Tips for Negotiating a Rate Increase – Or Quitting a Contract

Undoubtedly, anybody who enters this game of freelance content writing will go through many changes. In the beginning, you’ll be on call and ready to answer an email at the drop of a hat. You would probably have taken any job within reason to get your name out there and for some precious income.

Over time, things change. You become (or you should) more particular about which jobs you take. As your demand and reputation go up, so should your rates. You should be less willing to work all hours and weekends. You should also be more resistant to requests for a discount under most circumstances. You’ll also find that what was once a lucrative contract at the start of your career is now your lowest paying job. You’re finding it less profitable.What do you do, tell the client you don’t want to work with them anymore? No, at least not at first. Instead, you should attempt to discuss revising your rates. Money is a delicate matter, so how do you begin to approach asking a client for more money. And if they say no, how do you part gracefully?

how to renegotiate rates as a freelancer

Step 1: Explain the Situation

Maybe the job takes up too much time for little reward. Maybe you have too much work and now feel the need to trim to restore that work-life balance. Maybe you feel you’re not earning enough on that one job against newer clients. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you need to view these situations dispassionately and do what is right for your business. Even as a one-person band freelance content writer – that’s what you are, a business. Explain that you would like to revise the rates of pay and how it’s no longer beneficial for you. Nobody wants to pay more for anything, but if they value your relationship and the work you do for them they will be at least willing to discuss it.

Step 2: Be Willing to Discuss

It is down to both sides to be willing to discuss and that means you too. If they want to meet face to face in an office environment or by Skype video chat, be open to doing so. Be willing to listen to their reasoning and reaffirm why you feel you need to do this. Explain it is no longer profitable that you have other clients paying higher rates and giving you more work or whatever your reasoning might be. The key is to demonstrate that you are being reasonable and that it’s not unreasonable to want to renegotiate. You’ll get one of three responses: yes, no or “can we negotiate?” If they flat refuse to discuss anything and won’t pay a penny more, it’s time to say goodbye.

Step 3: The Parting of the Ways

Never, ever, under any circumstances attempt to burn your bridges. Don’t let it end on petty recriminations even if they are unable or unwilling to pay your increased rates.

  • It may not be their decision to make and their boss has said no
  • They may not have the budget to pay your new rates
  • Your new rates may be vastly different from the old one and it’s too much of a leap

Besides, being rude and unprofessional will not look good on you and you certainly won’t get work from them again. I’ve had new clients recommended from older clients who couldn’t or didn’t want to pay my higher rates. Yet they kept me in mind and recommended me to other people. They didn’t have to but they chose to do so. If you are rude to a former client, that will never happen. Agree on a cut off date beneficial to both of you. That way if they have content they want to finish up, you won’t leave them in the lurch and they know they can rely on you to get it done.


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