So you’ve been working with a client for a while.
It’s going well and they are happy with your work. You want to keep the relationship going, but your rates have gone up since you struck your original deal with them. You don’t want to lose the business, but the rates are no longer profitable for you. How do you handle this situation?
Here are some tips for raising rates with a legacy client.
Don’t enter into the conversation with a timid or apologetic tone. You’ve got to think about it from a business perspective, that’s definitely how your client will be thinking.
Express your appreciation for the relationship.
Make sure that you tell your client how much you enjoy working with them personally. You don’t want to ruin the goodwill you’ve spent time fostering with them, so playing hardball is probably not the best way to roll. Yes your time is worth more now, but maybe they’ve got a limited budget until the next fiscal calendar… Maybe you would be willing to cut them a short term deal with the caveat that the next contract needs to come in at your correct rate.
Show them what’s changed.
If your rates are going up, they’re going to want to know why. Think about it this way: if something starts to cost more, especially over a short period of time, you expect that you should be getting a more valuable product. Help your clients understand what has changed and how they’ll still be getting a great value from your partnership. This could be demonstrating an increase in followers or traffic. It could be explaining that you’ve had to hire additional staff, but now they’ll be able to get their images faster.
Be prepared to lose them.
You have to be ready for the possibility that your client may not pay your new rates. Hopefully you are raising rates because business is booming and you need to keep a higher margin, hire help, etc. But if you cannot afford to lose the client, then you should think about creating a package deal or some other way to incentivize them to stay while also maintaining your healthy business.
Consider package deals or bonuses.
What are the things you can throw them “for free” that feel like a good value to them. Maybe you throw in an extra round of edits, add Twitter /Facebook syndication to an Instagram post, throw out a free IG story mention, or toss them an extra photo or two in their package… Whatever the “deal” is that you can include to make the raised rates feel like more value as well.
Creative Community Director at Snapfluence.
There is often a pen stuck in my hair.