Want to learn how to negotiate like your life depends on it (because it kinda does)? In this blog, you'll find our top tips on negotiating (higher) rates with your clients, new and existing. We've included some conversation starters and prompts to keep the conversation going.
Because sometimes negotiating with clients feels like negotiating with unreasonable hostage-takers. Or hungry toddlers. Which makes sense: Talking about money isn't easy. But as a freelancer, it's an invaluable skill.
Read on for these 3 scenarios:
⁉️ You don’t know what to charge
📈 You want to raise rates for existing clients
🙄 You’re negotiating with clients that want 'cheap'
Here’s the scenario: you simply don’t know what to charge. You’re new to freelancing and trying to determine your rate, or a client comes to you with a new type of project.
When a potential client asks you for your hourly rate, project rate, or simply wants you to name a price – without there being a specific scope of project on the table, you’re lacking information. That’s what you’re trying to solve in the conversation that follows.
The first rule of freelance club? Don't talk about rates without knowing anything about the project. If a client is not willing to chat about that, it's safe to assume all they are doing is collecting rates to pick the cheapest one in the end. Or that they don’t really know what the project will look like: so tread with caution.
''Before discussing price, let’s discuss the project and what you’re hoping to achieve, so I can give you an accurate estimate. The way I see it, every project and client have different needs. I try to adapt my pricing to that with custom prices, so no client pays for something that's not right for them.''
If they keep pushing, you can either push back and decide this client might not be a right fit, or give them a wide bracket of prices, in which you should be safe.
If you want to raise your rates for existing clients, but are afraid they'll leave, it’s time to do some math. Not fun, I know, but hear me out.
Newsflash: sometimes, clients leaving kind of the point. You’re not trying to collect a huge stack of clients and end up with an unmanageable workload (unless you’re planning to turn into an agency and outsource).
Raising your rates can and should be used to buy back some of your own time. If one or two clients opt-out, don't panic yet: if everyone else stays, you could still be making the same amount as before. Or maybe even more! Just with more free time.
This will help you kick-start the conversation:
But then…what if they don't agree?
Someone else can always do it cheaper, sure. If a client replies to your proposal that the guys on Fiverr can do it for half your price, don’t lower your price to that point and don’t start screaming either.
Start by taking a few deep breaths. Get up out of your chair, take a walk. Once you've cooled down, sit back down and continue the conversation like this:
''All clear! If the budget is the main priority for this project, that's completely understandable. However, my quote is based on efficiency/maximum impact/impressive designs (whatever fits your biz). I'd be happy to chat further about your goal for this project and see how we can make it work.''
Want to try out your negotiating skills on fellow freelancers before taking them to the table, or share experiences with people who know what it’s like? Join our Slack channel and connect with freelancers from all over the world!
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Go forth and raise your rates,
Vicky from Corgee 🖖