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Freelancing in Nigeria: How to Handle Client Negotiations

Last Updated on June 30, 2023


Freelancing in Nigeria has become increasingly popular over the years due to the benefits it offers to both freelancers and clients.

Freelancing provides the opportunity for individuals to work remotely and efficiently manage their time while earning a living.

With the rising number of freelancers in Nigeria, client negotiations have become a crucial aspect of the freelancing business.

The art of negotiation is essential in ensuring that both the freelancer and client are satisfied with the outcome of the project.

Through effective client negotiations, freelancers can communicate their needs, expectations, and capabilities while reaching mutually beneficial agreements with clients.

Understanding Clients in Nigeria

When it comes to freelancing in Nigeria, understanding your clients is crucial to handling negotiations effectively. Here are some cultural differences and common expectations to keep in mind:

Cultural Differences and How It Affects Negotiations

  • Nigerians value relationships and personal connections, so building trust and rapport is essential to successful negotiations.

  • They may use indirect communication styles and avoid saying ‘no’ directly, which can cause misunderstandings and confusion in negotiations.

  • Religion and regional differences can also play a role in client expectations, so it’s important to be aware of and respect those differences.

Common Expectations and Payment Structures

  • Most Nigerian clients expect to negotiate the cost of services, so be prepared to discuss pricing and be flexible in your quotes.

  • Payment structures typically involve an upfront deposit and regular milestone payments throughout the project.

  • It’s common for clients to request additional work beyond the original scope, so be clear about your boundaries and rates for added work.

  • Deadlines are important, but there may be a different sense of urgency in Nigeria, so be prepared for some delays and communication gaps.

  • Nigerian clients may also expect more frequent updates and progress reports compared to Western clients.

Approaching client negotiations with cultural awareness and understanding can lead to more successful and fruitful projects in Nigeria. By building strong relationships, being flexible, and setting clear boundaries, you can navigate the unique challenges and opportunities of freelancing in Nigeria.

Read: Top Freelancing Websites for Nigerians: An In-depth Review

Starting the Conversation

Starting client negotiations can be daunting, especially if you’re new to the freelancing industry. However, knowing your worth and setting reasonable expectations before starting the conversation can set you up for a successful discussion. Here are some tips and tricks for initiating healthy and productive client negotiations:

Tip 1: Do Your Research

  • Research the client’s business, industry, and competitors

  • Understand their project requirements, goals, and budget

  • Research the average market rate for your services

  • Prepare yourself with data and facts to support your negotiation position

Tip 2: Initiate Early Communication

  • Engage in early communication with your client to build a relationship and avoid misunderstandings

  • Use clear and concise communication to avoid confusion

  • Stay professional and respectful in all communication

Tip 3: Know Your Worth and Set Expectations

  • Understand your value and don’t undervalue your services

  • Set your minimum acceptable rate to avoid accepting low-paying jobs

  • Be honest about your availability and delivery time to avoid unrealistic expectations

  • Be clear about your scope of work and what’s included in the project

Tip 4: Consider the Client’s Perspective

  • Understand the client’s budget limitations and work within their constraints

  • Be open to compromise and find solutions that benefit both parties

  • Understand the client’s goals and priorities

Tip 5: End on a Positive Note

  • Thank the client for their time and consideration

  • Summarize the agreed-upon terms and put them in writing for future reference

  • Follow up with the client after the negotiation to ensure satisfaction

In short, starting client negotiations can be challenging, but following these tips and tricks can help you initiate healthy and productive conversations.

Remember to do your research, initiate early communication, know your worth and set expectations, consider the client’s perspective, and end on a positive note. By following these steps, you can build long-lasting relationships and successful partnerships with your clients.

Read: Leveraging Social Media for Freelancing Success in Nigeria

Keeping the Communication Flowing

One of the biggest challenges in freelancing in Nigeria is maintaining engagement with clients. It can be especially difficult when your clients are busy business owners or executives who don’t have much time to spare.

However, communication is key to building long-lasting relationships with clients. Here are some tips on how to keep the communication flowing:

Keep your clients up-to-date

  • Regularly update your clients on the progress of their projects.

  • Let them know if there are any delays or issues that could affect the timeline.

  • Be honest about what you can and cannot deliver.

  • Give detailed feedback on their feedback or suggestions.

Be responsive

  • Respond to your clients’ emails and messages as soon as possible.

  • Set up a communication plan with your clients to establish expectations for response times.

  • Maintain communication during holidays or weekends if necessary.

  • Provide multiple options for communication, such as phone, email or instant messaging.

Build trust

  • Show your clients that you value their time and investment in your services.

  • Be transparent about your pricing and deliverables.

  • Offer references or testimonials from previous clients.

  • Provide solutions to problems and demonstrate your expertise.

Use negotiation techniques

  • Establish a rapport with your clients before discussing negotiation points.

  • Use active listening and ask clarifying questions to understand their perspectives.

  • Be flexible and willing to compromise to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

  • Be assertive but respectful if you need to defend your position.

Remain professional

  • Use proper grammar and spelling in your written communications.

  • Avoid using slang or jargon that your clients might not understand.

  • Be courteous and respectful even if you are frustrated or angry.

  • Keep confidential information secure and adhere to any non-disclosure agreements.

In general, effective communication is essential for any successful freelancing business in Nigeria. By keeping your clients up-to-date, being responsive, building trust, using negotiation techniques and remaining professional, you can establish strong relationships with clients that can last for years to come.

Read: Creating a Winning Portfolio for Freelancing in Nigeria

Freelancing in Nigeria How to Handle Client Negotiations

Handling Pushbacks and Rejections

As a Nigerian freelancer, you might encounter pushbacks and rejections from clients at some point in your freelancing journey.

This is a normal part of the job and shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing your freelancing career. Instead, you need to develop strategies to manage pushbacks and rejections effectively while maintaining a positive working relationship with your clients.

Strategies to Manage Pushbacks and Rejections from Clients

  • Understand the Client’s Perspective: When clients push back or reject, understand their perspective, listen to their feedback, and use it to improve your work or communication.

  • Communicate Effectively: Effective communication is crucial when handling pushbacks and rejections. Be clear, concise, and actively listen to the client’s concerns. Explain your ideas respectfully with evidence to support your proposals.

  • Be Open to Feedback: As a freelancer, be open to client feedback to improve your work and communication. Embrace constructive criticism and avoid defensiveness for personal growth.

  • Offer Alternatives: Offer alternative solutions to client pushback to demonstrate flexibility and collaboration in finding mutually beneficial outcomes.

  • Show Empathy: When clients reject your work or proposals, empathize with them, acknowledge their concerns, and work together to find a solution to maintain a positive relationship.

How to be Firm and Professional while Still Maintaining a Positive Working Relationship

  • Stick to Your Boundaries: As a freelancer, you need to set boundaries and stick to them. Don’t compromise on your values or principles in the name of getting the job done. Be respectful but firm when communicating your boundaries to the client.

  • Use Professional Language: Your choice of words can greatly impact how clients perceive you. Use professional language when communicating with clients, even when you disagree with them. Avoid using offensive or aggressive language that might damage your relationship with the client.

  • Show Gratitude: Clients who push back or reject your work are still clients. Show gratitude for the opportunity to work with them and for their feedback. This will help you maintain a positive relationship with them and increase the likelihood of future collaborations.

  • Take a Break: When faced with pushbacks or rejections, take a break to regain composure and return with a fresh perspective, avoiding potential regrets.

  • Focus on the End Goal: When facing pushbacks and rejections, focus on the end goal: delivering quality work that meets client needs. See them as opportunities to improve and build stronger client relationships.

Pushbacks and rejections are an inevitable part of freelancing. As a Nigerian freelancer, you need to develop effective strategies to handle pushbacks and rejections while maintaining a positive working relationship with your clients.

When faced with pushbacks or rejections, try to understand your client’s perspective, communicate effectively, be open to feedback, offer alternatives, and show empathy.

Additionally, stick to your boundaries, use professional language, show gratitude, take a break when necessary, and focus on the end goal. With these strategies, you can effectively handle pushbacks and rejections and build a successful freelancing career.

Read: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers: A Guide for Nigerians

Concluding the Negotiations

Concluding the negotiations can be a tricky part, but it’s essential to end it on a positive note. To ensure a successful negotiation, you should focus on the following:

  1. Summarize: Start by summarizing the key points you discussed during the conversation. This will show that you were engaged in the conversation and listening carefully to the client.

  2. Address Concerns: If the client had any concerns or objections during the negotiation, it’s essential to address them at this point. Listen carefully to their concerns and offer solutions that will satisfy them.

  3. Clarify Next Steps: It’s crucial to clarify what happens next after the negotiation. Discuss what steps they need to take and what steps you’ll take to ensure that the project or task is completed successfully. This will prevent any misunderstandings and ensure that both parties are on the same page.

  4. Agree on Terms: Be clear on the terms of the agreement, such as the payment, the deadline, the scope of work, and any other necessary details. This will prevent any confusion and establish clear expectations.

  5. Thank Them: End the conversation with a gesture of gratitude. Thank the client for their time and patience and express your eagerness to work with them.

In essence, handling negotiations with clients requires strategic thinking, active listening, and excellent communication skills. A successful negotiation is one that leaves both parties satisfied and establishes a foundation for a long-lasting business relationship.

Remember to summarize the negotiation, address concerns, clarify next steps, agree on terms and thank them. With these tips, you’re bound to have a successful negotiation that benefits you and the client.


As we wrap up on the topic of ‘Freelancing in Nigeria: It is important to recall the significance of negotiations in the freelancing field. Negotiations do not only affect the income, but also impact the overall success of the career.

Freelancers must understand that they have the power to take control of their negotiations and become successful in their field. They must also be equipped with the right skills to negotiate with clients effectively.

Effective negotiations result in a satisfied client, steady flow of work, and increased income. However, freelancers must also know their worth and value their time to avoid exploitation by clients.

It is advisable to take time to research the market rates. A good knowledge of the niche market also provides an edge in negotiating better deals. Freelancers should be professional in giving quotations and payment terms. It is vital to be assertive, yet polite to maintain a good relationship with clients.

Generally, negotiations play a pivotal role in the success of freelancing in Nigeria. Freelancers must use their power to negotiate and acquire what is best for them. With the right skills and knowledge, freelancers can be sure of successful client negotiations leading to a profitable and fulfilling career.

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