How to raise your fees with past clients
Thank you T.D. from Reno, NV for sending in this great question: How do I increase my prices so that I am only working with ideal clients and no longer tolerating non-ideal clients at “grandfathered in rates?” (If you’d like to ask a question subscribe: here.)
This is a dilemma that surfaces after we’ve been in business for several years. When we start our business not only are our rates lower but we don’t have as much as experience or as many customers so we keep our rates low to hang onto the customers we do have. Initially we may also make exceptions and do a lot of customizing for our early customers that we no longer have the luxury of doing as our business grows.
When the business grows and we are more in demand because of our expertise and the results we deliver, the cost for our time rises and that’s only natural. The problem comes when we’ve kept our old clients at the lower rate for far too long and now we’re in a pickle; how do we tell them we’re no longer available at that rate?
Here’s how to handle raising your prices for a past client:
Contact the client either in writing or by phone. You can send an email that says you’d like to speak with them about something and then schedule a time to talk or send a version of what I’ve written below. I think it’s best to speak to them directly if this is ongoing work you do for them.
“I want you to know how much I appreciate you and your business these last X years. I’m so glad I’ve been able to help you get XYZ (insert the amazing results you deliver) for your business too. It’s such a joy having a birds-eye view of your success and growth!
You may not be aware but my fees have gone up since I started my business in XX/XXXX (insert the date). I am now charging $XXXXX.00 for my (services/program/per hour). I know this may be large jump in pricing for you so I wanted to let you know and do something special for you too. I’d like to offer you my (services/program/per hour) at only a half increase between what you’re currently paying and what my fees are for the next round of my (services/program/per hour). After that it will go to current pricing.
I want to keep delivering great service and (XYZ) results for you and keeping my prices current allows me to do that. Please feel free to ask me any questions you have about this and I’ll be glad to reply.”
You could also tell the past client that you’re no longer working on an hourly rate, if that’s the case. Tell them you’re now only taking on “project work,” meaning it’s based on delivering a specific end result. Tell the past client that your business model has changed and that going forward you offer the following menu of project work services at these prices. Offer to give them their next “project” at a one time discount that is greater than what they’re paying now but less than the full price of the project work.” Remind them that after this all project work will be at your current prices.
People do pick up on our feelings
The worst feeling in the world is to be resentful of a client because you’re not being paid what you’re worth. Even if you don’t say a word they will sense it. Emotions have an energetic signature that people pick up on. Holding back from being forthright about your fees because you feel uncomfortable sets the energetic tone for all transactions in your business. It communicates an underlying hesitancy that you might not believe you’re worth what you’re charging. Stating your fees with full confidence is how you will attract future ideal clients. Pull the band-aid off quickly and do this. It’s time.
If this is a client you no longer wish to work with it may work out for the best if they decide to discontinue using your services. But either way you do yourself a disservice by charging too little for your services. When you’re charging all your clients what feels right you will attract your ideal customers who will see your worth and value. The best experience for both ourselves and customers comes from feeling joyful doing our work!
Have you ever had to raise your fees with your past clients? How did you approach it? What was the result?
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Photo credit: Fotolia ©Andre Rodriguez