Can I get a discount? Tips on dealing with the question

can I get a discount

It's kind of crazy when you think of it

You hear the same thing a lot if you're a freelance developer in the WordPress community:

  • “Can I get a discount?”
  • “You'll throw that in, right?”
  • “If you discount this project, I have more later.”

I've already told you that discounts don't work. Remember?

And I told you that I, personally, don't ask the question – especially when I've spent some of my budget already.

But how can you deal with the question?

Here are three tips for dealing with the question, because you know you'll hear it – either today, tomorrow or soon.

Offer to break up payments by milestone delivery

One of the things people are saying, when they ask about getting a discount, is that they don't have the cash right then.

That's a cash flow problem, not a value problem.

So if that's the case, using a milestone approach to payments makes it easy to get started without making a large payment (like a 50% deposit).

Offer functional alternatives that cost less (but offer less)

I often get email requests for project help. In the request I get some level of scope and some level of budget.

It won't shock you that they don't always match. But I don't get mad, because customers aren't doing it to be insulting.

Sometimes they just don't know where costs come in.

So I tell them that their scope is ok, but doesn't match their budget.

Then I highlight what could be done for that budget – which often takes away some complexity or custom code, and replaces it with pre-made code that has less nuanced features.

Sometimes clients are totally fine with that. Other times, they realize that the feature is critical and worth spending the money on.

Some people call it a work-around. But some clients won't see it that way. Instead, they'll see that you've solved a problem for them at a budget they can handle.

Invite them to participate

One of the strategies most freelancers skip past is the approach that has you invite customers to take on some of the work themselves.

I know, you're thinking, “if they could do it, they wouldn't come to me in the first place.”

But let me explain what I'm talking about.

Your client, if you are building them a website, will likely need it hosted.

Who sets up the hosting? Who configures the server? Who manages the backups?

It doesn't have to be you, if they have someone who can do it.

Most freelancers just assume it will be part of what they have to do.

Don't assume.

Because as you remove things from your “to do” list, it's easy to lower a bill.

But server management is just one idea. You could also consider off-loading any of these items:

  • Content loading
  • Copywriting (if you offer this)
  • Photo work – selection, sizing, etc
  • Editing / proof-reading (if you offer this)
  • Content migration (if you offer this)

Any of these things could help you shape your quote.


It can easily be frustrating to hear the question. I love, in the video above, the look on service provider faces as they try to figure out what is going on.

But these strategies hopefully help you create ways to partner with your prospect to turn them into a client without reducing your value.