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Over my past two years of freelancing, I’ve steadily risen my rates inline with demand & worth, and haven’t seen a drop in my client roster – quite the opposite. When I first started out I tended to keep my rates pretty low. I was new to the freelance world, hadn’t developed any sort of renown, and hell.. I needed the cash.
When I did decide to start raising my rates, part of me felt a little uncomfortable. Would I still get work now that I was charging more? Was I legitimate in charging more for what I did? What would I tell my current clients?!
Here are the statements I work through when I get the “Er, should I be charging this much?” feelings.
- You’re the only person that can do what you do, how you do it. I work mainly with lady creatives & entrepreneurs. I have quite a niche in the web design/development market in that I am my client. I give my clients help with their website marketing, tips for how to engage with their clients through their online brand, and advice/contacts for other aspects of their business.
- If you had a 9-5 job, you’d have had a pay rise by now. Most 9-5s offer yearly pay rises inline with the cost of living increases, promotions and your relative worth to the company.
- Realise you’re in demand. It’s not boastful to say you’re in demand, it means you’re doing something really right! However, the harsh truth is, if you took on every project that came to your door then you’d quickly burn out. I decided that I needed to increase my rates in order to cherry pick projects that would help my business grow + keep me engaged with my work.
- Working my ass off wasn’t what I started freelancing for! Charging more means I can have more time to produce quality work without burning the midnight oil. It means that both my client and I benefit from an unstressed relationship, comfortable deadlines, and room for ‘nice extras’.
- My experience has increased since I last set my prices. Experience is worth its weight in gold, literally! You’ve picked up a lot of knowledge since you last increased your price, and that needs to show in your rates. Think of the pricing tiers in hair salons, you pay more for the experienced stylists!
- If you charge it, they will come. Does that make sense? Basically, your perfect clients usually expect to pay a certain amount. It’s a perception of worth, and by charging too little you could actually be putting them off – they’ll wonder what the deal is!
Letting current clients know about my rate increases isn’t too difficult. Sure, I’ve lost a few along the way (which is understandable), but in all honesty our work had grown apart anyway. Here’s how I go about communicating rate changes with my current clients:
- I let them know well in advance if we have current or on-going work.
- I usually offer them a discount on my new rates for the first couple of months, something like 5%. Rewarding their loyalty is the least I can do!
- I lay out why I’m increasing my rates: my skill set has grown (I explain what my new skills can bring to our projects), general inflation, an increase in demand.
- I explain my worth, letting them know that even though my prices are increasing, it’s still a great deal for their business. Sometimes, I’ll offer examples of projects that we could take on, including a quote and expected gains (be they monetary, conversions, or sign-ups).
Don’t be afraid of charging what you’re worth!