How to Negotiate a Higher Rate With Your Current Client

It’s scary isn’t it?

The thought of telling your current freelance writing client you want more money.

They could end up never emailing you again.

How to Negotiate a Higher Rate With Your Current Client

Or, they could drop the scope of your project from four posts a month to one post a month.

They can even publicly oust you on social media….well, I doubt that would actually happen. But, that’s not to say this thought won’t go through your mind when you decide to increase your rate.

For me, the fear was losing a client. I have a wide range of clients, but I’m trying to build my credibility in the digital marketing niche. This client has been pivotal in helping me with building my portfolio.

So, suffice it to say, I was at a crossroads. This client was providing me with consistent work, but I had originally underestimated the amount of time it would take to provide flagship style content.

I wanted to keep the client – because their content looks good in my portfolio – but I just wasn’t earning what I should have been earning.

So, I made the decision to let them know my new proposed rate.

If you are in the same situation – wanting to earn more money with a current client – then here are the steps to help you out.

1. Set the Bar High

I’ve talked extensively about the idea of wowing your clients.

If you landed a client in your intended niche, the best thing you can do is make their lives easier and ultimately help them make more money.

I’m all for going the extra mile for clients I want to collaborate with and those that I know can help me get to the next level in my freelance writing business.

So, go ahead and impress them. For example, instead of writing a post on the steps it takes to ditch your 9-5 job and go freelance, why not include first hand accounts from actual solopreneurs?

Instead of turning in a post about ways to increase your subscriber rate, why not provide annotated screenshots of specific ways the client’s readers could implement?

When you do this, you’ll get emails like this:

kudos page wiz

Other ways to wow a client:

  • Always exceed your deadlines
  • Provide your author bio in HTML
  • Source and optimize your images correctly
  • Format your post correctly
  • Upload your post into their CMS

By setting this expectation, the talk of increasing your rate won’t come off as a complete surprise to the client. They may think they are getting a steal, so when you let them know you’ll be upping your rate, your above-and-beyond efforts can increase your chance that the client will agree to your new rate.

2. Remind Your Freelance Writing Client How Well Your Content is Doing

I’m a freelance blogger and copywriter. So, the bulk of my clients hire me for their blog content or content marketing.

My role is to help increase subscribers, engagement, profits, downloads etc…

So, when you get the confidence to send off that rate increase email, it’s probably a good idea to remind them how well your post is doing.

Your client may even provide this information for you!

stats

3. Give the Reason for the Rate Increase

It isn’t fair to the client to just blatantly tell them that your rates are higher because it’s been x months since you’ve bene working with them. To increase the chance of having them accept your new rate, give them a valid reason why they are higher. Be honest with them.

In my situation with this client,  the amount of time it took me to research, write, edit and optimize images did not reflect what I was earning from this client.

You might have a different situation. Maybe you are paring down your clients and dropping any clients below your threshold. So, telling your client how you’re making room for your top tier clients can spur this client to take action, or not.

In either case, providing a solid reason why you are raising your rates will help you convince your client that what you are proposing is justified and makes sense.

4. Tell Your Client Your New Higher Rate

I’m sure you heard from other entrepreneurs or freelancers that when discussing your rate, whether for landing clients or increasing your rate, to always aim high.

The other day, a business contacted me for a business-related post. Since I’m swamped this month and don’t really have room for many more new projects, I inflated my rate by 100% and they accepted it!

So, with your rate increase, aim high. In this particular case I mentioned a 50% increase, which is a lot, but not astronomical. If I got 50% or 25% I would be happy since that would cover my time writing for this client.

5. Offer Your Freelance Writing Client a Choice

An additional thing you can do for the client is give them some options like:

  • Keep the same old rate, but lessen the scope of the project (less words, less case studies, less outbound links, less amount of posts per month)
  • Agree to the rate increase and keep the high level of in-depth content you provide

I used this approach and it worked in my favor, so it could for you too!

6. Remind Your Client of Your Collaboration

Okay. The hard part is over. You stated your new rate and now all that’s left is to remind them of your true value.

Remember, as a freelance writer you don’t work for your client, you work with your client.

Tell your client how much you enjoy writing for them and how much you enjoy working together. Leave a good impression in your email.

Is It Time?

If you’re new to freelance writing, you may not even fathom trying to increase your rate with current clients. But, if you’ve been at this for a while and want to move up from the $25 posts to better and higher-paying content jobs, increasing your rate with current clients can help you do this.

Especially if you have clients that you enjoy writing for.  So, what are you waiting for? If you landed a higher rate with a client, tell me about it. How did you do it?

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

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16 Comments

Liquid gold Elna! Its something I am going thru right now, and to say am scared is putting it mildly. However, after reading your article and reading many comments that I can identify with, I think am well armed to do this now! many thanks and keep it up!Reply to neo
So glad Neo! Raising your rate with clients can be a chilling thing for sure! Glad you got that liquid gold from this post and comments to gain that confidence!Reply to Elna
I agree, keeping communication open and informing your client of valid reasons for rate increases are good moves to maintain their business and ensure a successful negotiation. Great guide!Reply to Heather
Thanks Heather! That’s very much true. It’s up to you to tell clients what your rate is.Reply to Elna
Having a reason for the rate increase will make clients much more agreeable to any changes. That is a good negotiation tactic to make sure they know you mean business. Thanks for this advice!Reply to Brian
Hey Brian! Thanks so much!Reply to Elna
You’re so right; if you set the bar higher, people will have higher expectations and be more satisfied. It’s really important to communicate clearly with your clients and make certain they understand what how everything is coming together and how it works, especially as a freelance writer. This is very nice work! Thanks so much for sharing!Reply to Morgan
Hi Morgan! Thanks. Yes, setting the bar high is something many freelancers fail to do. They lack confidence in their ability and don’t know their worth! Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna
Great post, Elna – you are right that this matter is not blogged about enough! I remember the first time I raised my prices with a current client – I was terrified of losing them but then again, I knew I am being underpaid because of an increase in tasks scope so… even if I lost them, I would have still been happy because I could get new clients at much higher rates. One thing that I would like to add to your tactics (which are great, by the way – I use them, too!) – give them time to consider but do put them on a schedule. When initiating this negotiation, the email should trigger a negotiation indeed; one should not expect an immediate answer since pay raises usually involve changes in budgets and whatnot (things that may take a few weeks in some cases). Nevertheless, it should be clear by when you expect the answer, so that you avoid being in “negotiations mode” forever. Just food for thought. Great post buffering it now! ~Diana P.S. I have also written a post on the topic; it’s a few years old but the tactics are good as ever. If anyone’s interested, I have included the link in the website field of this comment… hope you don’t mind, Elna! 🙂Reply to Diana
Thanks Diana! You brought up a good point about the negotiation time frame. It does take weeks sometime for businesses to accommodate the rate change (or not). For me it did take a couple weeks and everything worked out great 🙂Reply to Elna
Elna, this reminds me of the post I wrote for Wording Well about How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client. Well done! P.S. I used the same tactics as you did. 😉Reply to Lorraine
Oh, fantastic! I remember reading that post! Way to go and I know for many freelance writers increasing your rate can be a little anxiety-provoking to say the least. Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Wow, you’ve definitely given freelancers a good headstart if they’ve been wondering how to approach a client with a new rate but stalled because of fears over losing that client. I also believe in going the extra mile for clients, they remember that and will continue to want to work with us. I haven’t approached the idea of raising my rates but now that I have a roadmap to putting a good email together to explain why I decide to do so, I’m going to give it some serious thought. Thank you for putting this together and sharing it with us. I hope you’re having a great week! CoriReply to Corina
Hey Corina! Thanks so much for stopping by! The topic of raising your rates with current clients isn’t talked about enough. You may have a great client, but they don’t pay what you’re worth. Before dropping them, why not negotiate a new rate? That’s great that you go the extra mile for clients. I talk about this quality a lot on my blog as it’s something I feel is important to help you grow your business. Glad my emails will help you in the future with introducing the negotiation talk with your clients.Reply to Elna
Great post Elna! I’m pretty new to the game so I’m still working on making sure I’m getting a fair rate for the work involved. This illustrates something that I know I’ll eventually have to take into account. A lot of us want to provide amazing value while working less and making more and you can’t do that selling yourself short. Having more time to spend on the things and people that matter most is definitely where it’s at. Raising your rates appears to be one of the better ways to accomplish that. 🙂Reply to Chad
Hey Chad, Thanks! I realized after publishing this post that maybe most of my audience may not relate to this post. They are trying to first land any client and aren’t even considering improving their rate with a current client. But, I’m sure it’ll help someone out there! So happy to you that you made the switch to freelance! If you have any questions, I’m here.Reply to Elna