Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Former Spouse Wants To Apologize to Ex-Husband

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a client who is so cheap. No matter what the project is, she always nickel and dimes me. Whatever my fee normally is for a job, she demands that I give her a discount. Sometimes the discount she requires makes the job not worth doing. When I stand up for myself and tell her that I can’t go that low, she digs in. I have been passed over a couple of times for projects because she wouldn’t budge. At a certain point, I feel like I have to walk away if she is being too cheap. I have done the math, and some of these projects would equal less than minimum wage if she paid by the hour. That’s not fair. How can I get that across to her? Or should I even try? -- Cheap Client

DEAR CHEAP CLIENT: Take a hard look at the projects you have scheduled for this year and how important this client is to your bottom line. Ideally, you should work hard to replace this client. If she refuses to pay fair market value for your services, you would be better off finding clients who are willing to pay a fair wage.

For now, stop fighting with her. When she invites you to do a project, negotiate the best fee you can. But spend minimal time haggling with her. Pivot to soliciting new business for 2020!

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)