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I am Dale King, a specialist dental copywriter. I love to share my knowledge of working within the dental niche with other like-minded individuals. 

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competing on price as a novice is a bad idea

9 Golden Reasons Why Competing on Price Is A Bad Idea (And What You Should Do Instead)

As a new freelance dental writer, one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face is landing your first paying client. But how do you do that when there are other more established writers out there?

You could of course compete on price by providing lower fees. And I see where that logic lies as many commodity-providing companies gain customers by undercutting their competitors.

After all, it works for brands like Amazon or Walmart (if you reside in the US) so why can’t it work for you?

If you think about it, most of that logic comes from our experience as consumers, Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for freelancers when we’re providing professional services.

While there are many reasons why competing on price isn’t a good idea, I’m going to focus on just nine of them. So here goes:

Reason #1 – Reduction in perceived value

When you provide lower fees for your work it reduces the perceived value of the content you provide. Lower fees usually scream “novice” and therefore, potential clients may build up a picture that you’re not that good or aren’t in demand. Either way, they’ll probably go somewhere else.

Reason #2 – Less vested interest

When dental clients are spending little money in return for work, they’re often less vested in the outcome. This means being less inclined to provide valuable first-draft feedback or provide you with the relevant information you need to deliver your finest work. When this happens it almost always leads to one thing – poor results.

Reason #3 – Competing on price attracts the worst kind of clients

I’m sure you’ve seen projects on job boards or on popular bidding sites where the client treats potential writers as a commodity, rather, than someone they work with for their experience.

They want a ton of work in exchange for a set fee (usually peanuts) and they don’t care what it takes to get it. They’re laser-focused on price but at the same time, have impossibly high expectations. These are the worst kinds of clients and if you start working with them it usually ends up becoming detrimental to you and your business.

Reason #4 – Low-paying clients attract more low-paying clients

Here’s the thing, once you’ve worked for a high-demanding, low-paying client it will typically lead to referrals from these clients to their low-balling friends. Before you know it, you’re stuck in a cycle of working for nothing with little time to find higher-paying projects. That’s not a great place to be, right?

Reason #5 – You’ll hit burnout

It’s not a question of ‘If’ but more a question of ‘when’. Imagine that you’re having to take on more and more low-paying work just to make ends meet. There are only so many hours in a week and eventually, something’s got to give and guess what? You’ll hit burnout quicker than you can say ‘osseointegration’.

Reason #6 – Your self-worth takes a hit

It’s true! once you start working for next to nothing, you’ll start to believe that you’re “Just another ten-a-penny, low-cost writer,” whereas in truth, you’re an industry-specialised dental writer and that carries some kudos, or at least it ought to.

Instead, any feelings of worthlessness will often dictate further actions. These actions can lead you to compete on price, forever stuck in a rut of low-paying projects.   

Reason #7 – You have zero wriggle room

When you compete on price as a dental writer, low fees mean that you have no wiggle room should a project take longer than anticipated or the client changes their project scope.

So, when problems or hitches occur, you’ve either got to accept it and let it eat into what little cash you’re now making, or you’ll have to go cap in hand asking the client for more cash. Either way, it’s a bad position to be in.

Moreover, seeing as the client is highly likely to be laser-focused on getting something for nothing, it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve the latter.

Reason #8 – You don’t earn enough to invest in your skills or future

Inevitably, competing on price is a sure-fire race to the bottom. Because you don’t earn enough from your current work, the need to find more work increases. The more cheap work you land, the less time you have to invest in improving your skills or your future.

As a result, you stagnate, never being able to break out of that commodity-focused chain.

Reason #9 – You’ll end up quitting before you get started

For all the reasons I’ve mentioned, getting out of the low-paying cycle is hard once you start competing on price. So, after months of scraping around for scraps, you’ll probably quit before you’ve had time to prove yourself.

So there you have it, 9 golden reasons why you should never compete on price as a freelance dental writer.

The fact is that there’s a definite need for industry-specialised writers like you and good clients will happily pay you for that skill and expertise. The question is:

How do you find better-paying clients who recognise the value you can bring to their business?

The answer?

You’ll need to ask a lot of questions.

Stuff like:

  • What do you hope to achieve from the content I provide?
  • What are your long-term content plans?
  • What are your timescales for success?

In my experience, if the client doesn’t have a clear plan, or doesn’t understand how content can add value, they don’t usually offer or accept the best rates. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but often, it is.

As an example, I emailed a potential dental client the other day and asked them if they needed blogging help. I’d already looked on their website and noticed that they stopped having blogs back in 2020.

They emailed me back and said, yes they would be interested, and they proceeded to ask me how much it would cost.

I then went into detail about the benefits that long-term content could bring to their business and of course that led to the overall price.

Guess what?

 I never got a response after that. Nothing, zip, nada!

I’m guessing that they saw the price, didn’t like it and, that was that.

I could have gone back to them and offered a lower fee and no doubt I would have secured the project, but in reality, I wouldn’t feel right working for less.

Do I feel snubbed?


You see the onus isn’t really on me to explain or justify my prices, it’s on them to recognise the long-term value in having regular quality dental content and how building authority and brand awareness gets more patients through the door.     

If they can’t see that, then I’m kind of flogging a dead horse!

So, here’s what I do instead

I try, where possible, to prequalify potential clients to save wasted time. I do this by talking to them and seeing if their values align with mine. When they do and they know what they want to achieve with their content or are open to content suggestions, it’s all good. 

Then, I’ll ask them if they’d like me to quote, given the information they provided. Nine times out of ten this works, and I’ll land the project.

The key takeaway

The golden nugget to take from all of this is to know what you need to be charging. Stick to your guns and never, ever compete on price.

When you understand the real value that you bring to your dental clients, then higher-paying gigs will follow.

In the meantime, if you’re yet to launch your dental writing career visit the DWC website and download my free guide to becoming a well-paid dental writer. It takes you step by step from starting out to landing your very first well-paying client. 

Here’s to your success!