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Freelancers: How to Negotiate in the Nigerian Market

Last Updated on July 25, 2023


Freelancing is a form of self-employment where individuals offer their services to clients on a project basis.

In Nigeria, freelance work has become increasingly popular due to its flexibility and income potential. However, negotiating rates can be a challenge for freelancers.

Effective negotiation skills are essential for success in the Nigerian freelance market.

Clients may try to pay less than the value of the freelancer’s work, and without good negotiation skills, freelancers may end up losing out on potential earnings.

Therefore, it is crucial for freelancers to know their worth and understand how to communicate their value to clients.

This requires preparation, research, and confidence in one’s abilities. Freelancers should determine their rates based on factors such as industry standards, the complexity of the project, and their level of expertise.

They should also be prepared to negotiate with clients and explain their rates in a way that is reasonable and transparent.

Additionally, freelancers need to understand that negotiation is not just about the money, but also about setting clear expectations and boundaries.

In review, being a successful freelancer in Nigeria requires not only excellent skills in one’s area of expertise but also the ability to negotiate effectively.

Freelancers who can communicate their value and set clear expectations with clients are more likely to succeed in this competitive market.

Understand the Nigerian Market

When it comes to negotiating as a freelancer in the Nigerian market, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

One of the most important is that you need to understand the market you’re working in. Here are a few tips on how to do that:

Research and Analyze the Nigerian Market

  • Start by doing some research on the Nigerian market. Look at what kinds of services are in demand, and what kinds of prices are being charged.

  • Take a look at the demographics of the market, and try to identify any trends that might be relevant to your work.

  • Pay attention to what kinds of platforms people are using to find work or hire freelancers.

Understanding Nigerian Clients’ Needs, Budget, and Expectations

  • Once you have a sense of what the market looks like, you can start to think about what kinds of clients you want to work with.

  • Paying close attention to your clients can help you understand their budget, their needs, and their expectations.

  • Remember that in the Nigerian market, pricing can be highly variable, and some clients may be looking for a bargain while others are willing to pay for quality.

Get to Know Your Competition

  • Finally, it’s important to understand who your competition is in the Nigerian market. Look at what services they offer, what their pricing looks like, and how they present themselves to clients.

  • This can help you identify areas where you might be able to stand out, or find ways to differentiate yourself and your services.

  • It’s also important to consider whether you’re competing with other Nigerian freelancers, or with freelancers from around the world who are offering services in the Nigerian market.

In summary, negotiating in the Nigerian market requires a deep understanding of the market you’re working in.

By researching and analyzing the market, understanding your clients’ needs and budgets, and getting to know your competition, you’ll be better equipped to negotiate effectively and build a successful freelance career in Nigeria.

Read: How to Use Influencer Marketing as a Freelancer in Nigeria

Preparing for Negotiations: Tips for Freelancers in Nigeria

Effective negotiation is a critical skill that every freelancer in Nigeria should possess.

It’s not just about discussing prices but the ability to communicate effectively and win clients over. And while the process can seem daunting, there are steps you can take to prepare for negotiations successfully.

Research on the Company or Client

Before engaging in any negotiations, research the company or client you intend to work with.

Look into their values, industry, goals, products, competitors, and target audience, among other things.

This information will help you tailor your services and prices to match their needs and make you appear more professional.

Prepare a List of Services and Prices

Based on your research, create a list of services you are willing to offer, along with their respective prices.

Make sure the prices you set are reasonable, market-friendly, and cover expenses such as taxes and overhead.

You’ll also need to highlight the value of each service, including how it benefits the client.

Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

It’s vital to be honest with yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses as a freelancer.

Knowing what you’re good at and what needs improving can help you set realistic expectations for yourself, your client, and the negotiation process.

You can also leverage your strengths to show your clients what sets you apart from other freelancers.

Steps to Take During Negotiation

With the groundwork set, it’s time to engage in negotiations.

Here are some tips to help you negotiate effectively:

Listen Carefully

Listening is an essential part of negotiation. You need to understand the client’s needs, challenges, and expectations so that you can offer solutions that fit.

Pay attention to their tone, choice of words, and body language, as they may reveal more than what’s being said.

Be Confident but Courteous

Confidence is key to successful negotiations. Be confident in what you’re offering, your expertise, and your strengths as a freelancer. However, don’t let your confidence turn into arrogance. Be respectful, polite, and courteous in your approach, even in situations where you’re not getting what you want.

Be Open to Compromises

Negotiations should be a give-and-take process. Be willing to compromise, especially on issues that don’t matter as much to you. However, don’t compromise on your core principles, such as your value or ethics.

It’s essential to find a middle ground that works for both parties.

Avoid Emotions

Negotiations can be intense, and it’s easy to get emotional, especially when things don’t go as planned.

However, avoid letting your emotions dictate your reactions or decisions. Stay calm, composed, and professional, and don’t take things personally.

Follow Up with a Contract or Agreement

Once you’ve reached an agreement, it’s crucial to follow up with a contract or agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the engagement.

This document safeguards both parties and prevents any misunderstandings or conflicts that may arise down the line.

In a nutshell, negotiating as a freelancer in Nigeria can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

The key is to prepare yourself adequately by researching the client, preparing a list of services and prices, and identifying your strengths and weaknesses.

During the negotiation, listen carefully, be confident but courteous, be open to compromises, avoid emotions, and follow up with a contract or agreement.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to negotiate successfully and build long-lasting relationships with your clients.

Read: Freelance Services Pricing: Tips for the Nigerian Market

Freelancers: How to Negotiate in the Nigerian Market

Have a Plan

Being a freelancer in the Nigerian market can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to negotiating rates.

However, proper planning before engaging in negotiations can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Determine your Minimum Acceptable Rate

Before heading into a negotiation, it’s essential to have a clear idea of your minimum acceptable rate – the lowest rate at which you’re willing to work.

This rate should cover your costs, bills, and a reasonable profit for your efforts.

Decide on Negotiation Tactics

Once you’ve figured out your minimum acceptable rate, it’s time to decide on negotiation tactics.

  • Do you want to state your price upfront, or do you prefer your clients to make the first offer?

  • Are you willing to offer discounts for long-term projects or additional services?

These are some questions you need to answer beforehand.

Stay Flexible

While it’s vital to have a clear idea of your bottom line, it’s also crucial to stay flexible during negotiations.

Be willing to listen to your client’s needs and concerns and make adjustments where necessary.

By finding a win-win solution, you can build a lasting relationship with the client.

Additional Tips for Freelancers Negotiating in the Nigerian Market:

Research your Client

Before negotiating with a client, make sure you research their business, their industry, and their competition.

This information can be useful in framing your value proposition and demonstrating how your services can help them.

Communicate Value, not Just Price

While price is a crucial factor, it’s essential to communicate the value of your services during negotiation.

Explain how your skills and experience can help the client achieve their business goals, save them money, or improve their operations.

Be Respectful

It’s important to be respectful and professional during negotiations, even if the client is difficult.

Avoid being confrontational or aggressive and instead maintain a calm and confident demeanor. This approach can help you build trust and establish a positive outcome.

Know When to Walk Away

While it’s crucial to be flexible, it’s important to recognize when a negotiation isn’t working out.

If the client’s budget is too low or if they are demanding too much work for little pay, it may be time to walk away.

Knowing when to say “no” can help you avoid taking on low-paying and stressful projects that aren’t worth your time.

Generally, negotiating as a freelancer in the Nigerian market can seem daunting, but with a solid plan and a few essential negotiation tactics, you can secure fair rates and build lasting relationships with clients.

Remember to research your clients, communicate value, be respectful, and know when to walk away.

With these tips, you can successfully negotiate in the Nigerian market as a freelancer.

Read: Effective Content Marketing for Freelancers in Nigeria

During Negotiations

During negotiations, it is important to listen actively to the client’s needs. Showing value to the client is also crucial, as it helps to build trust and establishes the freelancer as a skilled and reliable professional.

Effective communication is key, and this involves clarity and concision. To negotiate effectively in the Nigerian market, freelancers need to be mindful of cultural nuances and adjust their approach accordingly.

Here are some tips to help freelancers successfully negotiate in the Nigerian market:

  • Understand the culture – It is important to familiarize oneself with the local culture to avoid any cultural faux pas.

  • Build rapport – Take time to establish a personal connection with the client. Friendly conversation can set the tone for a successful negotiation.

  • Clarify expectations – Ensure that both parties are clear on what is expected from the project, including timelines, deliverables, and fees.

  • Be confident – Confidence conveys competence and can help set the tone for a successful negotiation.

  • Offer solutions – Offer creative solutions that can help meet the client’s needs while staying within their budget.

  • Be flexible – Be open to negotiating on certain aspects of the project to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.

By following these tips, freelancers can negotiate successfully in the Nigerian market, build lasting relationships with clients, and grow their businesses.

It is important to remember that negotiation is a skill that can be honed and improved over time with practice.

Freelancers should approach negotiations with a positive mindset and a willingness to learn and adapt to different clients and situations.

Negotiations are an opportunity to showcase one’s value and expertise, so it is important to approach them with purpose and confidence.

Read: Overcoming Challenges in Freelance Marketing in Nigeria

Closing the Deal

As a freelancer in Nigeria, negotiating your way through deals can be a tricky affair.

Nonetheless, with a strategic approach, you can get your rates at a reasonable level and get the job done.

Closing the deal is an essential part of achieving this, and in this section, we’ll explore some of the best tips for wrapping up deals with clients successfully.

Recap the Agreement

  • Reiterate the terms of the agreement.

  • Make sure both parties understand what is expected of them.

  • Highlight the project timelines and deliverables.

  • Ensure that the client is satisfied before proceeding with formalizing the agreement.

Recapping the agreement is vital to confirm that everyone is on the same page. This could be in-person or via email, but it’s essential to make sure that both parties are crystal clear on what needs to be done.

Write a Formal Agreement or Contract

  • Use a contract template.

  • Customize the terms and conditions to fit your particular project needs.

  • Include payment terms, deadlines, and project specifics.

  • Make sure both parties sign the agreement.

Once you’ve agreed on the terms of the project, it’s time to formalize it with a contract.

There are several online contract templates you can use to create a personalized agreement.

Make sure that both parties agree to the contract’s terms before signing, to avoid any misunderstandings along the way.

Confirm the Closing Date and Payment Terms

  • Set specific due dates for invoices, progress reports, and final payments.

  • Include payment methods, such as direct bank transfers, PayPal, or other platforms.

  • Ensure that there are no disputes around payment details.

  • Provide the client with a detailed invoice outlining all project costs.

Defining payment terms and deadlines is crucial to avoid conflict later on. Make sure that the client commits to the payment schedule to avoid delays.

Providing a detailed invoice that outlines the cost breakdown of each project aspect is useful to help the client understand what they’re paying for.

Closing Remarks

By following these guidelines, freelancers in Nigeria can close deals confidently and effectively.

Recap the agreement, use formal agreements, and confirm payment terms and deadlines to ensure a smooth working relationship with your clients.

Negotiating in the Nigerian market can be challenging, but these steps can make the process more manageable and productive.

Read: Freelancers: Building Trust in the Nigerian Market


As a freelancer in the Nigerian market, negotiation skills are crucial for success.

In essence, negotiation involves the art of compromise, and thus, it’s essential to remain flexible during the process.

To prepare for a negotiation, it’s crucial to do your research and identify the needs and constraints of both parties involved.

By understanding the situation, you can create a plan that addresses these needs and helps you achieve your objectives.

Moreover, it’s essential to practice negotiating skills continually. This can include role-playing scenarios or seeking feedback from colleagues or mentors.

By continually improving your negotiation skills, you can become more confident and successful in your work as a freelancer.

On a final note, negotiation skills are critical for freelancers in the Nigerian market.

Preparing and planning beforehand, remaining flexible, and practicing and improving these skills can go a long way in helping you achieve success as a freelancer.

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