ADVICE / 51
today’s question: “how do you tell your existing clients you’re raising your rates?”
your reason for raising your prices could be a personal matter or maybe you’ve recently looked at your business plan and you realize you’re not profiting enough. when it comes to telling your clients about your new fee, just be honest. be prepared to give a reason or two to justify the increase. explain to them what investments you’ve made to your skills or business that caused the increase. maybe you just took bri’s video class and now the quality of your work is SO MUCH better. are you faster? do you know more tricks so you can take your videos to the next level? find something to tell them so it doesn’t seem like you’re just making up a number out of thin air.
now that i’m full time freelance i have to raise my rate because it will be my only income. but! instead of the client waiting weeks for rounds of their designs (i was previously working nights and weekends) i can turn it around in a couple of days to a week. higher prices but faster turnarounds. i will also have the time to be available during the day and give them the attention they deserve. if your client is upset you could try to sweeten the deal if by throwing in an extra service if they’re not happy about your new rate. hopefully they will respect you enough as an artist and make it work.
when you’ve figured out how high you’re raising your fees, give your clients at least a months notice so they can work it into their budget. if they give you a hard time or it’s totally out of budget for them it’s your decision how to proceed. do you find a number that works for the both of you? do you raise your fee gradually over the course of 3 months? if you love the work you’re doing with them maybe you’re willing to give them a special rate.
if someone leaves you because of your new rate, don’t sweat it. they probably didn’t appreciate or value your work enough. just keep moving on. use that extra time to find new clients. every year you’re in business, it’s another year of experience under your belt. doesn’t that justify some sort of increase?
this can be awkkkk-ward. but necessary. like katie said, it really depends on your current financial situation. if you are trying to make a living on design but your friends keep asking you to do work for them at major discounts (which means you won’t have time for paying jobs) then how is that fair? looking back i’ve noticed a few things…when you are young, just starting out and have potential…people will notice it. they will try to snatch you up at low prices, and you are going to be stoked because you just want to work! believe me, i have had people reach out to me asking “do you know any young designers…ones that will do it for cheap?” this industry keeps it’s eyes out for fresh meat because they are eager, willing and save them a few bucks. it’s just how it goes (but this is just based on my experience.)
then you grow up a little, learn that you have been charging WAY too low, get a lot more experience with pricing and people either go two ways with it. they hire you on big jobs or they move on to the next fresh meat. that part usually has an email that sounds like “i know i can’t afford you anymore, but do you know anyone?” it can be a bit hurtful because you say to yourself…”oh, they just wanted someone who would do it for free or cheap.” but don’t take it personal. people will always try to save a dime. you will have other new clients by then and it won’t faze you.
be up front with people about your rates. you can still offer friend discounts (i do) but just don’t charge a low amount or do a project for free and be resentful about it later.