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Community Member

How does one ask for an increase salary?

Hi, i am not exactly new to upwork, but i've been working with a clients for almoat 2 years now, is it okay to ask for an increase salary? And if so, how do you ask?


Thank you

Community Member

Well, for me it depends on the relationship with the client. If is strong you can ask him, he's the one paying not upwork he can accept..


Also if your work is of value he will definitely what  to increase it

Ask for a raise??? What??? Have you forgotten you guys are freelancers?

You run your own business. Tell him your prices have gone up. Ask for a raise? That's one reason to be a freelancer. You run the business, not your customers. 

I never thought of it this way. Thank you❤

Community Member

I think you can definitely ask for a raise if you are working with the client for over 2 years.

Your client will understand if your work is worthit.


Community Member



If you have earned a raise by doing outstanding work, then ask for it. "Hi John, it's been two years since we have been working together on your projects. I really enjoy working with you and on the projects. Is it possible to get a wage increase from $10 to $11 per hour especially since the cost of living has gone up? Would that work for you?"

Since you're holding yourself out as an authority and source of "coaching" information here, it would be great if you avoided language like "raise" and "wage" in the context of discussing freelancing rates, which are not wages and are totally within the control of the freelancer.

Thank you tiffany❤



Technically if a person has worked for a company for 9 months or longer most states consider them an employee so the nomencalture of wage and salary is proper semantics. Louise stated 2 years.


The length of time a freelancer has to work for a company before being considered an employee varies depending on the state and their employment laws. In general, factors such as the type of work being performed, the level of control the company has over the freelancer's work, and the duration of the working relationship are taken into consideration. It's important to consult with legal counsel or your state's labor department for specific guidelines in your area.

Well, that was a nice try, William.


There are many markers by which the government considers someone a freelance worker or an employee. No one marker designates this, but some of the considerations are who taught the worker their skills (if the employer taught them, then they look like an employee), who has control of work hours, scheduling days off, etc., who supplied the equipment (if they company did, you might be an employee), who maintains that equipment and a few other items. One telling marker is this: Does the worker put in so many hours with one company that it is prohibitive that they work for someone else? You look like a freelancer if you work for several concerns. You don't look like a freelancer, even if the work is by contract, if you put in 40 hours work for only one company, which negates the possibility of working for other clients.  (If one person monopolizes all your time, it's a sign you might not be, technically speaking, freelance.)


How long you work for someone is not part of that equation unless you are a temp work agency, some of which push employers to put someone on their payrolll after 30 days or 60 days.


Anyway, these concerns are moot (in other words, nobody cares) except in special circumstances, such as a lawsuit, a tax dispute or a question of government benefits (such as unemployment). It is completely irrelevant in any question about asking for more money.

Thank you

Community Member

Ideally, you wouldn't be asking for a raise. Since you are a business, the normal practice would be to raise your rates when you consider that appropriate and let the client know when your new rates will be taking effect, just like your grocery store and doctor and accountant and dog groomer and so on do.

I've only had a chance to raise my rates with an on-going client once, so maybe things have changed or I don't understand it fully.


RE: the normal practice would be to raise your rates when you consider that appropriate and let the client know when your new rates will be taking effect...


This means one would still have to ask the client to raise the hourly rate from their end right? Because freelancers cannot increase the rate on active contracts (only clients can), and clients cannot decrease the rate from their end (only freelancer can).


I understand that the freelancer can raise their hourly profile rate, which can be different from ongoing rates on contracts.


So, when you tell your client my new rates will be taking effect next month onwards, wouldn't it sound a little ultimatum-ish, or non-negotiable? Like if they don't go for it, the contract is going to end? 

Community Member

Let me elaborate on my previous answer. The rule of thumb for a freelancer is that every year you drop the lower paying 10 percent of your clients and every year you pick up 10 percent more income from new clients who are willing to pay more. This means you don't have to ask anyone for a raise; you just drop the clients who don't pay according to your new standards.


Regardless of the verbiage there, you drop your lowest paying clients each year and pick up better paying clients. Then, if you so desire, it falls to reason that you could negotiate new rates for clients who are being shuffled to the exits.  In theory, they say, very eagerly: "Wait; I don't want to lose you; how about if I pay you more?"

I'm sure you can figure out that the real-life scenarios here are not locked in. Just take all this information as flexible. You might drop only the lowest 2 percent of your clients each year and look for a way to replace them with better paying new clients. Whichever way you shake it, this is from the Freelancers' Bible or the Freelancers' Playbook or Handbook or whatever you want to call it. In effect, this is the old school way of getting a pay increase.

I like the way you think. Thanks for this.i just have the fear of losing the clients since the work can easily be learned, and freelancers can easily be trained, and i get the vibe that they prefer to pay less, but i dont know yet til i try. Right now losing the client is my biggest fear since it's hard to find a flexible job with my current situation.

Yeah, of course this is market sensitive. I'm a writer, so this all starts out, for example, by writing for regional magazines where the pay is lousy. As you build up your skills and your portfolio, you start pestering the editors at trade magazines for work, because the pay is better. As you pick up work on trades, you stop working for regional magazines. Then, if you want to do better than trade magazines, you look for better paying national magazines to work for. In so many words, you work your way up the scale. Eventually, you settle in with high-paying magazines and then you shift gears and write a book, which pays better.

Other endeavors are not so easy to figure out and I only used those categories to make this easy to explain. Writers figure out what various magazines pay, whatever the category might be. There's lots of opportunities and information -- Knitting Weekly pays ten cents a word; Science Monthly pays 50 cents a word, and so on. The higher paying places don't take you on unless you have writing samples from magazines they respect, so all this is kind of built into the culture of the writing market.

Keep looking for and applying to other jobs on here - and place your bid at a higher rate. Then, when you have another client or two, you won't feel so scared of approaching the old client for a pay rise. They may just say no (or yes!) and keep you on anyway ?

You can suggest the new rate you want via your contract - I did this with one of my clients and he accepted, I think partially because it was 'easy' for him to just click a button to accept 🙂

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