The Way We Work
October 22, 2009 by Tamara Rice

empty_wallet_freelancer1_2Feeling a little broke? Coming up with an empty wallet a little more often than you used to? Well your own personal stimulus plan might solve your problem. What’s the plan? Raise your rates.

We’ve asked three popular bloggers who specialize in the freelance realm — and ooze the wisdom of experience — what tips they would offer consultants / providers / freelancers who are looking to bring in more money by raising their rates. Our three bloggers? Freelance financial writer and author of You’ve Found Your Specialty — Now What?, Yolander Prinzel of Freelance Writerville; freelance graphic designer Ben Gribbin of Podcast for Freelancers; and self-proclaimed “gear head geek” and creator of the peer code review tool Code Collaborator,  Jason Cohen of Freelance Switch.

Thankfully, their advice is free!

TIPS FOR RAISING YOUR HOURLY RATE

EARN IT. “If you are going to up your rates, you really need to have a reason for doing so. If you’ve gotten better at design, for example, you’ve earned it. You must communicate why you are now charging your clients more,” says Ben Gribbin.

BE REALISTIC. “Be brutally honest with yourself,” Gribbin adds. “Everyone would like to charge $200 per hour. Are you worth it?”

SPECIALIZE. “The easiest way to command higher rates is to specialize in a subject that you have a lot of experience with. People pay more for expertise,” says Yolander Prinzel.

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TIER SERVICES. Prinzel continues, “You can raise your rates, while still making your services available to all budgets. Create tiered services that allow for full-service to those who can afford it and modified services for those who can’t.”

TRACK TIME CAREFULLY. “Record your time accurately,” Jason Cohen tells us. “Don’t round up to the nearest hour. Then you can charge more.”

INCREASE SLOWLY. “Try increasing your rates incrementally,” says Gribbin. “For example, don’t go from $10 per hour to $50. That’s a big jump. But increasing $10 or $20 per year is more gradual, and you’ll see clients change from smaller businesses to larger ones.”

GUARANTEE RESULTS. “Offer money back if such-and-such isn’t delivered,” Cohen suggests. “Of course, be careful with this one, but if you set the boundaries correctly it proves you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is.”

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Working from home can either liberate you or weigh you down — it’s all about how you do it. Having worked from home for over a decade, I’ve learned what works and what just creates more work. Here at oDesk, you’ll find the tips and tools to do it right.

- Tamara


Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.