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QOTW-How Do You Gracefully Raise Client Rates?

By Char

No, I am not answering this question (not yet), rather I am asking my gracious readers to help me come up with a strategy.

It’s a new year and after looking at the books and comparing my rates with others providing the same services, I decided it was time to bring my rates up a bit. All new work will get billed at a new rate. That is the easy part.

However, I have clients for whom I have been doing work for three or more years and I have been charging them a much lower rate. I would like to bring their rates up a bit, but don’t want to lose any clients in the process. How do I go about this best?

Does anyone have any experience in this? How do you think I should go about gracefully raising their rates? Or should I leave them where they are and consider it a loyal customer discount?



I’ve done both. In my various businesses, I’ve used 3 methods most often:

- Market: What does the market look like? You can’t base everything on what others in your field are doing, but it’s a good place to start.

- Value provided – Does what you’re doing now make or save more money for your clients then when you began?

- Relationship – I always offer a discount to clients who’ve been with me for a while, and those who we’re doing multiple projects with.


Thanks Tony! I really value your opinion all three of your points make good sense.


If I were a talented graphics artist I would probably do this:

- Present the higher rate to the newbie client
- Grandfather the die-hards into the older rate
- Consider what type of referrals your current clients are sending you
- Maybe offer up some freebies to those that will market you via ads etc

(I say that because there are graphic artists out there right now that get all sorts of traffic from the referrals that they are getting from people that link to their biz and it seems nothing is ever worked out as a sort of “thank you” for your dedication, etc. Not even a discount on future projects.)

Don’t be afraid to raise your rates. As the cost of living rises so must your rates otherwise you might as well do it all for free right?

Definitely recognize those that support you and are true blue fans of your work. One way to lose loyal customers is to ignore them.


Great question! I’m looking forward to seeing what others say as well. I’ve found myself much in the same boat and have been thinking about this since you mentioned it a few months ago.

Some of the more “demanding” clients actually make it very easy to raise rates :) Just think of them when you do it lol


Angela – I forgot to consider your 3rd point – what value am I receiving from having that particular client in my portfolio. Thanks for reminding me!

Gayla – I’m glad that conversation has kept you thinking. Looking for more people to chime in – inquiring minds want to know!!


Hmmm…that is a good one! I recently changed my rates, but am changing venues of where I do business (bidding sites vs. marketing myself directly). My bidding site work was done at a much lower rate (and underpaid rate) because that’s what getting work there required.

I have just a few clients that I’ve stuck with from the bidding sites. They are in the mid-range, and since they are so loyal, I am just keeping them at the current rate, and charging the new rate to new clients only.


This is such a very good question, and so timely too (coming right at the start of a new year).

I don’t have published rates, but I do have clients who are accustomed to me doing lump sum work for a certain amount.

I think the following is a good way to open rate discussions:

“I would love to do this project, but the last time I did one of your projects it actually took more time than we estimated. I think that is because (list reasons). This project seems very similar, I would very much like to work on this project for you, but I think this is a better price for it (client’s lump sum offer + x).”

If they say “no,” then you will have to decide if you can afford to work for what they are willing to pay.

A lot of times the clients really don’t realize how much work we do. I keep my own spreadsheet of my times (a timecard, so to speak), for each project. It’s important to track any unexpected or unusual work that you do as well (extreme difficulties in researching, for example).


TX Writer – I love that response! Tactful but firm.

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