So, “If you can’t pay $3,000, what do you think the student will charge you?”
Of course; the student is still living at home with Mum and Dad, borrowing Mum’s car, eating for free, and so on.
You can’t compete with those prices, nor should you.
But you don’t need to let the prospect off the hook.
If you can’t swing them over to your bank, just cut them a bit of slack:
“I’ll tell you what: If it doesn’t work out for any reason at all, get back in touch with me and I’ll give you the $500 as credit towards the job”.
Now either they get badly burned by the student and are glad of a safe haven, or else they decide to call your bluff, forget about the student, wait 4 weeks and then engage you at a lower price than they had been quoted.
What do you care?
You landed the client.
(Thanks to Carl Sarfi of www.MaximumBusinessPerformance.com )