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What is a better way to write in an email to tell my client that I will charge him a fee of say $100? Often, I feel very reluctant to write these ways:

I will quote the hosting and development fees at $100.

This sounds totally crappy.

I will give you a quote of $100 for the development and web hosting.

This doesn't sound very polite. It sounds like the client owes me something.

The total charges/fees for the development and hosting is $100.

[OR]

The cost of the development and hosting is $100. / The hosting and development will cost $100.

[OR]

The hosting and development are charged at $100.

Sounds more direct but still, the tone isn't very friendly. Feels like the relationship between the client and me is still at a "stranger" stage.

What are some ways or examples to write in an email a quotation that I would like to charge my client, which sometimes is a sensitive thing, in a friendlier manner?

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Consider: "Normally I charge $250 for this, but for a pal like you - make it a hundred bucks!" :P –  Standback Feb 20 '12 at 13:00
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Ah, the Scotty school of client management. A time-honored classic. –  Lauren Ipsum Feb 20 '12 at 14:18
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Sorry if this is off-base, but are you sure this is a case of the writing seeming unfriendly to you, and not a case of being timid about charging money? –  Neil Fein Feb 20 '12 at 19:35
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There are two elements of a quote for which clarity is far more important than friendliness:

  1. The description of your services.
  2. The statement of your fees.

If you like, make everything else in your message friendly. But write the description of your services clearly. Then write a short line like this:

My fee for these services is $100.

None of that "I will quote" or "I will give you a quote" blather. That's filler.

Also consider whether friendliness is what you really want. You and this client are strangers, and this client wants you not as a friend, but as someone who can provide a service they need. The client may read a friendly message as wishy-washy, or presumptuous.

It's hard to establish the tone of a relationship through text. If you want to make your relationship more person, have a phone call or two, and be personable. That will establish a relationship, and the relationship will set the context in which the client reads your email messages. If the relationship is friendly, the client will read the message in a friendly tone.

But whatever you choose to do, when it comes to the terms of your agreement, favor directness and clarity over friendliness.

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"The cost of the development and hosting is $100. / The hosting and development will cost $100" are both fine.

I also use "I estimate the hosting and development will cost $100" if it's genuinely an estimate which might change.

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If you know the person you are writing to and if he or she is friendly with you, you can add a simple smiley like this :) at the end of your statement to make it friendly. But not to those clients, you have just started to work with.

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