When Should You Raise Your Rates as a Freelance Proofreader?

When Should You Raise Your Rates as a Freelance Proofreader?

  • Sep 30, 2021
  • 5 min read

Freelance proofreading allows you to choose when to give yourself a pay rise. But raising your freelance rates can seem intimidating. You work hard to keep your clients happy and risk losing them if you raise your rates unexpectedly. In this post, we’ll cover when you should raise your rates as a freelance proofreader, and the best practices for doing so. 

When Should You Raise Your Rates?

There are several moments throughout your career as a proofreader when you should consider raising your rates. These include:

  • If you want to earn more without increasing the amount of work you’re taking on. If you’ve done some budgeting and realized that you need to earn more, but you’re already at your maximum workload, it might be time to think about raising your rates.
  • To reflect your experience level. As you gain experience, you’ll be providing a higher quality service to your clients. New proofreaders usually start out with relatively low rates. But it’s normal for clients to pay more for a more experienced proofreader, so they should understand this as a reason for raising your rates.
  • If you’ve recently done some training or gained additional accreditation, you might want to raise your rates (both to reflect your new level of expertise and to help you recoup any training costs).
  • When your cost of living increases. Most clients will understand that, as the cost of living rises with inflation, you need to raise your rates to maintain your quality of life. 

Raising your rates in these circumstances will help you to minimize the chances of client pushback. But you also need to be careful about how you communicate the increase.

How to Tell Clients About Increased Rates

Once you’ve established an appropriate time to raise your freelance rates, next comes breaking the news. Tread carefully. Raising your prices improperly can damage your reputation, not to mention annoy your clients. 

To minimize the risk of getting complaints, losing existing clients, or having to revert the proposed increase:

  • Give plenty of notice, especially for regular/ongoing clients (e.g., at least three months). Notifying your existing clients well in advance will make them less likely to drop out, and give you more time to find new work if they do. Failing to do this will make it seem as though you withheld the information until the last minute. 
  • Call it a price increase, not an adjustment. Clients will see right through an “adjustment” and will not appreciate the euphemism. Being frank with your clients and explaining why you’re raising your prices will make them less likely to go looking elsewhere.
  • Emphasize the value clients will receive for the increased fee. For example, you may wish to explain that you’re an experienced editor that still offers a competitive rate for your level of expertise, or that you’ve recently taken a course that will improve the quality of your service. 
  • Decide whether to display your increase as a percentage or amount. It’s common practice to raise prices by 5–10%, but you’ll want to present the price increase in the way that seems the most appealing to your client (e.g., a 7.5% increase vs a £0.05 per 1000 words increase). 
  • Explain the increase in writing and make it easy to find. Your clients won’t appreciate any discretion here, and it’s bad business practice to try to sneak a price increase under their radar (e.g., in the small print of an invoice). Let them know in a clear email what they can expect.

Provided that you propose the increased fee conscientiously, most clients will be understanding. But it’s good to be prepared for some pushback. 

Ultimately, remember that you can’t win over everyone, and that you owe it to yourself to raise your freelance rates if it’s the right time to do so. 

Become a Proofreader

If some added responsibility seems a fair trade for giving yourself a pay rise, freelance proofreading might be for you. Our Becoming A Proofreader course gives you all the tools you need to succeed as a freelance proofreader, from the intricacies of grammar to managing your own business. Sign up today or register for our free trial.

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