This is a guest post by James Adams. James has been a tremendous help to me so far, and I think all freelance writers hesitant about increasing their rates should give this article a read. I hope you enjoy this guest post as much as I enjoyed reading it. As always, thanks for contributing James.
When you’re doing work as a freelancer, there are a number of considerations that go into determining your rates. Will you charge by hour or by project? Should you start out charging less in order to create a portfolio? After you’ve built a name for yourself, when is it okay to raise your rates? You may be concerned about losing clients with higher rates, but in many cases, you can successfully make the switch if you go about it in the right way. Here are the top five ways to increase your freelance rates and to start earning more money.
1. Inform clients that your rates may change in the future
One of the best ways to set yourself up to increase your rates is to let clients know when you begin working with them. This strategy is particularly effective for freelance workers who are just starting out and who may be willing to accept less than their ideal rates in order to get work. If you’re in this situation, you can simply inform clients at the beginning of a project that you’re willing to offer them a discount in exchange for the opportunity to build your portfolio. When you’re ready to increase your rates later on and provided you’ve proven yourself with good work, clients will be prepared for the rate increase. This will also help you lead up to the conversation about your increase and give you the chance to justify your increases by pointing to earlier work you did for them.
2. When it’s time for a change, explain your reasoning
Once you’ve decided that it is time for you to increase your rates, feel free to explain the reasoning behind the increase directly to your clients. By leveling with them in an authentic manner about the increase, they will be more receptive to it and more willing to stick around with you. It will be especially beneficial to you if you can give concrete examples of additional training or certifications you’ve received, or some other reason that gives light to why you are in higher demand and deserve more. Additionally, you should be prepared to lose some of your clients who simply won’t be able to work with your higher prices. You should consider which clients you’re willing to lose and who you could negotiate with before sitting down to have a discussion about your new prices.
3. Stick to your decision
Though it may be tempting to work for less if you’re having difficulty with clients who weren’t prepared for a rate increase, be sure to stick to your decision. When you’re confident in your new rates and believe that you deserve to receive what you’re asking for, the client will see that the increase is legitimate. For clients who try to underscore your value and question your decision to increase your rates, don’t be afraid to justify your decision to them through examples. You can let clients know why you deserve more – however, you should also be careful to thoroughly examine your work to make certain you’re giving your clients top quality copy.
4. Offer incentives for existing clients
You may come across some clients who believe your rate increases are justified, yet are still reluctant to start paying you more when they’ve already been receiving your services for less. If a client is feeling tempted to shop around for a lower price or is simply unsure if they will continue to work with you, it may be a good idea to offer him or her an extra incentive as a show of good will. You could offer to give the client an update for a project you did previously, a complimentary consultation, or a free service for them to gift to a friend or family member. Some freelancers even use this strategy as a way to start the conversation about rate increases. Explain that your rates are going up, but you want to offer them a deal in appreciation for their loyalty.
5. Hold a flexible rate schedule
Another great way to plan for increasing rates is to simply keep your prices at a variable. Many freelancers perform estimates before beginning any new project or work with a client, which is a great way to allow yourself the flexibility to set new rates from time to time. You may also want to consider setting higher rates for busy times of the year or premium seasons. This could create greater demand for your services, bring you more work at higher pay, and can also help you transition into charging higher rates in the future. By keeping your rates fluctuating, clients will understand that prices can differ depending on the type of project, time of year, and your demand.