Something I learned very quickly through freelancing is that being faster than the competition, cheaper, or more direct are not selling points for your services. While in theory these may seem like service benefits for customers, they do not work as a business model. I have taken the opportunity to translate what each of these statements really say to the client.
“I guarantee a faster turn around time than my competition.”
This says whenever you call I will drop everything to appease your every need. By saying that you can make sure that you are always the fastest person, you assure the client that they can make up for their own procrastination by calling you. Unless you like pulling all-nighters and dropping everything at the ring of a phone, this should never be a statement that you make. Additionally, the first time you tell the client that you are too busy to drop everything for their project they will find someone else who can and never look back.
“I am value priced compared to my competition.”
This statement essentially tells your clients that you are hungry for work, and gives the impression that you are a “low end” designer. By placing your rate below that of other designers as a tactic to increase demand all you really accomplish is obtaining more mediocre work. Clients actively seeking the value priced designer are rarely looking for designs that solve communication problems, or are expressions of artistic beauty.
“I work directly with you to meet your individual needs.”
This statement tells your client that you are small. While it is acceptable for a freelancer to be small, this statement also implies that you are a yes-man. If you enjoy making decisions for the benefit of your clients and yourself, then you should avoid this statement at all costs. The reason that most designers explore freelance work outside of money is the ability to make their own creative decisions. This statement relinquishes all of this power directly to the client before you even have a chance to use your expertise. This also implies that you will make any revision that the client wishes just to make them happy. This will either push your hourly rate below that of a McDonald’s employee or drive you insane from the endless number of revisions.
In the long-run any of these statements are impossible to maintain. You will either burn out from all the quick turn-around business and low paying work, or go insane from an endless number of revisions. Also there is always the possibility that someone else will come around and offer a service that is faster, cheaper, or more responsive than yours.