Last Updated on: February 16th, 2016
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!)
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.
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.
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:
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).
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:
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.
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. 🙂[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!
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