Should Freelancers Charge Urgency Fees?

One area, where you should definitely be prepared to bump up your quote, is when a project is urgent. Most clients will say work is urgent, even if it’s not – so this fee can also serve as a good way to focus their minds a little bit.

Urgent work should be charged extra.

Having to change your plans at short notice should be charged at a premium.

This comes down to understanding the value of your own time and the service you offer. If you allow the client to dictate when the work needs to be done, they will always want it done as soon as possible.

Adding an urgency fee, allows you to set your own schedule and plan appropriately, and it’s only fair.

Should freelancers charge urgency fees?

Why you should charge urgency fees

It’s not your fault that the client has left it late, and is working to a tight deadline. This just means that they need you more, so the extra charge is completely justified. They will simply have to pay a little extra to get themselves out of a tight corner.

Even if you have a completely clear schedule, you should charge urgency fees if clients come to you saying a project needs doing urgently.

Otherwise, you are setting a precedent that they can simply continue with their demands whenever they need to.

Be upfront and confident

Communication is the key

Most clients will have no problem with this, as long as you’ve discussed it in advance, and they have fully understood it. Waiting until after you’ve done the work for example and then slapping on an emergency fee, is unlikely to go down well.

This comes down to communication. Be upfront and confident about it, and most clients won’t think twice.

Of course, in some cases, you’ll find that after you’ve mentioned the urgency fee, the client actually discovers that the work isn’t that urgent, and they give you longer to do it. This is fine too!

It’s not personal, It’s a business relationship, so there is nothing to feel awkward about.

And again it can be helpful to realise that with many clients, it’s not actually their money that they’re spending. Or that’s it’s money that they have already budgeted to spend.

When we spend a budget, we’ve already made a decision to spend it. So we don’t feel like we’re losing anything. Remember most people working for a business are not spending their money, and they simply want you to help them do their job well.

If that comes with extra costs then that’s fine. That’s why they have the budget in the first place. It’s already been allotted and it’s already been psychologically spent.

So don’t worry about it, and be confident with your pricing.

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

Should You Ever Work For Free?
Experienced Freelancers Share Their No. 1 Piece of Advice
How to tell clients you are raising your rates

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Until next time,


Photo credit: Volodymyr Hryshchenko, FIN

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