Budget?

  • Providing the budget upfront allows the designers to know if the project is going to be worthwhile to complete.

What is the deadline?

  • Give the design agency a detailed schedule and set realistic deadlines for the completion of the work. You need to take into account the stages of the design project such as consultation, concept development, production and final delivery.

Rushing jobs helps no one and mistakes can be made if a job is pushed through without time to review.

And now a tip For The Design Agency

As a design agency it is important to have a template such as this to give to clients on your first meeting. By having a template ready, it shows them your’e professional and saves them (and you) a lot of time and money.