First of all, is it a good idea to ask a potential client for a ballpark budget they are thinking to work with? I just don’t want to meet with somebody who has a very low budget, and who could be surprised during our first meeting that I’m not the cheapest guy in town.
So what do you think my first step should be when a client sends me an e-mail, wanting to discuss a project? The client has no idea what I charge, beside the fact that the client likes the work I do.
Yes, It is totally legitimate. It’s usually the second question I ask after whats the project about.
“What kind of budget are we dealing with?”
This can give you a general idea if it falls in your realm and worth your time. Generally over email or phone.
I usually prefer phone a call, you can hear about the project, budget and get a feel for the client and if you want to move forward. Meeting IRL takes time. If the project doesn’t bring in money, its wasted time for your business.