How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client

Last Updated on: February 16th, 2016

Image of a dollar sign

Good freelancers know their worth, but new freelancers are often uncomfortable asking for a raise, even if they know in their hearts that they deserve it.

Asking for a raise can be intimidating for a lot of people. (Heck, setting your own rates is tough, too!)

COPY CODE SNIPPET

Today, I’m going to try to make things more comfortable for you.

By the end of this post, you’ll have the confidence to ask for the raise you deserve!

You’ll also gain a bit of insight into the negotiation process through a specific experience I had with one of my clients.

Give Valid Reasons for Your Request

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you’ll probably remember that I used to guest blog monthly on a site called Dear Blogger, owned by Greg Narayan.

I took Greg on as a client back in 2013, when I first began freelancing, and performed three different services for him: writing monthly blog posts of my own, editing some of his blog posts, and sharing Dear Blogger posts on Twitter on a regular basis.

I was paid for each of these services, too.

After six months of writing fabulous posts for him (which were, naturally, edited to perfection!), I decided that the rate of $50 USD simply wasn’t enough anymore, and so I wanted to up my rate to $75 USD.

(If you take a look at the post I wrote for Dear Blogger called Guest-Posting and Guest-Hosting: Best Practices, you’ll not only be witness to some stellar writing but you’ll see that this post is priceless! The tips offered in that post are evergreen, too, which further proves that I definitely was not charging enough!)

Anyway, about three weeks prior to this decision, I had also decided to increase my editing rates. I gave Greg one month’s notice regarding this change, and I also posted a notice of the upcoming increase on my Services page.

When I sent Greg my “bill” for May 2014, I wrote the following email to inform him of the change I was making:

Dear Greg (aka Dear Blogger),

Please pay me $195 for May 2014 . Attached is the bill. As you know, my PayPal email is [email protected] and funds are to be paid in US dollars, as usual.

Also please note that my editing rates are increasing in one month, on July 1, 2014. The new rates can be found in the attached document as well as on my website. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you.
Warmly,
Lorraine

Because Greg and I both signed a contract that we mutually agreed to, three weeks later, when I decided I deserved a raise, I broached the subject carefully in another email.

Here is the exact email I sent to him:

Greg,

I wanted to raise an issue with you that I think is a bit unfair that we touched upon in the past. It is regarding the posts I write for you.

My outlook has changed as a result of my growing experience with SEO and blogging in general, and I know that my skills have improved immensely.
Now, considering that you pay me to help you edit your posts, I think you should either: a. pay me more for the posts I write for you OR b. pay me to edit the posts I write for you.

Of course, you could always:
c. not hire me at all, for anything!
d. hire me for editing only.
e. hire me for writing only.
f. hire me for both writing and editing (in addition to Tweeting for you).

Which option would you like to go with?

Please let me know, as I would also like to update our “agreement” (contract).
Thanks!

Greg responded by simply asking me: “How much work would you say it is editing your own posts?”

[Tweet “Learn how to ask for that raise you deserve! #freelancing #HowTo”]

Cite Others’ Rates

Being an English teacher and a stickler for great writing, the obvious answer might be “not a lot.” Often, the editing process in this situation required only a final read-through to ensure the post I wrote was typo-free. However, in order to validate my request, this is how I responded to him:

Greg,
You are an awesome “boss” and I like working for you. 🙂

With reference to my last “request,” I want to be fair, and so I was thinking that, because my posts are always long, always perfectly edited, and always great, a flat rate of $75 per post would be fine.

I’m going to be adding some blog post package rates to my blog in the near future, too, as part of my new services package (and raised rates), so this is a deal for you — compared to others’ rates!

(Another example of someone’s rates can be found here.)

I know I can write as well as any of them, too. In fact, I think I can write even better than they can!
I don’t want to charge per word, but I might have to go that route in the future. For now, I’d like to keep the flexibility we have.

If you want to detail every single thing, however, feel free to draft something for me to adhere to and if we are both in agreement, we can put our signatures to it. I think, however, that you like the way things are (in general) and so want to continue the relationship we have. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

I’m also nearly done the post for you for this month, and I’d like for our new post rate of $75 per post to be effective immediately.

Do we have a deal? If so, I’ll take it upon myself to update our “agreement” and send you a new version of it for you to sign and keep.

Sound good?

I also attached our current agreement/contract to the email.

Guess what his response was?

Yep. A positive one! 🙂

By providing Greg with a combination of a positive attitude, solid reasons why I deserved a raise, and information about the rates other freelancers were charging, I was able to secure the increase I sought. 🙂

I continued working for Greg for another seven months, until I terminated our contract. I also bought back the final post I wrote for him, and plan on publishing it on Wording Well in the near future as either a single post or a three-part series. FYI, if you need a sample contract, you can obtain one through the FITS post by Corrine Kerston
[Tweet “You are worth more than you think. #raisethewage”]

Remind Your Client of Any “Extra” Work You Do

Fortunately for me, during my “negotiations” with Greg, I didn’t have to remind him of all of the extra work I did, which included providing him with images to use in his posts, uploading the posts into the Dear Blogger dashboard, categorizing the posts, tagging the posts, improving the URL of the posts, and accomodating any changes Greg wanted made. On occasion, I also updated posts after they were published to either add a link to a new post, or enhance it in some other way. In addition to all of this, I also responded to each comment left on the posts I wrote.

At times, it felt as though the Dear Blogger blog was mine due to the amount of work I did! 😉

Use this Strategy to Increase Your Rates

When you feel that you are in need of a raise and definitely deserve one, give your clients compelling reasons for why they should respond favourably to your request. Honesty works really well, as does a give-and-take.

You can also remind your clients about the times you’ve gone the extra mile for them, or for any additional work you’ve done that was free of charge.

One other thing you might consider doing, too, is citing the rates of your competitors (but only do this if their prices are higher)), like I did with Greg.

If you present yourself well, and follow these tips, you’ll likely be given that raise you deserve!

Just make sure your emails are typo-free. 😉

Plus, “If you really believe you deserve a raise, your client will believe it as well.” ~Addison Duvall, author of Freelancers: How To Raise Your Rates

Psst. Pin this quote! Then Tweet it!

quote about a raise

[Tweet “If you really believe you deserve a raise, your client will believe it as well.”]

Some More Freelancing Tips for Increasing Your Rates

Carol Tice from Make a Living Writing has shared her views on this subject many times, and usually follows a specific plan for how freelancers should raise their rates.

She also wrote How to Raise Your Freelance Pay Rates in the Next 60 Days, which offers the following tips:

  • raise your rates for new clients
  • ask existing clients for a raise for next year
  • pitch higher-paid services to existing clients
  • offer volume or package discounts
  • drop fixed-rate clients
  • drop your lowest payer
  • use the one-year anniversary of an existing client as the time to ask for a raise

Upping your rates on a regular basis is something most freelancers should do. Generally speaking, inflation rates rise each year, which increases your cost of living. (My rent goes up each May, without fail!)

Raising your rates every six months or so can be a good practice to follow. If you post your rates on your website, you could also mention that your rates rise on specific dates, such as January 1st and July 1st.

If you want to play around with some numbers, you can use an inflation calculator to determine the minimum amount you should raise your last year’s rates by. 😉

If you are still fairly new to freelancing, I’d highly recommend taking Gina Horkey’s course 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. You can read the post I wrote about it, or you can buy it directly from Gina’s page.

(This last link is an affiliate link, which is one thing I really like about this course. AND YOU can become an affiliate, too, because, at the end of this course, Gina gives you an opportunity to become an affiliate of hers, which means that YOU can earn $18 for every sale of the course YOU make! So be sure to pick up this course TODAY!)

[Tweet “Learn how to freelance. Be taught by a pro. #freelancing #writingtips”]

Share Your Best Tips

Have you ever asked for a raise? Did you get it? What strategies did you use to get it?

What other tips have you used to secure a raise from one of your clients?

Share in the comments, please!

Dollar sign image courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

14 thoughts on “How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client

  1. The important thing is to be firm and stand your point, while being polite at the same time. This is a great negotiation tactic you brought out there, many freelancers will find it helpful.

  2. Carol Amato says

    Hi, Lorraine,

    What a wonderful topic for discussion – so many freelancers will definitely benefit from this.

    The only suggestion I’d like to make is avoid using “always perfectly edited” . . . Setting a high standard doesn’t have to include the words ‘always’ and ‘perfect’ – Awesome, Lorraine – Sharing it out. . .

    Have a great weekend!

    ˜Carol 🙂

    • says

      Carol, I suppose that I’ve always been different from others when it comes to perfection, because I’m a perfectionist! I can see your point, though.

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Have a great weekend, too. Well, what’s left of it. 😉

  3. Hi Lorraine,

    Great job.

    If you’ve ever linked with other freelance writers on Linkedin, there are plenty of underpaid freelance writers there. I make more money on some writing “jobs” than they do with clients, and it’s all due to their lack of self-esteem and fear to ask for what they’re worth.

    Thanks for the tips.

    ~Sylviane

    • says

      Sylviane, I’ve met many underpaid writers via LinkedIn, but I’ve also met quite a few who charge even more than I do. Of course, they write in specific niches (such as finance and tech), so I can understand why they get paid the big bucks. 😉

      Most people who work for peanuts do so because they continually apply for and bid on low projects via job boards. I’m sure that their self-esteem won’t be raised until they learn to look for jobs elsewhere.

      I hope this article, however, will help someone earn more money!

      Good seeing you again here, Sylviane. Talk soon!

    • says

      Kerry, you are a great writer, in my opinion, and anyone you write for would be lucky to have you. 🙂

      But I also know you are a different type of writer and would rather write stories and be a published author. 😉

      Thanks for dropping by and reading these tips!

  4. Hi Lorraine,

    I like the way you have shown examples of how to ask for a raise. I’m not a freelance writer but from buyer’s perspective, if I was using one, I would understand someone asking me for a raise.

    There is so much you do, and you sure deserve a raise! I like the way you handled that, especially giving him options. You have shown how to control your business in an ethical manner.

    And because you have given this man more of what you learned (seo) you have explained to him exactly what you are doing.

    How can a person say no if they are happy with your services?

    -Donna

    • says

      Donna, it’s always great to get a different perspective, especially from a employer’s stance. Thanks for that!

      I like presenting people with options, too. It gives them a sense of control, and allows them to become part of the decision-making process.

      I also always try to be as ethical and as fair as possible! 🙂

      By providing my clients with so much, it’s very hard for them to refuse.

      Thanks for coming by to comment and show your support. 🙂

      If you ever need a freelancer, I’m your gal!

  5. Lorraine,

    I really like that you shared examples of how to ask for a raise! I think it’s awesome that you pointed out that you have built more experience and are more SEO savvy than when he hired you. I think it’s worth pointing that type of thing out when you ask for a raise. The truth is, it’s not just about under quoting yourself from the beginning. It’s that as you learn and grow, your services become worth more, too.

    Great post!

    • says

      Alicia, I can still remember how “green” I was when I first began blogging. Geez. I felt like I knew nothing! But after diving into it full-force and learning the tips and tricks from the “big guys,” I have come a long way!

      Mentioning my personal growth regarding SEO to Greg just proved to him that my services were definitely worth more than my old rate.

      I suppose I kind of glossed over this fact in this post, so thanks for pointing out how important it really is! 🙂

      P.S. I read your recent guest post, too, and shared it, but didn’t comment on it. Sorry! 🙁

  6. says

    Hi Lorraine,

    Great story and negotiation tactics! I haven’t asked for a raise from my current clients, but I raise my rates with every new client.

    I always try to remember a quote Samar Owais’ had on her post before asking a ridiculously high rate, “If you’re not asking for a figure that embarrasses you, you’re not asking for enough (5 Brutal Truths About Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates).”

    This has definitely worked in my favor. Thanks for letting us in on how you negotiated your way to a higher pay.

    Elna

    • says

      Elna, I read that exact same quote when writing this article! LOL It’s true, too. Most clients don’t blink twice when you tell them your rates, even if you are inwardly cringing!

      BTW, I’m looking forward to our meeting tomorrow night! See you at Starbucks! 🙂

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