Say No to Discounting! What You Give Up When You Lower Your Rates


Not to be a nag (because certainly we have talked about not lowering your rates before), but we need to talk about your habit of discounting. It’s bad. Real bad.

Yes, I understand that prospects push to try to get a deal. Yes, I get that sometimes it means you don’t get the sale. Yes, I know that sometimes you may even want to give someone a break because they need your help.

Hear me when I say: you do not have to put yourself on sale…EVER.

There are so many other ways to win the business and unfortunately, what we put up with, we get more of. So if you train your clients to expect you to cut them some slack, guess what? Those clients are never ever going to pay you what you are worth. They are ALWAYS going to wait for a sale.

Let’s talk about what you give up when you lower your rates…

Potential Opportunities – Taking on something on for less than what you should be charging costs you other potential opportunities, especially if you have limited time or inventory (which most of us do). Stay focused on attracting your ideal customers who recognize your value and are willing and able to pay full price. Those are the clients who understand your true value.

Quality Delivery – Attempting to maintain reasonable profitability tempts us into rushing or putting a little less effort into it, which in turn means you are delivering less. Instead of discounting, be honest with yourself (and the potential client) about what it takes to get the job done right and reduce the scope of work in order to meet a target budget.

Industry Reputation – Agreeing to cut your rates will ultimately hurt your reputation within your industry and your business circle. Trust me when I say, people talk (and they will share the deal you gave them with others). Earn the reputation of charging what you are worth and delivering amazing quality! Value isn’t calculated on time versus money! Shift your thinking to how what you do impacts their bottom-line!

Future Profit – Undercharging leads to more (you guessed it) undercharging. So that little discount you give today can (and will) impact your ability to charge others full price in the future (see above for the reason). It’s better to just learn how to close the sale without defaulting to the discount.

Expert Status – Dropping your rates faster than a two-dollar you know what (ahem…rhymes with CHORE) means sacrificing your expert status. People might not say it, but they will think it, “A true expert who was good at what they do wouldn’t cut their rates.” It’s a quirk of psychology that has been proven over and over again that people associated quality with price.


About Author

Carla Young, Publisher If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. During her early days as a mom entrepreneur, Carla made every single mistake in the book (and a few new ones for good measure). Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. After other mothers started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla launched to support moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!


  1. Pingback: Weekly Rewind: January 14th Edition | Adam Dukes | Life as a Solopreneur in Sin City

  2. Amen! I’m pained when I see a mark up to mark down price point.
    I never want to violate a relationship with a previous client. Unfortunately, I feel that’s what you do when you offer a discount and your full price client hears about the discount!

  3. Oh, I’m guilty of doing those things. I recently sent a proposal to a client and discounted my rates by about 30% to make up for a client I lost. I feel bad about discounting but she’s a startup and I would like to help her.

    But I did feel guilty afterwards. I felt that I am doing myself a disservice. For the rest of year, I will strive hard not to do that again.

  4. Hi Carla,

    Thank you for this reminder. What you said is true. Lowering our rates, giving a discount, is a temptation that often plague us especially when we suddenly lose a client. What we often fail to keep in mind is that it’s the value that we deliver to our clients that we are being paid for. And if we can only articulate that in every situation we may never find ourselves haggling and giving discounts.


  5. @twitter-16261638:disqus Thanks!

    It’s a very common challenge for solopreneurs (because often they get bullied into taking lower rates because “they don’t have overhead”, etc.). Complete BS!

  6. @sleeperific:disqus You are exactly right! Giving new clients a discount is rewarding the wrong behavior! Reward your best clients by giving them a special rate for committing to work with you on an ongoing basis!

  7. @twitter-38244692:disqus Good for you for making a commitment not to discount. The better approach is to offer bonuses and surprise benefits to enhance the relationship. Consider offering clients a downloadable resource kit as a gift that adds to what they get without taking away from your bottom line!

  8. @twitter-139655421:disqus You are welcome!

    It’s tough when you lose a client because you go into panic mode thinking you need to make up that lost revenue. What’s important to remember is how much more you have to work to get to your target revenues if you discount (and that means you have less time to dedicate to business development).

  9. great reminder. thanks, Carla. When I was first starting out all those years ago, that was a bad habit of mine. But learned quickly it would hurt me in the long run.

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