Mates Rates – It’s a Discount Request. How to say NO in your negotiation.

Do you often get asked to do mates rates?

I’m sure you do and I think you should treat that request with the contempt it deserves.

I’m Jon from Small Fish Business Coaching. I help trades business owners resist discounting pressure so you can make a lot of money which of course is why we’re all here.

Now I reckon “Mates rate” really equals a “Discount request”. Someone’s asking you to give them a discount and they’re using “Mates Rates” and your friendship to put pressure on you. A bit of emotional blackmail on you really. You feel like a bit of a prick if you refuse it because you’re mates.

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Now here’s a thought…often this mates rates request comes from somebody who is maybe not really that good of a mate and perhaps if the situation we’re in reverse, would be quite reluctant to give you mates rate. I always think that mates rates or discounting of any form, is a bit like taking money out of your pocket and giving it to the person. And if one of your mates said, “please give me a thousand bucks just because we’re mates” you’d be quite reluctant. There would have to be a good reason for a good mate to ask you that, but yet when someone says mates rates for your professional work, we feel some pressure.

  • It should be no surprise by now for you to think or know that I think you shouldn’t do mates rates at all. It’s a bad thing. I think it does a couple of things. It starts off the job with a bad taste in your mouth.
  • You’re already under pressure
  • There’s not much money in the job
  • You’re already pissed off
  • And you’ve taught your mate to treat you a bit like shit which means, as the job goes on, it’s likely to get worse.

So here’s how to say NO when someone says, “Can I have mates rates?”

  1. Start off with an instant refusal. “NO.” You can wag your finger like that if you want. Be a bit offended.
  2. Turn the tables on him. Turn that emotional blackmail back on to him or her. “My prices are fair. Mates rates would be robbing me of what is fairly mine and you wouldn’t want to rob me, would you?” Turn it back. Your prices are fair (your prices have to be fair if you’re going to do this of course).
  3. And then do the quote, use your normal rates, stand by them, and win or lose it on the basis of being a good trade at a fair price i.e. like normal.

Here’s a thought for you. If it’s a real mate, you should be doing one of two things. You should be either doing it at the fair market rate that you normally charge because your mate respects you, and respects the work you do, and respects the rates you charge. Or if your mate is a bit broke and he needs a favour or she needs a favour, then maybe do it on the weekend together, just for materials as a favor for your mate.

But “mates rates” or “discount me because of our relationship” I think is bullshit.

So in the Tradies Toolbox Coaching program, I help people resist discounting in all its forms and I help you set your systems and your processes in place to help you resist discounting so you make decent margins and you can run a successful business.

Mates rates is just one nasty example of the many pressures to charge less than we feel.

So here’s a question for you and as usual, I’d like you to write your answers in the comments below.

“What’s your favorite thing to say when somebody says “Mates’ rates”?

See you.

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See you later.

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