While we continue to approach breaking ground, here are some intelligent ways to go about taking a brave step forward toward a well-earned rate increase.
Raise rates slowly
Many solopreneurs make the mistake of raising their rates too quickly and/or with too large an increment. This can come as a shock to your customers if they have already budgeted for your services or products at your current rate. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race, and it also tends to be the wise approach to increasing your rates. Plotting out small incremental increases over a planned timeline is a great way to reach your ideal rates while minimizing the impact on your clients.
New clients to the front of the line
If you are concerned that your existing client base may react negatively to the increase, you don’t have to enforce a blanket raise approach. It may be best to first implement your higher rates with new clients. In the meantime, you can ease your existing customers into the proposed higher rate by letting them know what you are charging new clients and providing a time frame in which they can expect to pay the same.
Side note: Keep in mind there is always room for exceptions. If a longstanding client you enjoy working with and who has proved loyal, it may make sense to forgo the rate increase in that case. Don’t lose sight of the fact that fulfillment is a form of payment.
Talk to your customers
Communication is crucial when relaying any change that impacts your clients. Although this can be done via email, nothing replaces the good ole fashioned face-to-face method. It’s is a powerful opportunity to strengthen the bonds with your clients and display respect for the commitment they have shown to you and your brand. It is also a more straightforward method for answering questions and reading reactions versus the toneless issue of email. If an in-person meeting is impossible, a phone call is always a good alternative.
Put it in writing
Although verbal, face-to-face can be the best method for delivering the initial message, putting everything in writing is critical. It can be either in the form of an email or a mailed letter. Clients can be forgetful, and with written correspondence, you have a record of the changes you discussed and agreed upon. In addition, you’ll want to recap why and when you’ll be raising your rates while clearly defining what the rate increase will be. It is standard practice to provide a 90-day notice to your clients of the impending increase so they can prepare for it in their company budget.
BONUS! Here are some questions to ask yourself when preparing to inform your clients that you are raising rates:
- What changed about your service that provides additional value?
- What extra training or new skill sets have you acquired?
- Has there been expansion to your service offering?
- Have you taken on more or bigger clients that make your time more valuable?
- Are there added benefits you offer that are currently not in your quoting process?
Utilizing any of the above steps, you always want to be sure you remind your clients of the value you bring to the table. Outlining clear details of the benefits, they receive from your services and expertise can help facilitate your rate increase with less resistance or angst. tBp understands every entrepreneur’s struggle and looks forward to spearheading a community where you can learn and grow your income along with your self-worth and sense of fulfillment.