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How to tell clients you're increasing your rates

Hi everyone

I am a graphic designer with 12 years experience. I have been freelance for just over a year now and am thinking of increasing my fees. I mainly work direct to design agencies, there's about 20 companies who I work for currently (some very regularly, some just occasionally). I think my fees are slightly lower than average for my skillset and ability and I want to bring these inline by increasing them by about 15%.

I'm not sure how to word this to my clients. I guess I need to give them a reason... apart from "I think I can charge you a bit more than I do now"! If anyone has any advice or opinions on this I'd be really grateful.

I've literally been through this yesterday with some of my clients. I had 4 or 5 that I've worked with for over two years who were on a lower rate than my newer clients. So in my case I told them I valued the work and relationship built up but need to increase my rates to bring them in line with what I charge my other clients.

Money is always a tricky conversation to have but do this either in person or over the phone. Don't be apologetic about it but do ask for honest feedback, as to whether this new rate is an issue. If they think you're wrong about being at the lower end of the fee scale they will tell you.
Thanks for the reply, Russell. It is a tough one. I like the idea of saying the price rise is to keep the prices inline with other clients. I hadn't thought of that, and it's true that I charge newer clients more :up:


Staff member
that's why I give a quote for the job not per hour but.....

I'd just be honest and say my overheads (at the very least electric, petrol, consumables etc) have increased (which they have) due to the current economic climate and as such my prices have had to adjust to compensate. Now I'll be the first to admit I'm trying not to increase my prices but I'm going to have to soon, it's getting to the stage where I'll have no option.
That's definitely fair enough if you work mainly from home. Most of my work is done onsite, although it would be relevant for the clients who I work for from home.


Staff member
jf design said:
Most of my work is done onsite,
Still costs you more to get to them than a few months ago, hell the petrol's gone up in the last couple of days out this way....
If you do great work and value your time, you should not hesitate to charge a decent rate, even if that means an increase for existing clients.

The last time I increased my rate (and it wasn't a small increase), the result was less work, but overall a higher income, plus I had the potential to fill that slack time with more work if I wanted to. I wasn't forced to increase my rate either: I work mainly from home so my travel expenses (and time lost due to travel) are almost zero.

If you under charge, you might be cheap and busy, but the perception will be that your work is also 'cheap' if you see what I mean. You might also find the quality of work and client will increase with your rate as the cheapskates and bargain hunters go elsewhere.

If you're good enough , it's a no-brainer.
Thanks guru24! I've been sweating about this all weekend, changing my mind about whether to do it and by how much, but everything you've said I agree with. I think it's time to bite the bullet now.
If most of your work is onsite for clients I presume it's booked on a 'first come first serve' basis? If so then I'd definitely look to bring them all in line at the same (increased) rate. When I was doing a lot of freelance for agencies a couple of years back it became a bit of an issue, as I'd be reluctant to book out my time too far in advance for some of my older clients in case higher paying clients also wanted me in.

You may find (as I did) some not willing to budge on price. I still worked for them but only when I had nothing else in, and I wouldn't commit to more than the odd day.