How to increase your prices as a freelancer

Being a freelancer can be tough. Many struggle to find work, bid for jobs or even get paid for work they’ve completed.  

And given that, according to research, half of all freelancers would ask for a pay increase if they were found to be classed as employees for tax purposes, it’s clear that many of the UK’s freelancers aren’t paid the money they deserve. 

However, raising your prices as a freelancer can be scary, particularly if you’re worried that clients might look elsewhere. 

If you’re a freelancer whose talents are worth more than you’re currently being paid, here are some of our top tips on how you can raise your prices to earn the money you deserve. 

1) Tell regular clients you’re raising your prices

Repeat clients are the backbone of any freelancer’s success, so if you have regular clients then you need to communicate directly with them if you’re raising your rates.

Give them advance warning of your cost increase and discuss it openly with them so that they’re not surprised. If you find that some clients are reluctant to accept your price increase, think long and hard about whether or not you need them.

If they’re valuable clients whose business is raising your profile, consider offering them a discount. However, if you feel that they’re simply being cheap, then maybe it’s time to replace them with clients who understand and respect the value of your time and effort. 

If it helps, ask yourself this: would a client who is being difficult about you putting up your prices work for years without a pay rise themselves (getting poorer year-on-year as the cost of living rises)? Or would they expect their employer or customers to pay them more?

If it’s the latter, then why would they not willingly pay you the going rate for what you do?

2) Study for additional qualifications

An ‘easy’ way to raise your prices is to gain additional qualifications that make you more valuable, and justify charging more as a result.

Of course, this will require effort and possibly expense on your part, but it could be a wise long term investment, especially if it sets you apart from other freelancers, or gives you access to more lucrative clients and contracts.

If you’re worried about how to juggle studying and working, check out this guide to studying by Daniel Wong. It helps students of all ages to improve their results and manage their time effectively. 

3) Reconsider your pricing structure in general

There are several different ways that freelancers can be paid, including by the hour, per project or at a set rate for specific services.

When you first start out, you probably, like many freelancers, pick the most common form of freelancer pricing – usually charging by the hour. But over the years your needs, and skillset, will have changed.

So think hard about whether you should not only raise your prices, but also change the way you charge clients for your services. For example, if you’re quick and highly experienced then you may want to start charging by the project. Your experience will enable you to accurately gauge how long it will take you to complete, and your speed will enable you to finish it faster than less experienced freelancers.

So you can price the project competitively for your level of experience, and earn a higher hourly rate than you would if simply charging for your time.

By being creative in how you price your work you can give yourself a pay rise without needing to obvious charge clients more, or price yourself out of the market.

4) Come off freelancing platforms

At the beginning of your career as a freelancer, you may have found platforms such as Upwork and PeoplePerHour to be easy ways to find work. But there’s a price to pay for the convenience, as many of these platforms attract clients who are looking to pay the lowest possible price.

Platforms such as Fiverr are renowned for attracting clients who want quantity over quality. So if you’re keen to raise your prices, and your profile as a freelancer, consider ditching these platforms and seeking out work by using your website, LinkedIn network and online portfolio to attract clients who come to you, rather than the other way around. 

Photo by Hadis Malekie