How to tell clients you are raising your rates

As your skills and experience grow, it’s only natural (and expected) that your prices will also rise accordingly.

But, it’s really common for freelancers to delay the day they increase their prices – just to avoid having to face the discomfort and awkwardness of communicating this news with their regular clients.

This points back to an all too common problem that we face as freelancers – we don’t think of ourselves as real businesses. The truth is you are a business, and like most businesses – your prices will go up over time, and your customers will expect that.

If you are able to communicate your price rise well – your clients will almost always understand and support your decision to raise the rates. If they don’t then that suggests they don’t really understand the value you provide. Chances are they are difficult clients to work with anyway.

So in this article, we’re going to share some tips on how to tell your clients you are raising your rates, and things to have in mind when doing so.

eBook to help you put an end to underpricing:


Give notice well in advance

First things first, you have to leave some time between announcing your planned price increase and actually implementing it.

A handy rule of thumb is to give at the very least a month’s notice.

This stops your clients from feeling ambushed by your new pricing. It leaves time for a smooth transition.

But it also gives clients some time to assess their budget and make the most out of your services before the price increases.

So, if you plan to raise your prices by 30% starting from next month, for example, this can create some urgency for them to give you more work now while your prices are still at a lower cost. 

If you are happy to have more work before the price increase, then you can consider even longer notice, maybe two or three months.

Provide reasons why you are raising your rates

People respond better to requests and demands when there is a valid reason attached to them.

“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”

Robert Cialdini, Psychology of Persuasion

You don’t have to justify why you are raising your rates to anyone, but giving a short explanation and a reason can dramatically increase the chances of your clients understanding and accepting your decision – and so continuing to use your services.

The reason is simple and lies in the quote above. It’s simply in our nature to be more accepting and willing to do something if we have a reason for it. This allows us to justify it to ourselves.

Be wary of over-explaining, however, no matter how tempting it may be – this can make you look unconfident and as if you have something to hide.

Explain how is the price raise can benefit them

If you’re able to earn more you can spread yourself less thinly and do better work.

So it’s actually in your client’s interest for you to stop underpricing your services.

Be sure to mention and explain how you intend to improve your services and the benefits that that will offer to them.

Create a transition plan 

It’s well worth staying organised during the transition between your old and new pricing.

If you have a lot of ongoing projects or a decent base of repeating clients, then creating a transition plan for your use might help you stay on top of everything.

In the plan, you can define everything you need to do to switch. This can include everything from dates for sending reminder emails to deadlines and a log of which projects are on the old rates and which are on the new.

If you are planning to try and use the increase to generate some extra work – then you might want to do a mini-campaign about it and send out sales emails to your clients.

You can publish it on social media and your website – that can all go into the plan as well.

Basically every task you need to do over a period from announcing the price increase to actual implementation – both internal and external, like client work –  you would put in the plan.

Update your website/pricing sheets with new rates and details

To avoid any uncomfortable situations with future enquiries, make sure you update your rates and prices everywhere on time. This refers to your website, social media profiles, pitching templates, anywhere you have placed them.

Add all information and details that you have defined in the transition plan, such as when the new prices are taking effect, what happens to projects that are unfinished by that date or need additional tweaks and corrections, and anything else that is important for your clients to know.

Depending on the complexity of your services and projects you get hired on, it might be worth creating a short FAQs section that will provide all of the necessary information.

Sign up for our Pricing and Negotiation Masterclass and start getting paid what you deserve!

Too many freelancers struggle to make ends meet or work long hours because they don’t know how to price their services. Or they avoid getting themselves into negotiating situations, so they underprice because they believe that will definitely secure the work. And who knows when the next job will come along?

This masterclass will teach you different ways to calculate and form prices for your services. It will also teach you the main principles of persuasion and basic negotiating tactics that you can use to stand your ground and get to the price you want.

So you can stop worrying about how you are going to pay the bills and focus on providing the best service for your clients. Get access to the masterclass today and start getting paid what you deserve.

If you like this article, you might like these as well:

Three lessons on pricing and negotiations (free eBook included!)
How to price your freelance services right
Package up and sell more!

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