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When to raise your rates

lenaellis
Staff

We've received questions from freelancers in the past on when or how they should go about raising their rates on Upwork. We thought this would be a great discussion for our newbies and experienced freelancers.  Have you successfully raised your rates in the past and how did you decide what your rates would be?

 

 

 

 

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39 Comments

Thanks for the tip Fergus. I think I have a better idea of what to do now. You seem to have had a very adventurous life, but don't try to always look at it from the bottom of a glass.

jyhsiao
Member

What are the mechanics of raising your rates?  Ask the client and they update the existing contract?  Ask for a new contract at your current rates?

 

 

partnrz
Member

When I was new to Upwork, (a whopping 13 weeks ago!), I started by pricing myself at what would payout as the lowest discount rate I offered through my current freelance business. I found after receiving several fixed price jobs (that actually translated to more than this amount), AND getting bonuses on top of it, I should raise my rate. I set it at double what the initial hourly rate was. After a couple of weeks and not getting near as much response, It lowered it to right in between - 1-1/2 times the original rate. This brought back the same response I enjoyed as a newbie, and I still get bonuses! A little trial and error is probably the best suggestion I can make. Balance the desired number of responses with the hourly rate.

suzi-elton
Member

Great question. When I started on Upwork, I cut my price by $10 an hour because it was still a good price (I was willing to accept). I wanted to get that first job.

 

Once I had a couple of five-star reviews and was working close to full time, I raised my rate back up by $10 an hour. Zero pushback from clients.

 

I think that demand for your services is the primary driver for your rates.

 

Also, you have to provide something that is better than your competitors. I am a writer, but I'm also a professional marketing coach. I interview my clients for website content and that makes me an easy choice for clients who hate to write. They love to talk about their business instead of writing a draft for me.

 

I strategize with clients as well as doing the writing, so that has even more value. The website content becomes a strategy in motion.

 

Think about this: How can you add extra value to your services? How can you stand out from your competitors?

 

For many freelancers, they do provide "extras" of some kind, but they don't build it into their profile.

 

When you increase the value (both actual and perceived) to the client, it's a lot easier to raise your rates.

 

In fact, helping consultants raise their rates is one of my specialties and it's included in my profile. 

 

Suzi

jredwine
Member

That's a good point when you're working less than you want to, although how do you know how low to go?

cschubiger
Member

Every few months, I'd double my rate. 

 

In a year I went from $25 to $100-$125 - But my clients off of UpWork, which initially wasn't many paid $200 per hour, so my goal was to get my Upwork account there. Now, I'm slowly working my way up to higher rates, rather than at the speed I initially worked at.

 

If you know your value, and offer the best of services the sky is the limit.

suzi-elton
Member

Great job! Love to hear it. Would love to know more.

jim_g
Member

I spent about two years off and on trying to get that first job on Upwork. I thought I needed to lower my rates.

 

No. There are a lot of factors on why you get a job and why you don't. You position your rate at your experience and quality level (past performance) and stick with those guns. You'll be glad when you get a job at that nice rate you think you deserve (and then nail it).

A videographer/film maker's blog I follow said: "Raise your rates when you have too many people wanting you". 

It makes me sick when I have seen some people have worked one thousand hours at <$3.00!!!!
**edited for Community Guidelines**

What I'm trying to do right now is to validate my value (hourly rate + experience) in my cover letter. I don't think its really working as I'm hitting a dry spell. As an illustrator, I think they want to connect with what you have done in the past that they can see in your portfolio.

 

To summarize, place good value on yourself, less than the outside world. I think Upwork clients look for cheaper rates vs the outside world. If you are not getting jobs at a decent rate it must be something else - your cover letter, your samples, your direct experience related to the project. And, what, ...many other applicants?

suzi-elton
Member

I've certainly experienced a slowdown this summer. It is likely seasonal.

 

I do wish Upwork would position themselves as the Home of Pros and get away from the lowball jobs and lowballing amateurs. 

 

Has anyone experienced any differences since the newer pricing of connects and spending 6 connects for the more valuable jobs? Will be interesting to see if that makes a difference for the pros.