My main reason for discouraging this practice of offering discounts is that it cheapens what you are doing. It undermines all your hard work. Why would you give away your expertise, your time, your knowledge, (not to mention your sweat, your back-aches, your knee problems, carpal tunnel and shoulder swelling) for practically free?
Most of you reading this post will respond that its because you want to be nice. Its definitely OK to be nice to people - however being nice in this case does not equate to a livable wage. You will promptly put your (nice) self out of business if you give discounts. You will feel discouraged and broke and go into fear mode. If you are doing this, (giving discounts) stop it right now. Don't do it any more. Be smart - not nice. Here's why:
- You are undermining the value of your services. NOT just for you , but for ALL of the other housekeepers out there. It makes you look cheap and unskilled. The better quality clients will happily pay more money for your help, just as the more skilled housekeepers will charge more for their professional services.
- You are undermining your own image - especially when your regular clients see you discounting services to gain new business. Now ALL of your clients will ALSO want discounts. This is not a financially sustainable situation. If you continue, you will go broke.
- You are encouraging and attracting short term clients who will only use you for the discount then drop you like a hot potato. These are the clients who will complain more, and leave bad reviews when the discount is over, or when you attempt to charge them market rates. These clients only sign up because if the discount.
- You are creating a habit of entitled expectation among the "discount" clients. They will feel you are easily taken advantage of and will want more & more from you - and will expect to continue to pay the same price or less.
- You will eventually feel used and taken advantage of, and your quality of work will suffer. This affects your self-confidence and puts you in an uncomfortable situation that you may or may not know how to get out of. You will go back into fear mode and sign up yet another client on a discount, and the cycle continues.
In the bigger picture, what you really want is to attract loyal, long term clients, and work to keep them, rather than signing up cheapskates, and then searching for new work to keep your schedule full each month.
So-the answer to the question, When Should You Give Discounts? is: Never!
This is your livelihood. The way you live & support your family. The way you put gas in your car & get your nails/hair doe. The way you feed & clothe your kids. Don't take the food off your table by giving discounts.
BUT please do this instead: continue to educate yourself, work hard to make you clients happy and build up your clients and your business. Once you are making better money and are stabilized, (earning enough to pay all your bills by yourself and have some left over to save). THEN if you want to donate a service here and there-to someone recovering from illness, or to a single mom going through a tough time, or a military family, or to a grieving elderly widow...THAT is the time to be nice and to be charitable. You cannot truly help others until you have first helped yourself. Commit to yourself first-others second. And please don't give discounts.
Tell us in the comments below: Are you a "discount giver"? Why or why not?