This is a guest post by Richard McMunn.
Most people starting out on their freelance career will use one of two paths to get work. They will either promote themselves to contacts that they already have, or they will advertise in one form or another for new work. Regardless of which path is taken, the temptation is to initially offer their services at a lower rate in order to prove that they are reliable and can get the job done. This can be a great way of building a reputation, but it can cause problems later on when it comes to reappraising the prices for services. So, how should you raise your prices as a freelancer?
There are probably as many ideas on how to do this as there are freelancers, as everyone’s situation is different. One excellent suggestion though, is to have a yearly price review around November. By sending out an email or letter to clients explaining that you have had a review of your prices, and that you will need to increase them in the New Year, you will be informing them in the most professional manner possible. As long as the price rise is realistic, most clients will simply budget your rise into their equations rather than go through the process of trying to source cheaper freelancers who may not be as good or as reliable.
A price review does not need to just be in November, of course. Anyone that has knowingly under-priced their work in order to secure a new client should review the price again after six months. If the client has been satisfied with your services during this time, and you are way off the current market rate, then it is only reasonable to request an increase in pay. In fact, if the client has been impressed with your work, they will more likely than not be expecting you to raise your prices as a freelancer in any case.
Some freelancers operate in a very narrow niche, and often know fellow freelancers in the same field. Building up contacts with freelancers as well as clients can be just as important, as not only does it give a better idea of what the going rate for work is, but it can also lead to other things, such as discovering if people are retiring or have started a huge contract. Either of these two cases presents the chance to raise prices, as there are less freelancers available out on the market.
Another thing that freelancers often forget is that the longer they have been working for themselves, the more skills they will have developed, and this is the same for an interpreter as it is for a freelance writer. When applying for work, you are not just pricing in the time spent to do the job, but also the years’ of experience that has been accumulated.
Finally, if you are hesitant in raising the prices for existing clients, then simply increase the rates when going after more work for new clients. At this point, you will be relying on the reputation that you have carefully built over the previous months or years and will start earning what you are truly worth.
About the author
How2become was established by Richard McMunn in 2005, who was working as a Fire Officer for Kent Fire & Rescue Service at the time. Since writing his first book, how to become a firefighter, Richard has gone on to author various titles spanning across multiple careers. The company has grown and developed into the UK’s leading careers information and development website. Connect with How2become on Facebook