The Clock is Ticking: Now is the Time to Raise Freelance Writing Rates

Carol Tice

Why It's Time to Raise Freelance Writing Rates — Now. Makealivingwriting.comWhen’s the right time to raise your freelance writing rates?

Here’s a hint. November is one of my favorite months. And it’s not because of the impending holidays, though.

It’s because this is the best time of year to raise your freelance writing rates.

Seriously, how about starting the New Year already knowing you’re going to make more money? Yes, please.

Here’s the thing…if you want a raise next year, the clock is ticking. It won’t be long before your holiday line-up of parties, shopping, and events take up all your free time.

Maybe you even dial back freelance work for a few weeks during the holidays. That’s fine. It’s one of the perks of being a freelancer.

But if you don’t take action now, you could miss out on one of those no-time-like-the-present opportunities to raise your freelance writing rates.

Do you have any low-paying clients? Are you getting paid what you’re worth? Have you developed your skills and portfolio to charge higher freelance writing rates?

If you’ve been thinking about this stuff, here’s why you need to raise your freelance writing rates…right…now.

Tell clients your freelance writing rates go up Jan. 1

If you notify your existing clients of your new, higher rates now — but make them effective Jan. 1 — that is the optimal strategy for getting your raise accepted.

Don’t ask for too much, where it freaks them out. Maybe 5 percent or 10 percent is ideal.

It’s not likely clients will give you a 50 percent or 100 percent raise. If they’re paying you peanuts, realize it’ll be easier to find a better-paying client and then drop your low-payer.

Why this raise plan works

With the small raise, the pain to your client is much less than the pain of having to start over and train a new writer to know everything about their business, topic, or reader.

And the 6-week lead time means they make a note to budget a little more in the future…and then basically forget about it. They don’t have to pay it now, so it goes off their radar.

You also seem professional by giving them all that notice that the rate hike is coming.

Why the time is now — anytime

Even if you’re reading this at a different time of year than November, you should realize that now is the time to raise your rates.

Here are five big reasons why:

1. Rising costs

Consumer-goods prices are rising (check out corn and oil these days, for instance), so you need a raise just to keep your standard of living the same. If you’re not raising, your quality of life is actually going downhill.

2. Growing knowledge

If you’ve been with a client for a year or more, your value to them has increased, as you’ve learned more about what they do. You should earn more to reflect that. The anniversary date of when you started with them is another great time to negotiate for a higher rate.

3. You’re underpriced

Most new freelance writers tend to bid way too low — I see this all the time. The only way to start rectifying this problem is to ask for raises. If you’re really low, you’ll be surprised how many clients readily accept your higher rates for next year.

4. It’s normal

Most other service providers regularly raise their rates, on everything from housecleaning to transcribing to cable TV service. Why should you be the exception?

5. Better writing

You’re a more experienced writer than you were a year ago. So you should adjust your vision of the pay level you are entitled to. Start targeting better-quality clients and asking for more.

The easiest way to get a raise

If the idea of asking your current clients for a raise terrifies you (or you know they only pay that one, low rate no matter what), you can still start earning more.

Just raise your rates for new clients.

They never paid the old rate, so they’ll never know the difference.

Will you raise your freelance writing rates for 2020? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

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18 Comments

  1. Kevin Carlton

    This year, I set an advance date for my rate increases at 6 April. This is the date the official new tax year starts here in the UK, so it kind of makes sense.
    I perhaps put my rates up by a little bit too much, which was about 15%. As a result, I did lose a little bit of work.
    But did I regret it? Absolutely not.
    Instead of doing lots of work for what seemed like peanuts, I at least felt as if I was earning decent money on the actual work I was doing.
    With the free time I gained from losing some work, I finally found time to develop my own business.
    And through spending the time wisely, by rebranding, setting up a website and marketing my services, I finally feel that I actually have a business.

    Reply
    • Carol Tice

      Thanks for sharing that great story, Kevin! And for adding another good time peg for a raise — tax day!

  2. Tracey

    I have a regular client like Kimberley’s who I’ve been with since March. I’m going to use this approach to let him know the rate will go up come March 2013 – that’s after a year together. Totally reasonable, imho..

    Reply

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