Me: This project would cost [price] EUR. It could be done by [client’s deadline], but only if we start no later than next Monday.
A couple of days later:
Client: I have another proposal for this, and the cost is [more than 80% less] EUR. I’d like you to match it.
We then sent a message explaining our pricing structure and informing him that we couldn’t match the price. We pointed out that it was freelancer pricing; we are an agency, and you can’t expect freelancer pricing from a well-established agency.
We thought it was it, but a week later, we got a message from the client.
Client: So, how about this project we talked about earlier? Are you able to do it by our deadline?
Me: Sorry, but we have already booked our development fully for another three weeks, and we can’t start this project immediately. The earliest we can do it is [new deadline].
Client: Wait, what? Why the h*** didn’t you inform me? It will cost me a lot of money if I miss that deadline.
Me: What do you mean? You yourself informed us that you’d found someone who would do this for the price of [lower price] EUR, and we are unable to match it, as we are not a one-man freelancer. We are an agency, and at least four different highly experienced people would be working on your project. Anyway, why aren’t you working with that person?
Client: I was just assuming this could be the budget. I believe I could have found someone else for that kind of budget. Is there any way you could still do this?
Me: Not on our primary proposal. If the deadline can not be moved, we need to charge more for a rush job. It is a standard procedure in any agency to add a percentage for rush jobs because it means we will need to pay our people for working overtime or weekends.
So, overall, our budget increased by 30%. The client was happy with the outcome of the project, and we are planning future projects, as well. I bet he won’t be using a fake “I have this proposal for [a lower price]; match it” card again.