Sometimes the decision to raise you rates comes when you realize you originally set your fees too low to cover your expenses. This happens fairly often.
Writers find out about this when they start tracking their numbers. Often all that’s needed is to recalculate and charge new clients the higher rate.
After you’ve been in the writing game awhile you’ll develop a sense of when your value to your clients has increased because of your experience and you need to start charging more.
As I’ve said often, it’s hard to get worse at something you practice and you’re actually practicing every single time you write which means, over time, you’re getting better at your job – additional pay is in order as this happens.
There’s also the fact that the price of everything seems to increase over time – and your fees should too.
I find that the decision to increase my hourly rate takes place over a couple of months. There comes a moment when I know it’s time.
How to raise your freelance writing fees
Start with your website – if you put your fees on your website, start there, plugging in the increased rate.
Practice saying your new rate to yourself and your peers – I generally tell my MasterMind group what I’m planning to do. This helps me build the self-confidence I need to state my new rate firmly and comfortably.
Quote the new rate to new business – it’s easier to use your new rate with new business, and that’s a great place to start. Don’t apologize, or explain that you’ve just changed your fee structure.
This is particularly true when you work with an hourly rate.
I like flat fees. Usually my clients do too and they often ask what my hourly rate is anyway. I just name the figure and tell them I base my proposal on that.
What about raising rates existing clients?
Raising rates for existing clients can be a bit tougher. First of all, it depends on the type of writing you’re doing for them and the frequency.
If, for example, you’re writing eight blog posts of 500-600 words a month for $X, you probably want to wait six months to a year to raise your rates. And if you took the gig with the understanding that it would be $X it may be that the client isn’t willing to pay a nickle more.
In this situation, as the anniversary rolls around, just ask if there is any plan to raise your rates. Sometimes that’s all it takes. But sometimes you’ll get a hard ‘no.’ Then you have to decide what you really want to do. I often find I’ll stick with the client even without a raise, at least until I find another one who is paying my new rate. Then I may go back to the original client and just tell them that my rate has gone up to $X+ – sometimes they meet my price, sometimes they don’t.
For work paid by the hour, I generally tell the client a couple of months in advance that my rate is going from $X an hour to $X+.
No need to justify your increase
Several writing sites suggest you justify your increase. I don’t unless I’m asked. I’ve found that a simple statement, said without any apology, is best – something like “I wanted to let you know that on (date about two months away) my rate will go to $X+ – wanted to give you a heads up since that will show up in my invoices.”
Often I get a “that’s fine,” and we proceed from there. Surprisingly some people respond with “what are we paying you now?” I tell them and usually they agree.
If someone asks me why, I’ll comment something like “I’ve learned a lot and I’m a better writer than I was when we started.” I’ll pause knowing they will either ask more questions or make a decision.
Sometimes I lose a client when I raise my fee, but not often.
I do go through my list of clients and decide if there are any I want to keep working with even if they don’t pay the increase. Usually there are one or two – sometimes I’ll just ask them how they would feel about increasing my rate to $X+. If they agree fine, if they don’t I make it clear I’m happy with $X.
Confidence pays the bills
When I look back at the beginning of my writing career I see that I didn’t have a clue about how to raise my freelance writing rates. I’d apologize, and explain about needing to feed the kids, or inflation or… you name it. Obviously I didn’t have much self-confidence when I first began writing.
Over time my sense of confidence in my writing and my worth as a person has increased. That’s resulted in better writing jobs and better paying writing jobs. It’s almost magic.
You can work to improve your view of yourself. For example, you may find
- 1 Powerful Way Writers (& Others) Can Improve Their Self-Worth & Make More Money, and,
- 6 Ways You Can Accept Responsibility For Your Own Self-Worth As A Writer helpful.
What’s been your experience with raising your rates?
Write well and often,