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5 Ways to Increase Your Freelance Rate with Old Clients

5 Ways to Increase Your Freelance Rate with Old Clients

When was the last time you asked your client to increase your freelance rate? Have you actually dared to do it at all? How much you charge your clients for the services you provide them should reflect your freelance skill clearly. As a new and inexperienced freelancer, it’s normal to charge lower rates, but as your skill improves, you need to start thinking about ways to increase your freelance rate. Simply put, you have to start thinking about getting your freelance business to the next level and getting paid more is a part of this.

With new clients, this is relatively easy, as they don’t know how much you charged before. You could be charging your current clients $50 per hour and then tell your new clients that your rate is $100 per hour. Since they don’t have anything to compare your current rate with, it all depends on whether the client believes it’s worth paying that much. But when a client is used to paying you one rate, it gets a bit trickier to tell them that you want to increase your freelance rate with them.  You already agreed on one price, so why should they pay you more?

Freelancers are often wary of asking old clients for more money. You never know how a client might react. So if you’re going to bring the news to them, you have to be gentle and diplomatic. In my several years as a freelancer, I found that the following 5 ways to increase your freelance rate with current clients are almost guaranteed to work.

1. Give Them a Test Run at the Same Price

Give them a trial run

You can start by offering your new and improved services at the same price as you did so far. I’d use a smaller project for this, since you’ll be spending a bit more time on this than you normally do on other project and, as a result, will actually lose a bit of money. But only in the short run. In the long run, you naturally stand to gain. And so does your client. The trick is just to make them see things your way.

Tell the client that, if he likes the service, you can set up a call to negotiate the new rate for you. If not and if the client doesn’t think that your new services are not enough for them to increase your rate, that’s that. Basically, with this, you’ll giving the client a way out if they think you’re not worth the extra money or simply can’t afford to pay you more.

2. Offer a Better Service to Increase Your Freelance Rate

The client won’t pay you a dime more for the same product they’re usually getting from you. This is why you need to start offering them a more premium product. If you just approach them and say that you want to increase your freelance rate, they’re going to want to know for what. You can imagine this won’t go all that well for you.

The thing is, you’re already probably offering a better product that you used to when you started working with this client. Let’s say that you’re initial rate when you started working for a client was $50 per hour and you worked with them a full year or so. Don’t tell me you didn’t improve one bit in those 12 months. The client is already getting a better product from you. If you were a full-time employee of his, he would have raised your rate at least three times by now.

3. Stop Being an “All Rounder” and Specialize

If you’re pitching yourself as a freelance writer who can “write about any topic”, you’re doing it all wrong. Although you’ll always be able to find clients who want articles on, for instance, gardening, SEO, roofing, plumbing, skin care and a few other topics (actually had a client like this once), don’t expect to be able to get a very high freelance rate from them.

On the other hand, if you specialize in one or two topics, for instance digital marketing and Internet security, that usually means you know a lot more about these than you’re average “generalist” freelancer. This means the client will get a better product from you and that improved product deserves to be paid more. So stop being an “all rounder”, switch your approach to “specialist” and look at those rates fly!

4. Get More Involved in Helping Your Client

So far, you’ve only been a hired help for your client. He would give you a task, say “write me something about this” or would give you a headline or a keyword to work based on, and that’s it. All you have to do is write the article. With a little research, a bit of time to write, edit and proofread your article, it’s usually ready to be sent to the client in 24 hours or less.

But in order to increase your freelance rate, you need to stop thinking as a hired guy and start thinking as someone who aims to deliver a service tailored for this specific client. Think how you can help them solve a business problem behind the project you’re working on for them, track and analyze their key performance indicators (KPI) and try to help them increase their conversion rate for example, or see how you can improve their ROI.

This won’t be easy and is probably the hardest way to increase your freelance rate, but in the end, if all goes well, it can be the best thing for your client in the longer run. Most clients do genuinely want the best for their business and will listen to advice from someone who’s involved in it as you are.

5. Work Fewer Hours, but Use Them More Wisely

work less but smarter

This is a non-direct way to increase your freelance rate by actually working less. One of the biggest obstacles a client might have to increase your rates is his own budget. They might be willing to raise your rate, but they simply don’t have enough funds in their budget to do this. Now, you can accept that as a fact and say that you at least tried, or you can take the first opportunity to ditch this client and look for someone who can pay you more.

Or, you can start being more productive and offer the client to work less hours, but for more money per hour. You’ll actually earn the same amount from that client as you did before, but working fewer hours for them will free you some time that you can invest somewhere else, like finding a new client. At worst, you’ll at least have more free time on your hands.

Of course, this approach works whether you’re getting paid per hour or on a fixed rate. The main thing here is to increase your productivity. You can use tools like Trello to help you get more organized, Evernote to save your notes and you can track your time with Toggl. All of these tools are free (some have premium features as well) and can help you be more productive. Apart from them, you can also check a few other freelance tools that can make your life easier.

Can you recommend any other way to increase your freelance rate with an old client? Let me know in the comments below, don’t forget to share this article with anyone who wants to earn more as a freelancer and subscribe to my blog if you’d like more advice on being a better freelancer.

Vladimir Covic
covic.v1ad@gmail.com
43 Comments
  • helen
    Posted at 20:22h, 12 July Reply

    good article ,keep up the good work.

  • Greta Lamfel
    Posted at 18:07h, 11 July Reply

    It’s quite tough to request a higher rate. These are some great tips. As a freelancer, I can apply these tips in my business. Thanks

  • Kavita Singh
    Posted at 10:49h, 11 July Reply

    Informative article. Agree with you regarding specialization is a better choice.

  • Maketta
    Posted at 18:10h, 06 July Reply

    I agree about specializing on a topic. It also makes it easier for people to find you looking for a particular niche. It’s better to narrow things down then to be all over the place. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • Becca Talbot
    Posted at 16:23h, 06 July Reply

    My friend is just going freelance this month, so I will send this article over to her – I’m sure there are some tips in here that will help her out! x

  • Womenlite
    Posted at 10:19h, 06 July Reply

    The fact of specializing is 100% accurate. Being specialized in a particular field, do enhance your knowledge and polish your skills. Once, you’re skilled you get paid for what you actually deserve.

  • Kumin Kueche
    Posted at 09:47h, 06 July Reply

    Great tips, very helpful post, thanks for sharing !!

  • Jim
    Posted at 03:22h, 06 July Reply

    I have to work on getting clients first! 😀 I am just starting out. Thank you for these tips.

  • Drama
    Posted at 02:59h, 06 July Reply

    I can learn a lot from this article. I own an SEO company and I want to apply these.

  • Najeem mujeeb
    Posted at 22:51h, 05 July Reply

    It was really helpful.

  • Chandra Shekhar
    Posted at 18:52h, 05 July Reply

    Really crucial and important tips for me as newbie. They taught me some very valuable lesson . Thanks for sharing.

  • Chloe
    Posted at 18:10h, 05 July Reply

    Hi, great tips specialising and making the best use of your time are key.

  • Alexandria
    Posted at 15:20h, 05 July Reply

    Such great tips! I’m not a freelancer yet, but this will come in handy!

  • Nazrin
    Posted at 11:46h, 05 July Reply

    I haven’t started any freelance work myself as I still work a full time job and blog on the side as I love to write. These points are extremely helpful nonetheless and I will make a mental note of them if I ever decide to take the plunge into the freelancing world of writing!

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

  • Dinesh
    Posted at 07:18h, 05 July Reply

    Clients are hard to come by these days.. We have to improvise and provide as many services as possible.. Nevertheless.. Improving quality of the same is necessary..

  • jhilmil
    Posted at 02:05h, 05 July Reply

    Being specialized rather than jack of all is so important these days. Good tips to get old client back, better service at same pricing could really help grab the deal!

  • Helene
    Posted at 21:43h, 04 July Reply

    Great tips for being more effective and efficient! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Jade Braham
    Posted at 20:45h, 04 July Reply

    This is a great post! very clear and constructive which is great especially since it is interesting and educational! keep up the great work. Brilliant use of photos, it really brought your discussion alive.

  • John Franklin
    Posted at 20:45h, 04 July Reply

    Lots of good tips here. I’m not too long into blogging but every tip for the future day when hopefully I can make it full time is very much appreciated.

  • Arnav Mathur
    Posted at 20:24h, 04 July Reply

    Being a freelancer myself, i can very well relate to this post. Increasing the rates is always a tough nut to crack, but you have explained it really well.Kudos to you !

  • Mary
    Posted at 20:03h, 04 July Reply

    I work from home and this is something that I will def consider very soon. The approach is on point! We need to connect very soon. Collab maybe? ❤️ See you on our facebook group Love! http://BloggyMary.guru here.

  • InspiredJourney
    Posted at 20:00h, 04 July Reply

    Bookmarking, as this is a helpful post Vladimir.

    And I agree, specializing is key, because often we sabotage our efforts squirreling around spreading ourselves thin, doing too much.

  • Bailey
    Posted at 19:56h, 04 July Reply

    This is really helpful. I’ve been working really hard at monetizing my blog and my writing skills and often feel like I have no idea what I’m doing when talking to brands/companies that I’m working with or have worked with in the past. These tips are going to help me feel more confident and focus on my specialty. Thank you so much!

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 19:58h, 04 July Reply

      Glad my blog is helpful to you.

  • Rikki Singh
    Posted at 19:45h, 04 July Reply

    I Agree with you Sir….

  • Melissa Javan
    Posted at 18:17h, 04 July Reply

    Great tips, I like #3

  • Cole at SheMonster Media
    Posted at 16:23h, 04 July Reply

    These are all really great suggestions! Right now I’m working on being a lot more productive and using my time better. I need to find systems and tools that are useful to me. Thanks for all the tips!

  • Drama
    Posted at 14:44h, 04 July Reply

    I am applying all of these tips in my business. I try to get on a personal level with my clients to understand more of their needs.

  • Vinod verma
    Posted at 13:53h, 04 July Reply

    It seems like you read my mind. Your every post is useful to me. I read your each post.

  • Kevin
    Posted at 13:07h, 04 July Reply

    Nice idea! This will really help. Thank you for sharing

  • Gidokblog
    Posted at 12:56h, 04 July Reply

    All 5 points are important but in my own opinion the 2nd and 3rd point is most important cause when you specialize on one thing that will help to increase the quality of work thereby leaving your client with no option than to increase your rate. Love this..

  • Daniel Horowitz
    Posted at 23:05h, 03 July Reply

    Great post. Despite working full time I was previously very active as a freelancer. But not anymore. This post has some good advice to get back out there. Definitely will be bookmarking it.

  • Kristal
    Posted at 19:13h, 03 July Reply

    I agree with this post.

  • Reginald
    Posted at 17:44h, 03 July Reply

    Ot is very important to put enough effort in dealing with one’s client, because it is very hard to get a new client and when you get one, put in your efforts to keep them loyal to you.

  • Sanja Loshik
    Posted at 17:17h, 03 July Reply

    Great article, I will definitely apply the advises in future. The are so valid. One need to appreciate their own effort in order to gain respect and appreciation from the clients,

  • Sofia
    Posted at 15:44h, 03 July Reply

    I have to say that #3 really resonated with me because it’s so true especially when people are looking to get a specialist job. No one can do everything so if you claim you do, you probably don’t do it right and at the end of the day people want quality.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 16:27h, 03 July Reply

      Absolutely, this is one of the biggest mistakes new freelancers make.

  • Katherine
    Posted at 15:13h, 03 July Reply

    I like it, good to know what our skills are worth. I wonder though if you ever do “loyalty discounts”. I personally would have a hard time losing a client that has come to me for years because of a rate change.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 16:26h, 03 July Reply

      I think the reason people lose old clients is due to them asking for a raise suddenly. If a client is used to paying a certain amount for a service, you have to give them a very good reason to pay you more.

  • Jade
    Posted at 14:57h, 03 July Reply

    Thanks for the useful tips
    I could really learn from number 5.

  • elsiepointe
    Posted at 14:50h, 03 July Reply

    Your third point is so valid. I’m not a freelancer but I do plan on writing for some websites in the near future.

  • Michelle Langi
    Posted at 14:27h, 03 July Reply

    These are wonderful tips especially on specializing in one area.

  • Phaytea's Pulse
    Posted at 13:54h, 03 July Reply

    I agree with the 4th point…it’s important to put in extra effort in handling a clients needs…building a good relationship with the client aids trust

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