Raising your rates is never easy, but it’s a sign of growth in your freelance business. It’s a reason to celebrate! Communicating the price increase to your clients, on the other hand? Now that’s another story.
Though it can be a nerve wracking conversation to have, letting your clients know that you’ve raised your rates must be approached in a timely and professional way if you want to keep the relationship running smoothly.
Here are five things to keep in mind when you communicate to your clients that you’ve raised your prices.
Determine the communication method
Email is usually the most effective and straightforward way to let your clients know about a price change. But it also depends on what the norm is for you and your clients.
If your preferred method of communication with clients is over video calls, for instance, then it doesn’t hurt to have this conversation over video where you’re most comfortable. Just be sure to let them know over email that you want to schedule a call to discuss your pricing so they’re prepared for the conversation ahead of time.
Communicate the reason
When it comes to arguably the hardest part of the message — stating the reason you’re raising your prices — keep it simple. You don’t need to over justify, but you do need to give them some insight so it doesn’t come across as if you’re raising your rates for the fun of it.
Put yourself in your clients shoes and keep your reason focused on what the benefit will be to them. Maybe this price increase will allow you to dedicate more time to their projects. Or perhaps the higher rate will help you bring on another teammate whose skill will benefit the project. This is your chance to communicate value-based pricing.
Remind them of results
Once you’ve communicated your reasoning and emphasized the value of your offerings, remind them of what you’ve done so far by highlighting any major results or wins.
Again, this can also be short and sweet — no need to rattle off your entire resume! The point is to remind them of what you’ve helped them achieve during your time working together as a way to communicate your value-based price.
Provide plenty of notice
Just like you wouldn’t want a client to cut your contract or project short without any notice, you don’t want to spring your new pricing on them suddenly.
The professional thing to do is to let your clients know that your new pricing will take effect on X date, and you should ideally communicate this *at least* one month ahead of the price change. So if you want your new pricing to begin on January 1st, let them know by December 1st at the latest. The earlier you can tell them, the better so they have time to prepare or make adjustments on their end.
Of course, refer to the contract in place to make sure you’re acting according to what’s listed under the terms about pricing and notice, etc.
Don’t be afraid to walk away
It’s not uncommon for some clients to push back on pricing. But at the end of the day, this is your business and raising your prices is your decision.
If you receive pushback, emphasize the value and benefit to them once more. They may take some time to think it over before accepting or they may decide that the new price is not a good fit for them.
It may be tempting to want to negotiate with them, especially if this is a client you really like, but if this is a price you feel good about, then remain firm. The good news is, when you lose a client over pricing, you’re bound to gain another who can see the value you bring.