When and How to Raise Your Copywriting Rates + Templates

Sep 15, 2023 | Get High-Paying Clients

Are you a freelance writer pondering the big question of how to raise your copywriting rates? Trust me, I’ve been there. As a 6-figure freelance copywriter, I can assure you that knowing when and how to bump up your rates is crucial. This blog will guide you through the timing, strategy, and even provide email templates to make the transition smooth for you and your clients!

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The Freelancer’s Dilemma: To Raise or Not to Raise

Freelancers often grapple with the quandary of whether or not to raise their rates. But let’s face it, the cost of living isn’t getting any cheaper. Freelancers need to adapt to the changing economic environment, which makes this a timely conversation about when and how to raise your rates as a freelancer.

The Mindset That Holds Freelancers Back

I’ve been a freelance writer for coming up on a decade and I understand the internal struggles that can deter you from taking the leap to raise your copywriting rates. One common roadblock is the fear of imposter syndrome. Despite your skills and accomplishments, you might question if you’re truly worth the higher rates you desire. It’s crucial to recognize that this self-doubt is natural, and many successful freelancers have battled it (yes, me too!).

  • Imposter Syndrome: It’s that nagging feeling that you’re not as good as others perceive you to be. While it can be paralyzing, remember that it often signifies growth and development in your career. Embrace it as a sign that you’re pushing your boundaries.
  • Fear of Losing Clients: The fear of scaring off loyal clients when you raise your rates is a valid concern. However, rest assured that most clients who value your work will stick around even after a rate hike. They recognize the increased value you bring to the table.

Real-world Data on Inflation and Industry Rates

If you’re still contemplating how often you should raise freelance rates, consider the stats:

  • Cost of Living: The 2023 increase of Social Security benefits to 8.7% surpasses the typical annual Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) of 3.7%. You may not be receiving Social Security benefits, but this is a good indicator of how the general cost of living is on the rise.
  • Inflation Rates: The annual inflation rate for in the United States was 3.7% as of August 2023, following a 3.2% rise in the previous period. 2022 as a whole saw a 6.5% inflation rate. All the essentials from food to fuel are impacting our wallets.
  • Industry Standards: Copywriting rates can vary widely, but the average freelance writer earns between $50 and $100 per hour. So if you’re below that range, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

To translate this, you need to make an additional 5% each year just to keep up with typical inflation. But post-pandemic, we’re seeing even higher inflation rates and cost of living increases, which means you may need to raise your rates even more just to keep up.

When I started out, I was as apprehensive as anyone else about raising rates on existing clients. I weighed the pros and cons and took the plunge. It was a learning curve, but one that’s allowed me to be where I am today — having become a 6-figure writer. I want the same for you. So shake off those shackles and take the step you’ve been contemplating.

When to Raise Your Copywriting Rates and Retainer Fees

Okay, so it’s time to take the leap and raise your copywriting rates and retainer fees. But when is the exact right moment to do so? Let’s delve into the key indicators that signal it’s time to increase your prices and explore why being fully booked isn’t a prerequisite for a rate hike. We’ll also touch on how often freelancers should consider raising their rates and the advantages of copywriting retainers.

Milestones or Signs Indicating It’s Time for a Rate Increase

Freelancers need to keep in mind that raising your rates is not arbitrary; it should be based on tangible milestones and indicators. Here are some key signs to consider:

High Demand for Your Services

If you find your schedule filling up fast and you’re consistently turning away potential clients due to lack of availability, it’s a clear sign that you’re in high demand. This is the perfect time to evaluate your pricing. You can dump some of your lower paying clients and replace them with higher paying clients. This is one of the easiest ways to raise your rates as a freelancer.

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Increased Skills or Credentials

As you grow and develop as a copywriter, your skills and credentials naturally improve. Perhaps you’ve completed specialized training, earned industry certifications, or gained more experience in high-value niches. Your expertise commands higher rates.

Market Trends

Keep a close eye on market trends. If you notice that clients in your industry or niche are willing to pay more for certain types of copywriting services, it’s a green light to adjust your rates accordingly.

How Often Should Freelancers Raise Rates?

Freelancers often wonder how frequently they should increase their rates. While there’s no hard-and-fast rule, it’s generally advisable to revisit your rates at least once a year. However, this can vary depending on your individual circumstances and market conditions. January 1st or the start of a new quarter is often an excellent time to consider rate adjustments. It aligns with the beginning of financial cycles and allows you to set the tone for the months ahead with your updated pricing strategy.

Why You Don’t Need to Be Booked Solid to Raise Rates

It’s a common misconception among freelancers that in order to justify raising your copywriting rates, you need to be fully booked with a calendar bursting at the seams. However, let’s debunk this myth. The key isn’t about how many projects you’re juggling but rather the quality, expertise, and results you deliver. Your rates should be a reflection of the value you bring to each project, not merely a response to demand or the number of hours in your workday.

Quality Over Quantity

As a 6-figure freelance writer, I can attest that success in this field is not about churning out countless words or drowning in a sea of projects. It’s about delivering high-quality content that resonates with your clients and their target audience. The depth of your research, the precision of your words, and the impact of your messaging all contribute to the value you provide.

Rates Reflect Value

You may have a handful of well-chosen clients who recognize the exceptional quality of your work and the positive outcomes it generates for their businesses. These clients are willing to pay a premium for your expertise, regardless of whether your schedule is at full capacity. Your rates should align with the unique value you bring to their projects and the market insights you provide.

Building Long-term Relationships

Focusing on quality over quantity not only positions you as a sought-after freelance writer but also fosters long-term client relationships. Clients who appreciate your commitment to excellence are more likely to return for additional projects and recommend your services to others. These long-term partnerships can be more valuable in the long run than a constant stream of short-term, low-paying projects.

The bottom line is this: while being fully booked is a positive sign of demand for your services, it’s not a prerequisite for raising your copywriting rates. Embrace the mindset that your rates should mirror the exceptional quality, expertise, and results you consistently deliver. By doing so, you’ll attract clients who recognize and are willing to invest in the true value you provide, ultimately elevating your freelance career to new heights.

Signs You Should Consider Increasing Retainer Fees

Copywriting retainers are ongoing agreements where clients pay a set fee in advance for a specified amount of your time and expertise each month. These are the real money-makers in freelance writing! Here’s why they’re advantageous for both you and your clients:

  • Steady Income: Retainers provide a reliable income stream, allowing you to better plan your finances and workload. For clients, they know exactly how to plan their marketing budget each month and what they can expect in return.
  • Priority Access: Clients on retainer often receive priority treatment, which can lead to longer-term partnerships and loyalty.
  • Efficiency: You can work more efficiently as you become intimately familiar with a client’s brand and needs over time. For clients, they don’t have to get a new writer up to speed every month on their audience, offerings, competition, etc.

If you’re already offering copywriting retainers, here are some telltale signs it might be time to raise those fees:

Client’s Increased ROI

If your copywriting efforts consistently lead to a significant increase in your client’s return on investment (ROI), it’s a strong indication that your work is undervalued.

Complex Projects

As you take on more complex and challenging projects, your expertise becomes increasingly valuable. Your retainer fees should reflect the complexity of the work you’re handling.

Long-term Value

For clients who have been with you for the long haul and have benefited from your services over time, it’s reasonable to reevaluate and potentially increase your retainer fees to match the long-term value you provide.

Raising Rates on New Clients vs. Existing Clients

When it comes to raising your copywriting rates, addressing existing clients can be a different ballgame compared to attracting new ones. Balancing the desire for higher income with maintaining client loyalty requires finesse, let’s dig into some strategies for how to handle this with seamless communication.

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Approaches to Rate Increases

Raising rates for new clients is often straightforward — they come in with your new pricing structure, not knowing what you were charging before. But existing clients pose a unique challenge. They’ve been accustomed to your previous rates, increases can come as a surprise if you don’t handle the communication aspect well. The key is to convey the value of your work and the reasons for the rate adjustment clearly. Acknowledge their loyalty while emphasizing the enhanced quality and results they can expect.

Balancing Higher Rates with Client Loyalty

Client loyalty is invaluable in the freelance world, and it’s crucial to maintain relationships when raising rates. Recognize that your clients have invested in your services, and they should feel the value of that investment. Offer reassurances like:

  • Continued dedication to delivering exceptional work
  • Meeting or exceeding deadlines
  • Adapting to their evolving needs
  • Investing in new courses or tools that directly impact their projects

Building trust through transparent communication can go a long way in ensuring client retention.

Navigating the Rate Increase Conversation

Communication is the linchpin in successfully raising rates for existing clients. Start early, ideally 2-3 months before the rate increase takes effect. Don’t just tell them their rates are going up! Craft a personalized message that highlights the reasons for the change, emphasizing the value and benefits they’ll receive. Be open to discussion and negotiation, showing your willingness to work together to find a solution that satisfies both parties. Remember, it’s not just about the numbers; it’s about the partnership.

When You Should Grandfather In Rates and When You Shouldn’t

The decision to grandfather in rates or not depends on your specific circumstances. Sometimes it makes sense to offer existing clients a grace period where they can continue at their current rates before transitioning to the new ones. This approach can maintain goodwill but may slow down your income growth. On the other hand, if your new rates are significantly higher and reflect the true value of your services, implementing them uniformly might be the best choice.

How to Ask for a Freelance Rate Increase

So, you’ve reached that pivotal moment in your freelance journey – it’s time to ask for a rate increase! As a freelance writer, research is your superpower. Before initiating a conversation about rate increases, gather data to support your request.

Here’s a strategic approach:

  1. Evaluate Your Value: Reflect on your journey and the progress you’ve made. Have your skills improved? Are you producing better results for clients? Understand the value you currently bring, and consider if you’ve invested in any courses, coaching, software, or other tools that will give your clients better results.
  2. Market Rate Analysis: Investigate current industry standards for freelance writers. What are other professionals with your level of expertise charging? The AWAI State of the Industry Report or Glassdoor’s salaries for copywriters can provide valuable insights.
  3. Client-Specific Data: Review your clients’ projects and the impact of your work. Did your copy boost their sales? Have you consistently met deadlines and exceeded expectations? Having concrete examples of your value is persuasive.
  4. Timing is Everything: Choose the right moment to discuss rates. This could be after a major project success, at the end of a year, or when you’ve recently secured a new high-paying client.
  5. Approach with Confidence: Believe in your value and approach the conversation confidently. Self-assurance is contagious and can instill confidence in your clients.

Communication Channels: Email vs. Phone Call vs. In-Person

Now, let’s talk about how to actually ask for that well-deserved raise. The method you choose to request a rate increase can significantly impact the outcome. And it’s all about finding the right fit for your unique client relationship and, of course, your personality. Consider these channels:

1. Email: This is the introvert’s secret weapon. You can meticulously craft your message, present your data with precision, and give your client ample time to mull it over. But it might lack a bit of that personal touch. Regardless, it’s the option I’ve used for nearly a decade.

2. Phone Call: If you’re a smooth talker, a phone call/Zoom meeting might be your jam. Speaking directly with your client can forge a stronger connection and lead to real-time discussion and negotiation. Just be ready to handle objections like a pro. For me – I’m a total introvert and prefer not to deal with sales calls if I can avoid it.

3. In-Person: When it’s feasible, the in-person approach can work wonders. It’s the gold standard for building personal relationships and having nuanced conversations. But let’s face it, it’s not always the most practical option.

Now, before you jump into the rate-raising action, consider some expert guidance. Writing for Money offers a foolproof system to attract clients and fast-track your writing career. Whether you’re just starting or aiming to reach new heights, this program provides valuable insights and strategies to make your freelance journey smoother than ever. Plus, the skills you learn will give your clients better results (which gives you even more leverage to raise your rates with confidence!). If you’ve been looking for a course to uplevel your skills, check out my review of Writing for Money here.

Email Template for Raising Freelance Rates

Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or just starting your journey, asking for more money can be intimidating. But I’ve got your back! Here’s a breakdown of how I specifically write my emails to notify clients of a rate increase:

  1. Show appreciation for their partnership with you
  2. Highlight your value
  3. Announce the rate increase
  4. Encourage discussion
  5. Offer an opportunity to take advantage of current rates
  6. Close on a positive note
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Here is a simple yet effective email template incorporating each of those elements. Feel free to modify to help you confidently communicate your rate increase:

Hi [Client’s Name],

It’s been a pleasure collaborating with you over the past [duration] for [Company Name]!

Your success is my priority, and I’m always looking for ways to enhance the value I bring to your business. That’s why I’ve invested in upleveling skills over the past year. This investment includes advanced training in areas such as [mention specific areas, e.g., SEO, content strategy, market research], which directly benefit your projects.

For that reason, I want to give early notice that the rate for your package will be increasing on [Effective Date, e.g., January 1, 20XX] to [New Rate]. No action is needed on your end; invoicing will automatically adjust on that date.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

If you’d like to lock in any extra projects at your current rate, I’m happy to accommodate on a first-come, first-served basis. Let me know if you’d like to take advantage before rates increase or my schedule fills.

I look forward to helping [COMPANY] achieve even more success next quarter!

Thank you,
[Your Name]

This email template serves as a valuable tool in confidently communicating rate increases to your clients. It allows you to highlight the value you provide, announce the rate adjustment, assure a smooth transition, encourage open discussion, and even offer an opportunity for your clients to secure projects at the current rate. Personalize this template to fit your unique client relationships, and watch your freelance career flourish.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Raising Your Copywriting Rates

If you’re a busy mom looking to make more money by upping your copywriting rates, that’s certainly a great way to make more without increasing your work load. But, hold on to your coffee cup, because there are some common mistakes that can hinder your progress and impact your client relationships. Let’s explore the potential stumbling blocks that can trip you up when raising your rates and learn how to sidestep them effectively.

Undervaluing Your Work

One of the most significant mistakes you can make as a freelance writer is undervaluing your work. It’s understandable to worry about pricing yourself out of the market or scaring off clients with higher rates. However, setting rates that are too low can lead to several negative consequences:

  • Burnout: Working longer hours to make ends meet because your rates are too low can lead to burnout, affecting the quality of your work.
  • Lack of Growth: Lower rates can hinder your financial growth, making it challenging to invest in professional development or necessary tools for your trade.
  • Client Perception: Clients might associate low rates with low quality, undermining your credibility as a professional.

Your words have the power to inform, persuade, and captivate! So why would you shortchange yourself by setting rates that don’t reflect the value you deliver?

Conduct thorough research to determine competitive and fair rates for your experience level and skillset. Remember, it’s better to have a smaller number of high-paying clients who value your work than a multitude of low-paying projects that drain your resources…

Poor Timing

Timing is everything when it comes to raising your copywriting rates. Waiting too long to make the adjustment can be detrimental to your freelance career. If you’ve been providing exceptional value and your skills have improved, delaying a rate increase can leave you feeling undervalued and financially strained. And I know first-hand that it can quickly make you resent your clients and hate the work you do…

So keep an eye on market trends, your skill development, and demand for your services. If you notice any of the signs we discussed earlier, such as high demand or increased skills, don’t hesitate to act. Waiting too long can lead to resentment and frustration, both of which can negatively affect your work and client relationships.

Lack of Proper Communication

Communication is the cornerstone of a successful rate increase. Failing to communicate your intentions clearly with your clients can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and even the loss of valuable relationships. Keep the lines of communication open and transparent throughout the process.

When raising your copywriting rates, remember these key communication principles:

  • Transparency: Be upfront with your clients about the impending rate increase. Provide ample notice and explain the reasons behind the adjustment.
  • Value Proposition: Clearly articulate the value clients will receive with the new rates. Emphasize how the increase enables you to provide even better services.
  • Opportunity for Discussion: Encourage open dialogue with your clients. Be willing to address their questions or concerns and work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Professionalism: Maintain a professional and respectful tone in all communications. Demonstrate your commitment to the client’s success and your dedication to delivering exceptional work.

By avoiding these common mistakes and approaching rate increases with confidence, you can ensure a smoother transition and continued growth in your freelance writing career. Remember that your value as a freelance writer is not just in the words you write but also in your expertise, dedication, and ability to deliver results for your clients.

We’ve covered a lot of ground to help you navigate the world of freelance writing and master the art of raising your copywriting rates. Remember, valuing your work correctly is key! And poor timing can hold you back. Clear communication is your ally in this process, making sure your clients understand the value you bring to the table.

It’s vital to constantly evaluate and adjust your rates. Don’t let the fear of change or undervaluing yourself hold you back. Take action and start with the template I provided above. Take that next step toward financial growth in your freelance writing career!

Desiree

Desiree

Hi, I’m Desiree! The writer behind this site. I’m a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer who’s been making a living with words for nearly a decade. I’m here to help you achieve your writing dreams while making a great income so you never have to miss out on life’s precious moments!

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