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Charging more than a client's posted budget

Active Member
Danny M Member Since: May 14, 2015
1 of 6

Hi everyone, longtime Upwork freelancer here (many of you may know me from my blog, Freelance To Win, as well as from the webinars and other training events I’ve partnered on with Upwork)...


Last month I signed in for the first time in a while, to try and find some new clients…


It’s been a while since I’ve been in the market for new clients, so the experience of looking for some new ones felt oddly fresh and exciting to me -- that's saying a lot after 7+ years of doing this!

Anyway, I managed to quickly land 3 amazing new clients, at rates as high as $150 per hour! Don’t worry, I'm not here to brag -- I've already done enough of that around my house, though my wife will never admit it. Smiley Happy


Instead, I thought I'd drop by and mention one of the most important lessons I've ever learned in this crazy online freelancing universe, which is that you don’t have to limit yourself to charging within a client’s posted budget.


It’s easy to look at the budgets clients are posting and assume that is some sort of cap on what you can earn. But in my experience that isn’t the case at all.


Of the multiple new clients I landed recently, in every case I was able to charge higher than the original posted budget, and they were all happy to pay it. I’m not talking about a small increase here -- specifically, I was able to get more than 2 times the amount listed on each job description!


And I didn’t get an ounce of pushback from the clients. In other words, there was no negotiation necessary. (This is even more impactful when you consider that their budgets weren’t bad to begin with, yet they were still willing to more than double them for the right person.)


If you’re wondering how this can be, there are a couple of things to consider.


1) The truth is, clients often aren’t sure how much they should pay for a service, so they may take an educated guess.


2) Or they may start out thinking they want to pay x-number of dollars, only to find a freelancer who seems like a perfect fit that they’d be happy to pay more for.


That second one is extremely important, and it helps to set yourself apart from the competition. The more ways you can set yourself apart, and the more confident and comfortable you get, the easier it will be for you to charge more.


You may not be ready to do it today, or you may choose to try a more gradual approach. For example, I recently received an email from an excited new freelancer who was successfully able to charge $20 above a client’s budget, which was a relatively easy step in the right direction.


Regardless of where you’re currently at, the key takeaway here is that there are many opportunities to charge (and get) more than the amounts clients are posting as their budgets. You don’t have to limit yourself!


If you have any questions, feel free to reply and I’ll do my best to stop back in and address any questions (time permitting).



Active Member
Hassan R Member Since: Feb 13, 2020
2 of 6

Hi Danny,


I agree with you. Especially when you are new to any platform.

Clients usually prefer low budgeted freelancers which also compromise quality of work.


You expert opinion and advice can prove guidelines for new members like me to have good start on this platform. 


Thank You!

Active Member
Muhammad A Member Since: Sep 8, 2017
3 of 6

Hassan, If you are very confident that you are the best one to do a particular job then you can easily bid high. A tip I can give you is that when bidding do take a look at clients profiles, particularly on how much they have spent overall as well as per project, this would give you an idea about would the client can afford you or not.

Active Member
Ronni V Member Since: Dec 21, 2015
4 of 6

Couldn't agree more! Especially in regards to fixed price projects I am interested in. I always specify the number of concepts and revisions that I will offer in my proposal which are less than for hourly projects. I am also careful to note that any changes beyond that point will be charged at my hourly rate. Many clients end up going over the set limit and the majority readily offer to pay extra when I bring it to their attention that their project is in danger of going over the budget.

Community Guru
Jamie F Member Since: Mar 7, 2010
5 of 6

I've bid higher recently and won the contract. 

I think doing so adds credibility to your application. I'll be doing so more often in the future. 

Active Member
Shivani N Member Since: Oct 18, 2020
6 of 6

This information is so valuable for the newcomers like me. Thanks for sharing!