Is it time to raise your rates? My hunch is that if you haven’t raised them at least once in over a year or two, it definitely is time to start charging more for your writing.
Did you know that many writers and other freelancers revise their rates upwards every six months, or even more frequently?
The fear, always, seems to be that you’ll lose existing clients and fail to attract new ones. But that’s just fear. Sure, it may be uncomfortable to push through it, but it’s worth it.
Here are the reasons to raise your rates
See how many of these fit you, and this is for you, not for your clients.
- You’ve gotten better at writing. It’s hard to get worse at something you do regularly.
- You’ve gotten faster at writing excellent copy. Again, this happens naturally.
- You’ve improved your research or other skills, like formatting, or handling footnotes or writing better headlines.
- You’ve let several things like some research, or short transcriptions slip in for free.
- You’ve gained experience that’s hard to quantify, but really means you’re able to do a better job overall for your clients.
- You realize others are charging more than you for roughly the same kinds of writing.
In other words, you’re providing more and better service to your clients. Sounds like reasons to raise your rates to me! In fact, I say you deserve it.
Ways to raise your rates
Probably the best way to raise your rates is just do so. You don’t necessarily need to explain anything to anyone. It’s surprising how often you’ll get little or no pushback.
Let existing clients know
Of course, if you’ve got clients that are used to paying $X for a particular type of writing, like a 500 word blog, it’s probably best to let them know you’re now charging $X+.
Don’t hem and haw – just say something like, “great, I’d be happy to do that press release for you. I now charge $X+ for press releases.” Then as my father, a great real estate salesman, would say – shut up. Chances are they’ll be fine with it.
Although I charge flat fees for most of my work, I recently raised my rates on my coaching which is hourly. I’ve simply said “I’ve changed the way I bill – I now charge $X+ per hour with no minimum. When would be a good time for you to start?” As near as I can tell I’ve only lost the people who can’t pay much at all, and I would have lost them anyway.
Assuming your rate increase isn’t outrageous, you probably won’t lose any clients. In fact, you may be helping them see you have more value than they previously thought. Raise your rates on existing clients and you may get more respect and even more work.
Even if you do lose a client or two, you’re really creating space and time for new clients who are willing to meet your price.
Grandfather in existing clients
You can, of course, decide not to raise your rates for existing clients. If you choose this route, be sure you let them know that they are now getting a special, discounted rate. You might want to consider putting a time limit on that – 90 days, six months, something so you’re not stuck with low paying clients.
Raise your rates for new clients only
If you’re grandfathering existing clients you’ll be raising your freelance writing rates for only your new clients. That’s fine, just make sure that if you list your prices on your website you get those properly updated.
What about referrals?
Sometimes you’ll get a referral who was told about your old rate. While this can feel awkward, it doesn’t have to be. Just say something like, “Yes, I understand and my rate now is $X+.”
If they’re rude enough to ask for the lower rate, it may be you don’t really want this client. Just tell them “no,” or “no thanks,” or “no that doesn’t work” You don’t have to apologize or explain yourself, really. And if after you’ve said no, you let the silence build, it gives them time to think about it and they may very well decide to pay you your new rate.
Remember, it’s totally okay to raise your freelance writing rates.
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Write well and often,