How to Effectively Raise Your Rates with Existing Clients & Handle Price Rejection
Raising your freelance rate is an important part of growing as a freelancer, however, if you already have a well-established client base, it can be a bit tricky.
Of course, your intention is not to scare away your existing clients but raising your rates from time to time does help reflect the growth of your skills and services. In addition, if you feel like you’ve been stuck with the same income for the longest time and are looking for ways to boost it, consistently raising your rate will help you to do so.
So, now that you’ve decided you want to increase your rates, what’s the best way to bring it up to your clients? In our latest video series, ‘The Freelancer Lounge’, Jon Younger, author of the Forbes blog, Freelance Revolution, walks you through how to effectively raise your rates and also, handle price rejection from clients.
Watch the full episode below!
Here we’ll cover four reasons why you should consider raising your rates in the first place, how to go about raising them and how to handle any sort of price rejection from existing clients. Let’s get started.
4 Reasons to Raise Your Rates
1. You Might Be Under Charging Compared to The Market
After doing some homework, if you’ve come to the realization that you’re charging less than what your peers in the market are, then this is a golden opportunity to go ahead an increase the fees for your services.
2. You Own In-Demand Skills
Do you have skills that are hard to find or that are in very high demand? If so, this is a great reason to raise your rates. Always keep in mind your value and what you’re worth, and if you present that worth to others, most likely they’ll respect you for raising your rates.
3. You’re Doing Too Much Extra Work
Has one of your clients asked you to do extra work or even asked you to start from scratch on a specific project? If that’s the case, then you may want to raise your rates to compensate for the extra time put in.
4. You’re Working with a Marginal Client
Perhaps you’re working with a client that doesn’t necessarily seek your unique skills but hired your for more basic types of projects? If so, there’s no reason to not raise your rate. Remember, working with a marginal client won’t actually hurt your business, especially if they’ve taken you on for tasks that don’t require much of your exclusive skills.
While these are all good reasons to go ahead and raise your freelance rates, definitely don’t do it just because someone else recommended it or because you think it’s an easy way to get extra money. However, if you’ve been working with the same clients for quite the time and would like to see a slight increase in income, then raising your rate is a good way to increase your income but raise at a steady pace.
Before you go ahead and have the conversation with your clients, make sure that you do your homework and check what your peers are charging for the same type of work and connect with industry leaders on whether or not you’re undercharging. This way, you’ll be confident enough when approaching your clients.
Now that you’re ready, here’s how to approach your clients in a professional manner about up-charging your freelance rates.
How to Raise Your Rates with Existing Clients
1. Be Direct
Being straightforward is extremely important when it comes to working with an array of clients and it’s also the best approach to take when raising your rates. No need to send them a long email or text message about the fact that you want to charge more, instead, set up a call and speak to them directly about the topic, definitely don’t try to bury the news in a long letter.
2. Give Your Client Enough Notice
While you’re speaking with them directly about raising your rate, make sure you give them enough time and notice to think about the fact that you’ll be charging more. No client of yours will want to be bombarded with a price increase that goes into effect immediately. Also, make sure you’ve given them some opportunity to accommodate the new change.
3. Let Them Know What They’re Gaining
While you’re now about to charge more for the same services, your client will want to understand what they’ll gain from this increase. Be clear and open about what you’ll be offering them in exchange for your new price. When it comes to offering services, there needs to be a balance between both parties, so it’s extremely important to explain to your clients why the increase will benefit them.
4. Show Your Worth
Explain to your clients that you’re bringing up your rate due to what’s fair and that it’s totally acceptable for someone with your background, experience and expertise. In order for you to avoid rejection, it’s up to you to make them fully understand your position and what you’re worth.
5. Choose Wisely
Be picky with which clients you want to raise rates with, meaning, for more marginal clients, who are typically the most loyal, you may want to only slightly upcharge your services or not even increase them at all. For other clients that typically seek your unique skills, you’ll want to increase your rates for sure.
6. Be Flexible
If some of your clients are struggling to accept the full increase, do your best to be flexible and even offer them more time until you make the change. For example, if they are not ready to pay you more, at least give them more time, that way you don’t harm the relationship and lose them. Definitely don’t force your increased rate to be so immediate, especially if you don’t need it to happen so fast. Don’t ever make your client feel rushed.
How to Handle a Rejection
You’ve shared the news with your clients, and unfortunately some of them said ‘no’. Now what? Well, as cliché as it sounds, life will hand you many rejections. However, if all of the above tips were put into action and you still receive a ‘no’ from them, you might just have to come to terms that you will lose your client, and that’s okay. If you do let go of a client, know that it’s for a good reason and that you should focus on the clients that know your worth and value.
Raise Your Rates Effectively & Your Freelance Business Will Shine
Remember, do your homework, and don’t raise your rates just for the sake of being greedy. It’s super important to maintain healthy relationships with your clients if you want to grow your business. As mentioned earlier, inform your clients directly and in advance, explain the value and benefits they’ll gain from your price increase, be flexible and you’ll see great results.
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