How to Raise your Freelancing Rates?
When you initially start as a freelancer, chances are that you kept your rates as low as you possibly could to attract clients. That is the way most freelancers start their career. As you go along the way and gather more skills and network, your quality of work increases significantly and you find yourself looking for a raise. This concept seems very similar to an office job, however, in freelancing you can set your own rate. There are freelancers who keep working at a low rate because they think that asking a higher amount from an existing client can turn into losing a client. There might not an easy way to ask for a raise but some tips can help in making it less difficult.
The first thing that a freelancer should assess before asking for a hike is the value of their own work. If a freelancer is under-confident about their own work and finds them less valuable, chances are that the client won’t also value it much. So before one decides to raise their rate, one should sit and calculate their worth and then stick to it. Negotiations happen but you should be careful as to not let this part discourage you from raising the rate.
The other thing is to gauge the right time to ask for a raise. If you have been working with a client for a few months and learning the way around the work and handling deadlines well, it would be a wrong time to ask for a raise as that could discourage your client. Make sure you have been working for a year or so for a client before raising your rates. On the other hand, make sure you are not raising your rates too sharply as that could also lead to losing a client. The client adds your income into his expenditure and a sharp rise would disturb his budget. The smart way is to raise your rate every year and if possible at the same time so that there are no surprises for the client. It would come as polite and ethical is you inform your client about a raise beforehand. For example, you can drop in an email or a message 2-3 months prior and inform them about your new rates that would be effective at that time. This gives the client enough time to think thoroughly instead of pressurizing them.
The smart way to retain your client and to show loyalty to them is to give them a discount. This does not mean that you charge them less than how much you value your work. But offering a discount to a long term client shows that you like them as your employee and that kind of networking resonates with them. Even if they are hesitant in accepting your new rates, with a discount, chances are they will accept it. And we all know that everyone loves a discount!
While raising rates for the existing client make sure you keep your portfolio and profile up to date. This helps the new clients understand your work and value them accordingly. It might seem very nerve-wracking, especially for a new freelancer to ask for a raise but it is necessary to do so or else you would be stuck in a low paying career while other newbies would be getting paid more.