Dr. Freelance: It seems like every freelancing site out there talks about raising your freelance rates, but I’m hesitant to just do an across-the-board announcement for fear that I’ll lose clients. What’s the best approach to increasing my fees?—Ready for a Raise
RFAR: Yes, “raising your freelance rates“ is a common rallying cry, and I believe it’s a reaction (and occasionally an overreaction) to all of the lowball clients and content mills out there. As far as how to increase your profitability through higher fees, here are a few approaches to consider when giving yourself a raise:
- The Grandfather Clause: Existing clients get to stay at my current rate, but I’ll quote new clients at a 10-20% higher rate—which avoids the client exodus that you’re concerned about. If you’re in the business long-term, you’ll eventually need to make the business case for raising loyal client prices, too, but a stronger relationship makes that conversation easier when the time comes.
- The Stealth Raise: Think about it this way: If you’re not a public utility, why would you even announce a price increase or make a big deal about it? Obviously, this one is easiest to implement if you’re calculating estimates rather than working on an hourly or per-word basis—just build in another 10% (or whatever) for yourself. As long as it’s a modest increase, you’re the only one who will ever know.
- The Circumstantial Increase: You don’t have to permanently restructure your pricing, of course. Instead, put a hefty premium on jobs during busy times or during the holidays. Consider it like giving yourself overtime.
- Swap Sheet: Personally, I don’t provide a price sheet on any of my web sites, but some freelancers swear by them. So, this would mean simply uploading a new price structure for people to see. You’d want to have a conversation with existing clients in order that it doesn’t come as an unpleasant surprise.
Do you have a killer strategy for raising your freelance rates? Please add your comment below!