You’re too expensive!

What to say when a potential client thinks you're too expensive

If you’ve been in the design business for a while, you’ve likely heard this from potential clients before, “you’re too expensive!” or something to that effect, anyhow.

So what do you do?

You’ve got a few options! Here are some handy-dandy email scripts I’ve created that you can copy+paste, and tweak to send to those potential clients!

What to say when a potential client thinks you’re too expensive

Option One – Educate Her on Why You’re Awesome

Hey ____!

I realize that this is a large investment, but I can assure you that I am delivering top-notch service that you won’t receive with a low-cost alternative. I have ____ years of experience and do more than just ____. Included in my services is ____, ____, and ____. I work with you to really make sure that you’re receiving a design that works for you and your brand. By hiring me you’re sure to see results like ____, and ____!

If you’re not ready to invest in your brand, I understand. Please keep me in mind for the future!



Option Two – Ditch Her, She’ll Haggle the Entire Project Anyhow

Hey ____!

I realize that this is a large investment and it sounds like you’re hesitant to invest that much at this time. If in the future you are ready to take your ____ to the next level, please feel free to get in touch!



Dig these scripts? You’ll LOVE my e-book! It’s full of scripts just like these for all those sticky client situations! Get Designer Scripts here!


    • says

      Great response. It’s polite, clear, simple, and relaxed. What I mean by relaxed is that it does not make you sound desperate, annoyed, or hesitant. Love it!

  1. says

    I’ve been dealing with this very same issue for the last week or so. Thanks for the tips. I was beginning to think it was only me LOL

  2. says

    Love these responses! I’ve often opted for the first when people have made those types of comments, but end up wishing I had made the second. I think you’ve definitely got to consider the person, but these are great regardless! :)

  3. says

    This is so true! I think many consumers are used to huge companies who mark everything UP by 60% and then offer a “fantastic” 25% off on a regular basis. Small businesses usually don’t employ this tactic for a reason…because its a crappy way to run a business!!

    It takes guts to tell a client “no” but its soo important to let the world (and yourself) know that you and your products are 100% worth what you charge!

    In my experience, clients who start out asking for a discount (especially huge unreasonable discounts) don’t appreciate your work anyway. Clients who really WANT what you sell understand and know the value of what you offer. They would never dream to ask you to do it for 50% off… they’re just thrilled and excited you offer exactly what they’ve been searching for!

  4. says

    I’m right with Kory on this one! Most often go with #1 and wish I did #2, I’ve definitely gotten better at it and feel like I have good intuition now to know if #1 isn’t even necessary. Thanks for sharing, your ebook is so needed!

  5. says

    So my step-father use to be a car sales men and one piece of advice he gave me that I plan to use in this type of situation (if I want to keep the client) is to offer a discount if they refer you to X amount of people. I thought it was a great alternative.

    Great share Erin. Love the scripts!

  6. says

    Thanks for including these scripts, they’re right on spot. I have a compassionate, pleasing nature and sometimes I feel guilty turning lowballing potential clients away. This hopefully will make it so much easier!

  7. says

    Awesome Erin!!!!! I usually just come up with something off the cuff when I get push back from clients, its such a good idea to have a template in place to use when it happens in the future! thanks!!!

  8. says

    This is so useful, and I am really intrigued about the e-book too. I always struggle with wording emails (and can waste quite a bit of time!) This is a great idea.

  9. Paige says

    Short and to the point. That’s totally the way to go, Erin. Otherwise you spend too much time chasing down dead-end leads. So I really love these!

  10. says

    Great tips! It’s one of the most awkward emails to reply to for sure, the “you’re too expensive” or “why does it cost that much?” email. I’ve found I’m getting less of those since I launched my website, which is kind of strange, because I don’t list prices on there… I’m sure there’s a logical reason to do with psychology or something somewhere. But this will certainly come in handy when the inevitable one comes through!

    You know, I do find it really interesting though the preconceptions people have about how much things SHOULD cost. Whenever people say “that’s too expensive” (well, whenever people close to me say it anyway) I want to ask, “too expensive, compared to what?” “too expensive, for who?” Well, the second answer could easily be “for me” (as in the client) but often? I find that what they’re really saying is, “it’s too expensive for you” as in, “you’re charging too much compared to what I personally think you’re worth.” And yeah, some people charge more than they’re worth, but I find it strange how concerned we all are with how much other people charge. It’s like how weird we are about what other people eat. Does it really affect us? (I don’t mean in the like, devaluing designers community-esque way, I mean personally, like you to me personally) It doesn’t. Yet people get so up-in-arms about it. I don’t think I’d ever tell someone they were “too expensive”. Too expensive for me to afford currently, yes. Too expensive in general? Not really a judgement call I have any right to make.

    Sorry for the novel diatribe. Clearly, I have thoughts on this subject!

  11. says

    Ack! I love that you just give a template. Often people say “ditch em” or “demonstrate value” – but the truth is we understand that – we just don’t know what to say. Problem solved! You’re awesome!

  12. says

    Sometimes I think “it’s cool, go with the lower priced alternative … I’ll see you again in a few months.” And then I do!! Because that bargain turned out to not be such a bargain after all …

  13. says

    Thanks for these scripts, Erin! In my experience the clients who thought I was too expensive and wanted a discount, turned out to be really awful to work with. So I’ll be using script #2 from now on :) I can’t wait for your e-book! Like Kirsty, I struggle with writing responses sometimes and I read it over and over again – wasting a lot of time. Plus, English isn’t my first language so sometimes I don’t know how to explain myself correctly.

  14. WebNerdGirl says

    20+ yr developer and I’ve seen/heard it all. I have two pet peeves. One is the topic of your post. My rates are stupid low yet it is those who know my skills and the quality of my work that are always the first to ask me to “please take it easy on me with the pricing. I need to make a little something for myself”.

    The other…… some salesman who is coming to ME to clean up HIS mess before a client gets fed up and walks and for some reason seems to think he’s qualified to tell ME how to do what he’s screwed up for the umpteenth time and that I’m having to clean up for the umpteenth time.

  15. Stefan the illustrator & designer says

    Hi Erin,
    Excellent respons. Congrats to the spot on choosing of Words and phrases. This text would be perfectly applicable in Swedish as well. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Illustrator & designer, artist

  16. says

    I have just found this post – it is so helpful! I am transitioning to freelance and am going through this with my first client, who happens to be my old full-time employer!

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