When you decided to become a freelancer you likely envisioned yourself pursuing your vocation, working where you wanted, on your own schedule, and making more money per hour than at your old 9-to-5 job. While this scenario rings true from many freelancers, some find themselves working harder, putting in longer hours and not making the money that they should be. If you fit into this latter scenario, it might be time to raise your rates. Or if your schedule is so full that you’re turning away clients, it is time to raise your rates. Here’s how to do it.
Before raising your rates you need to be informed about market rates and the current demand for your skills. That way you will be asking clients for compensation for your skills that is in-line with their current market value. If you find that your current skill level will not get you the rates you want, you need to increase the value of your skills by working to build your portfolio.
Prove you’re Valuable.
You need to prove your skills by having a great portfolio and doing great work in a timely manner for all your clients. Doing great work for you current clients will build the leverage you need to increase your rates with them. Tie your rates to the value you bring to clients’ business. Show them how your work brings them more money. What valuable thing have you already done for the client? How did you ensure their success or make them money? When clients can clearly see the value of your work, then it is easier to increase your rates. When selling yourself to new clients, besides having a stellar portfolio, you can also increase your perceived value with experience, education, qualifications, and specialization in a niche. Clients are willing to pay experts more.
Raise your rates with new clients first. If your skills are in demand and your schedule is full, it is time to start charging more for your time. Start quoting higher rates to prospective clients. Once you work for a while at the new rate and your schedule is still packed, then you can raise your rates again. In this way you can keep your rates in line with demand for your skills.
If you are working with long-term clients and find yourself needing to raise your rates there are few things to keep in mind in order to maintain your good business relationship. First, be sure to give your clients plenty of notice. Giving them notice is not only more polite and professional, it makes good business sense. It will allow them time to work your new rates into their project or annual budgets. If you take clients by surprise by suddenly increasing your rates, they may not have room in their budget for the increase and will have to let you go. Giving them plenty of notice also keeps them from feeling blindsided or pressured, which helps foster mutual goodwill. Consider building an annual rate raise into long term contracts. Clients will know what to expect if they know that you reassess your rates annually. The second thing to keep in mind is that you should not increase your rates too much. When raising rates with an existing client, a 5 to 10 percent increase is reasonable.
Besides raising your rates, there are a few other ways to increase your hourly wage. Consider bundling some of you services or charging per project instead of per hour. You could widdle down your workload by negotiating with regular clients to provide a little less work at the same rate. When you need more work, try to identify more work that you can do for the clients you have, pitch them your ideas and tell them how those ideas will make them more money. Or if you are looking for new clients do not forget to create a profile here on Sagegroupy so that prospective clients can find you today.