You’re working your butt off, working long hours, and delivering amazing work in a timely manner. Yet, at the end of the day when you review your financials, you still feel like you’re barely making anything after all that effort.
There comes a time in every business where we must adapt and raise our rates.
Your skills have improved. You’ve upgraded your equipment. You have a lovely new logo and a strong re-brand behind it. Perhaps your Adobe membership went up again. Or, maybe you’re just tired of working those long hours without the $$$ to show for it.
Whatever your motivation may be, it’s essential for a growing business to raise its rates over time. Besides, if you don’t raise your rates to meet these aforementioned reasons, then you’ll quickly burn out.
Raising your rates doesn’t have to be a scary task. In fact, raising your rates can even prove your credibility and professionalism. But navigating that conversation with your clients can feel… awkward.
Here’s some quick and easy tips to raise your rates AND keep your cherished clients.
1. Keep it brief
My tried-and-true way of informing my clients of a rate increase is just to simply email them, keeping it short and concise. Here’s an example of how that email goes:
I just wanted to let you know that as of [date] I will be increasing my rates. Attached is a price sheet for the full details. Please let me know if you have any questions. I value our time together and look forward to partnering up again!
And that’s it! Be sure to keep it fair. It’s probably not the best idea to increase your rates by 200%. But in my experience of keeping it direct and fair, I haven’t had one client complain or leave.
2. Let them know *way* ahead of time
If you have a client that has an expected upcoming project, such as a summer campaign, then you could let them know months in advance.
This is a great approach to use with loyal clients. When you give them time to digest the information, they can better prepare their budget and expect the increase.
3. Don’t switch rates mid-project
Changing your rates during a project is extremely unfair. Before you start a project (especially before you even send that contract!), kindly let them know that your rates have increased.
The more time you can give them notice, the better (point 2 is an ideal time). But sometimes, clients pop up projects on you without much notice. The second that inquiry comes into your inbox, say something along the lines of,
Thanks for reaching out, I’d love to partner up again!
Before we continue however, I just want to let you know that my rates have gone up since the last time we worked together. My rates are now [new rate]. Please let me know if that’ll be an issue, I look forward to working together again.
Simple as that 🙂 If that doesn’t work within their budget, no worries! There’s still other options that may work for you.
4. Raise it gradually
If you find it hard to raise your rates with a long-standing client, another option you could do is to step your prices over time.
For example, let’s say you offer a monthly package at $1000, and the final raised rate is $1375. Over the course of the next few months, you could let your client ease into that rate. So, for the next month, it could be $1100. The month after that could be $1200, and so on.
Find an approach and rate of increase that feels both comfortable to you and the client. This shows that you’re able to work within their budget—further gaining their respect, loyalty, AND that full rate you deserve.
5. Give them options
If a client is finding it difficult to afford you, yet you still want to work with them, then try offering a solution that will appease both parties.
Instead of taking a lower rate (ehem, we’re still trying to raise our rates here!), then perhaps offer pricing tiers based on value. If your client usually gets the gold package treatment, then they can opt for the silver package instead.
This is a fabulous approach because you still get your raise and continue to provide awesome value to your client.
6. Keep it confident
You’re amazing at what you do! That’s why your clients come to YOU. If the thought of raising your rates worries you, think about this: what are you risking with your business if you DON’T raise your rates?
Increasing your rates is just a part of business. Keep your message short and sweet, without apologies. If you can’t confidently inform your clients that you’re raising your rates, they won’t be convinced that it’s justified.
7. But what if they balk?
There’s two ways you can handle this: you can try the take-it-or-leave-it approach, or you can demonstrate your value.
You shouldn’t have to explain yourself, but if you do, kindly let them know what benefits these new rates will do for them. Besides, you’re not raising your rates without reason. Perhaps you’re getting a new camera and the image quality will be better. Or, you’re adding a new member to your team and can now give better focus to your client.
Whatever the reason may be, show them the benefits of an increased rate. If they still put up a fight, then it’s just not meant to be.
That’s all there is to it! Raising your rates shouldn’t be a scary subject. You’re a business and you must adapt in order to grow.
While there’s lots of approaches you can take in raising your rates with clients, one rule stands strong: deliver your message confidently, and keep it brief and fair. If your client values you, they will understand. Everything will be okay. They’re a business too, afterall.
Raising your rates may not work with all clients, and that’s fine! In order for your business to grow, you must outgrow some clients as well.
Put you and your business first. You can’t serve your treasured clients well if your business isn’t sustainable. Besides, in the long-term, you juuuust may be surprised just how low you were offering your services. 😉
What’s your biggest fear when it comes to raising your rates? Share them in the comments below!