When Do You Raise Your Fees?

March 16, 2011  |  Ramblings

Just wanted to think out loud here for a bit and ask you guys a question while I’m at it. Some people send their rate card to their clients and some people post their rates on their website. Some people work with their prospective client’s budgets and some vary their rates depending on where the work is coming from (what region or country).

I once had a client from China email me and ask me to cut my fees to 20% of what I asked because they were from a poor region of the world. hehe Well I live in the Middle East in what some would consider a third world country. I just declined the job … and that is a different subject for a different time… but for now the question is:

When is it a good time to rework your rate card?

It took me a while to put together a rate card I was happy with, but it’s been two years now since I formulated that rate card. I’m still happy with it I don’t feel like I need to raise the prices. I mean there are certain aspects that I have to keep in mind like how soon does a client pay after the job and what is the work load from that specific client but overall I’m ok with my prices.

When, though, do I account for inflation? Egypt just went through a revolution and right now consumer goods are not priced properly. The prices for certain products sometimes skyrocket then suddenly return to their usual amount. The oil crisis in caused by the Libyan revolution is driving gasoline prices through the roof.

So I ask you dear readers. When is the right time to revise your fees? How would you go about it… or have you been forced to go the other way and decrease your fees just to make rent and pay your bills?

I’m curious to know!

Taji


7 Comments


  1. Hi Mahmoud,

    As a rule, with client’s for whom I do repeat business, I notify them that my rates will be going up at the beginning of a new year, if I decide to do so. I have found telling them in this manner, giving them about a month to assimilate this information, to be very effective. New year, new pricing. Each year sets a new precedent. It is a time when people are expecting change anyway, and my clients have been amenable to hearing this, especially when the rate change is commensurate with projected hikes in the cost of living and not a huge jump. I only change rates once a year, even if I have miscalculated the rise in the cost of living. Being consistent is important. At the end of a year, you can always mention any unseen circumstances as a reason for the change in your rates in the coming year. Anyway, that’s my two cents.

    By the way, Thank you again for that wonderful interview you gave us for Internet Voice Coach a while back with Paul Strikwerda. It has been read many times!

    • I’m glad that your readers found that interview helpful.

      I think your idea of raising the prices at the beginning of each year makes allot of sense and giving the client time to get used to the idea that there will be an increase is both pragmatic and professionally mature.

      Brilliant tips! Thanks David.

      Taji

  2. Hi Taj,

    I concur with David. New Year – new rate card. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean EVERY year. I did in fact tweak my rate sheet for 2011.

    Let’s face it, consumers & clients are never tickled to hear prices are going up with anything. Advance notice, as David mentioned, does allow for prep time for a client but it is what it is – an increase that’s as welcome in June or September as it is in January.

    I think that as long as it remains transparent, fair and only once per year – if that often – then a client who is savvy with the industry will understand and continue retaining your professional services.

    My .02c worth, which was really .0175c worth in 2010 😉

    Cheers,

    Rory

    • Hi Rory and Taj,

      Yes, to clarify, I have not raised my rates every single year, but when I do, it is about a month before the new year that I notify my clients of the change. I do not have any more cents to work with, otherwise I would add some more. 😉

      • No I agree with both you and Rory on this. I don’t think I need to mess with my rates every year. But new years is definitely a good time and giving them a month’s notice or so during the time that End of year when the annual reports for corporations usually comes out. This is the golden window for letting your clients know of any changes you’ll be making.

    • Thanks for your 2 cents Rory. I agree that every year would be too optimistic but just as people in corporations get their usually 7 to 12 percent raise to offset inflation (if they are lucky enough not to get laid off these days) voiceover artists who work full time are expected to maintain their prices while everything around them gets more expensive.

      So there has to be some kind of fair process to raise your prices without that being cause for alarm.

  3. I’ve posted my rates on my site. With my regular work, people are always trying to get my services for dirt cheap. a rate schedule set it out first so they can take it or leave it.
    Jay