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When to raise your rates

Community Guru
Mariska P Member Since: Apr 27, 2015
11 of 40


No I was not. I wanted to get a few hours in and some experience so I took the job for 1.11 an hr. that the client said he was paying. My client was definitely interested in hiring me but he was not sure I wanted to work for that amount. I convinced him to hire me. 

I wouldn't recommend that everyone take a job at minimum rate especially if you have a lot of professional experience unless you really have to. 

My strategy wasnt or isn't necessarily the best but its okay for me for right now. I have some cool gigs even though I don't have many hours just yet. My plan is to have a bunch of gigs to make up mybe 30 hrs a week or have one cool job at my current rate same amount of hours. That's my plan anyway but who knows? Lol


Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
12 of 40

Good question. I raised mine just because I felt that I have something to offer that most applicants don't. I realized that people were saying "I need someone who speaks English and knows code."  If you want a specific skill, gotta pay for it man.


I see a lot of people complain about rates, but the only way you can really go for the higher goals is to offer something unique. I don't really care where I buy some stuff... Like, I buy from this cheeseburger place that's way expensive to deliver but I like it cuz it's delicious and convenient. But if I have to get my lazy butt to Home Depot to buy stupid air filters, I don't care which one I buy as long as it fits the a/c thingy.


There's always gonna be those people who just go to McD's for cheeseburgers no matter how many greater places there are around here. Maybe they have no money, maybe they don't care, or maybe they just like McD's cheeseburgers. But there are people like me who will pay extra for someone who knows what they are doing and gives me delicious burgers. At the same time, there's a reason why McD's has tons of stores and my delicious cheeseburger place only has 1.


This is my wine analogy for the night as I am sitting here really wanting a cheeseburger.

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
13 of 40



That's great that you have a specific skill where the supply of freelancers is below the demand. Did you look at other freelancers on the site to decide your initial rate? and when did you decide you were going to raise your rates and become a gourmet cheeseburger? You have now made me hungry for a cheeseburger too, thanks! 



Ace Contributor
Jon M Member Since: Aug 4, 2015
14 of 40

When anyone sets out yes they want to get a foot in the door


once you build a porfolio you can demand more


if they want you, they will pay ( simple as that )


if they won't pay ( no skin of my nose )

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
15 of 40

So after you have worked on Upwork for awhile, when do you decide its time to raise your rates, or ask a long term client for a raise? Do you routinely raise your rates every few months? every year? once you completed a certain number of projects? Or do many of you list the same rate you started with?

Community Guru
Fergus M Member Since: May 23, 2015
16 of 40

"ask a long term client for a raise?"


We're freelancers. We don't ask for a raise. If I decide a long-term client isn't paying what my work is worth I tell them my rates are going up. It's up to them if they accept that or not, but if I continue working for them it will be at the new rate.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.― George Orwell
Active Member
Scott B Member Since: Aug 10, 2015
17 of 40

I think the whole "raise" thing is super dependent on what category of work you're in. In many categories, like proofreading and writing, "long-term" clients are really just frequent repeat clients -- so yeah, if rates go up and they want to look elsewhere, that's up to them.


I'm in marketing, so while I get my fair share of short-term projects, I'm mostly working with clients for several months at a time. For me, the best way to get a raise is to essentially create more work for myself. If I'm doing a good job, they're making enough money to put back into more diverse ads. I present them with a program or side project to test, get an extra allotment from them each week to work on it (at a significantly higher "unit" cost), and BOOM! Raise!


Another thing I find with long term clients is that it's much easier to negotiate higher rates if you've been flexible with them in the past. Again, this probably doesn't translate to every category on Upwork, but there have been campaigns that didn't turn a profit or even lost money, and I agreed to substantially drop my rate while we worked to get things on track (accountability for the work). Down the road, when things were doing well, this favor (and this accountability) came back around and I was able to raise rates based on what was now a performance based job.


Overall though, the smoothest way to negotiate raises is before the work ever starts. One client of mine put in the contract that if things were going well after the first month, we could renegotiate the rate. I ended up with a 33% raise AND extra work per week. Good times.

Community Guru
Daniel C Member Since: Nov 21, 2010
18 of 40

For me, it's as simple as supply and demand.  There's a sweet spot -- you just have to find it!


If my supply is 40 workable hours per week and I don't have 40 hours of work, then I lower my rates.  If I have 40 hours per week of work, then I raise my rates.  


When I started working here, I had a full-time job.  So my available time was 10-15 hours per week which filled up quickly.  I would raise my rate after every 2-3 projects until I was getting 10-15 hours per week of work.  


The ABC's of freelancing.  Always Be Closing!  I know the average lead time on finding another contract is about a week, so I start looking for work at least a week ahead of time.  When you need the work, you start to feel despiration and are more willing to lower your rates.  When you don't need the work, you can wait for something better to come along.


Another thing to keep in mind is lead time between bidding on and starting multiple small projects.  I will charge more for shorter projects than I would for a longer project.  I usually just double my rates for an hour ot two of consulting.  Having a full-time contract means that I save 3-5 hours per week bidding and interviewing for other projects.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
19 of 40

Yep just keep bidding and worry about deadlines later. lol


I just sold 2 more customers and I have no idea how I"m gonna squeeze them in. I'll figure it out. Turned away someone who wanted me to come down on something I think I was already underbidding on. If I had no work, I'd probably take it just to get work.



Community Guru
Daniel C Member Since: Nov 21, 2010
20 of 40

"I just sold 2 more customers and I have no idea how I"m gonna squeeze them in."