We all reach a point in our freelance careers when our skill level grows beyond our current freelance rate. We often feel nervous about raising our original rate, but that's not to say we don't appreciate our first clients! Still, it's hard not to feel scared when it's time to raise your freelance rate with existing clients. 😱
After all, we don't want to scare the clients away with our higher rates. We don't want to make them feel as if we're trying to squeeze more money out of them, either…but we can't stay working at a low-rate when we know we're worth more.
So, what's the safest way to raise your freelance rate with existing clients?
Since this can be a nerve-racking thing to propose, you need a strategy going into the conversation. Using a strategy like one of the three I've written below will help you approach the topic comfortably.
Another way to get yourself comfortable asking for a raise is to remember: you've earned this!
Write down a list of all the things your work brings to a client and what you've gotten better at. Once you believe in yourself, it'll be easy getting your client to believe in you and agree to raise your freelance rate with existing clients.
1. Expand your services and offer a new package.
It's hard to convince someone to pay a higher rate when there's no change in services, improvement or upgrade that you can point to. So…create some!
Sometimes, "creating" new services to add to your list isn't even necessary. Finding a new service to offer is often simple, as freelancers frequently gloss over the nitty-gritty that goes into their work.
Comb through the work you do now and meticulously detail the steps you take to complete it – odds are, there's a service in there you aren't billing for.
For example, if you work as a blog writer, you may already be monitoring your client's competition to see what types of posts and keywords they're using. That's an added service!
Another way to expand your services and raise your freelance rate with existing clients is to focus on their needs. No one knows your client's problems better than their trusted freelancer, so name their weak spots and offer to strengthen it at your raised rate.
Once you're ready, present the new list of services and pricing to your client. Presenting the new package in your portfolio or with a chart makes it look even more professional. Even if they aren't interested in all the services, they may be willing to negotiate.
Side note: Don't forget to raise your rate high enough to compensate for the extra work you'll be doing!
2. Announce an upcoming price change with a newsletter.
Asking clients to agree to your rate change and making the change effective immediately can make them run for the hills. They might feel like they've been blindsided.
Instead of rushing to raise your freelance rate with existing clients, give them ample notice by sending out a client newsletter in advance.
It doesn't necessarily matter if you're already putting out a newsletter or if this is the only time you'll do so; one newsletter is enough to make your clients aware of the rise in your rate.
Craft and send out a friendly newsletter to all of your existing clients that announces the increase to your rate in the coming month/quarter/year.
Letting your clients know in advance removes the element of surprise, making it seem more like a planned business development and less like you're strapped for cash.
Presenting a raise in your freelance rate in a newsletter comes across as good news to be shared! The newsletter approach also gives existing clients time to adapt their budget to your new rates.
Side note: Make sure to include other updates or information in your newsletter, like new articles or programs you’ve worked with, otherwise it will read like a ransom note!
3. Start with the new clients, come back to the old.
Since new clients don’t know what your old rate is, they’ll have no reason to blink at your new rate – especially because you deserve it.
Start by landing some clients at your new, increased rate. Not only will this build up your high-paying clientele but also the confidence you need to present your skills and prices in a way that clients immediately accept them.
Once you’ve got a few clients paying your higher rate, you'll have the confidence AND the evidence to raise your freelance rate with your existing clients, too.
You'll be experienced in pitching your new rate to clients, so go ahead and try the same pitch on your long-term clients and watch success happen!
Old clients still won't budge? Well, there's still a bright-side: now, you've got proof that you can get paid what you're worth. Let the stubborn clients go and find more new clients to pay you what you're worth.
Have another suggestion for how to raise your freelance rate with existing clients and keep them on your client list? Drop it below! ⬇️
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