My Home Inspector Blog

Discounting Your Fees In Exchange For A Promise

Have you been asked about discounting your fees in exchange for a promise of future business? "If this works out well, I have A LOT morgullible teste work to send your way. Take that into consideration when sending me your quote."

I used to have a bad habit of actually believing what people told me. That's not really such a bad thing, but from a business standpoint, it can be a huge (and expensive) liability.

So, you find yourself discounting your fees in exchange for future work. Everyone's happy, right?

But here's the real question:

How can you place value on something that doesn't yet exist?

roll the dice

Just how valuable is the "future work" that you don't yet have? The "future work" that doesn't exist? Can you pay your bills with that? What happens when that "future work" doesn't show up for 9 months, or at all?

You have actually created a bigger problem:

You've been framed as a discounter!

Deep in the dark corner of your client’s mind, their perception of you has forever shifted. Whether you realize it or not, you've set the expectation of what it means to do business with you. You've planted the seed that discounting your fees is possible, and you have "free money" to give away. From now on they'll be asking themselves, "How low will he go?" Once you've been framed, you will never alter their perception of you… ever!

Many believe discounting your fees will bring you more business. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? It’s not that easy! There's an “invisible” cost that comes with discounting your fees.

The hidden cost of discounting.
open mind

You will only be able to understand the "hidden cost" of discounting your fees by peering inside the head of your client and seeing how your discount affects their perception of your business. Your actions will erode your client’s perception of you, your value, and your business. Discounting your fees will make you look desperate, needy, and weak. Clients are not attracted to those who are desperate, so quit creating that perception!

The smart way to discount.

If you feel you must, discounting your fees can be a powerful tool in your bag of tricks, but use it in a smart way. Don't be discounting your fees without getting something in return. That shifts the scales and makes the overall value exchange completely lopsided. When the value exchange is lopsided, you hurt your credibility, your bottom line, and the prospect for future business. If you truly believe your client needs your valuable services more than they need their money (and if you don’t, you should!), then why in the world would you demand anything less for your services than the maximum price the market will bear?

Here's one way of discounting your fees in a way that actually helps you:

When your client says, "How about a discount?", "Yes" or "No" are not your only answers. This is your chance to get creative. If there is future work, how about discounting your fees 10 or 15% in exchange for payment for the next project now? That's a real value exchange. The client gets their discount. You get a boost to your cash flow.

Here's the bottom line:

Never ever screw up the value exchange in a business relationship. If you give something, ask for something. Discounting your fees and receiving nothing concrete in return is a business killer.

Here are two phrases you should repeat to yourself until you feel it:

1. I don't need the business.

2. I don't need the money.


These two ideas will prevent you from making stupid business decisions and will allow you to operate from a position of strength. There is never any logical reason for discounting your fees in return for a promise of future business other than to be nice, and "nice" will not keep your business afloat in this economy!

CREIA verify logo

The next time you're asked about discounting your fees in exchange for a promise of future business, keep your focus where it should be- on the exchange of real value between you and your client! Steve Stenros- First Choice Inspections is a CREIA MCI and ICC home inspector serving southern California. He can be reached at 888-335-3040.

Originally posted at First Choice Inspections




             Steve Stenros, MCI         Biz card photo

             Master CREIA Inspector #0115

             ICC Residential Combination Inspector #5251439

             Certified Infrared Thermographer #7791

                                       FHA/HUD Inspector- #V975

                                       203k Consultant #S0611



My Recent Home Inspector Blogs:

If You Have These Smoke Alarms, Get Rid Of Them!

The Three Most Common Write-Ups At A Home Inspection

May I Get You Some Carbon Monoxide?

La Jolla Home Inspector Offers Tips On Buying A Foreclosure

Home Inspection Tech Tips: How To Clean Your Rain Gutters

Vacant Homes: Turning Utilities On- San Diego Home Inspector

Sharp-Tipped Screws Are A Hazard To A Home Inspector!

San Diego Home Inspector Goes North

Have You Checked Your Egress Windows?- Encinitas Home Inspector

The New Carbon Monoxide Detector Law In California

"Four Tips For Garage Door Safety"- Encinitas Home Inspector

My Home Inspector Said Aluminum Wiring Will Catch My House On Fire!

Does Your Weep Screed Weep?- Temecula Home Inspector

Deck Repair Gone Awry!- Del Mar Home Inspection

A Home Inspector's ActiveRain Success Story

Comment balloon 71 commentsSteve Stenros • September 06 2011 01:35AM
Discounting Your Fees In Exchange For A Promise
Have you been asked about discounting your fees in exchange for a promise of future business? "If this works out well, I have A LOT mor e work to send your way. Take that into consideration when sending me your quote. " I used to have… more