I almost heard the annoying phrase before it left his mouth “Please, let’s keep it simple”. I wish it was made out of a desire for clarity, but it was a cost-cutting remark, predictably. The annoying part was that it would achieve the exact opposite of what they thought it would.
Just like short stories require more work than a meandering novel, all the planning and refining needed to keep a project simple requires much more time and energy than slapping on broad-stroke solutions until the problem goes away.
If the client pays you a fixed fee, however, the game changes. Trust building starts to be about showcasing your dedication, rather than efficiency, as costs are no longer “on their dime”. Their biggest fear starts to be you collecting the money just to expend minimal effort to solve their problem, aka “phoning it in”. They no longer hope you will apply the simplest template to their project – they now actively dread it.
This is one of the reasons I always like to present the client with at least two pricing options for the same job. The contrast between those options showcases dedication to crafting a bespoke solution, which builds trust.**
Next time a client asks you for simplicity, draft two pricing options – one fixed fee showcasing tailored work, and one hourly focused on simplicity. Then, explain why the simple one is more expensive, and voilà, problem solved.**