How Do I Raise My Fees With Existing Clients?
If you’re like a lot of people I talk you, you might panic slightly about the prospect of taking your prices up with existing clients.
That’s because, in many cases, you think you have to look your client in the eye and say that your prices have changed without actually changing what you do for them.
Raising your fees is a bit of a mind game at the best of times. Even experienced coaches and consultants can find themselves second guessing their fees and packages.
Your inner voice might circle round the topic. “How much should I charge? How much will they pay? How do I communicate my value? Am I willing to discount what I do?”
If you want to set your fees or prices, you might find this guide “What Should I Charge As A Consultant Or Coach?” a useful place to get started.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve probably gotten comfortable with your current fees. And if not comfortable, at least you can live with them.
“I have to take my prices up. I really have to do it. Maybe I’ll sit down and look at that next week.”
But you might not exactly get to it because the old procrastination brain puts it off.
You Should Find Ways To Raise Your Fees
Your costs keep going up. Whether it’s professional insurance, car maintenance or office space, your margins will continue to be squeezed by your costs. And that’s even before you think about costs outside of work (like groceries for three ravenous teenagers).
Your value should continue to grow. As you get more familiar with your clients’ problems, and expert at diagnosing and providing solutions for their problems, you’ll find that you can just do things quicker. You don’t want to charge an hourly fee, and then cut the hours you can charge by being better. There’s got to be another way to charge.
Raising your fees is the fastest way to grow your business
You only have three ways to grow your business. The amount of money you make each year depends on:
- The number of customers or clients that you have
- The average amount they spend in a transaction with you à This is the simplest to change
- The average number of times each client buys from you in a year
Raising your fees essential to keep growing your business. In fact, there are only three ways to grow your business each year, and increasing the average amount that your clients pay is the simplest of them.
Raising Your Fees With New Clients
It is easier to raise your fees with new clients. After all, they haven’t purchased from you before. And whilst they may have heard about your packages from a friend or colleague, there’s a good chance that you can just let them know that these are what your fees are. They will probably go along with it. You just have to be matter of fact about it, not indecisive.
Raising Your Fees With Existing Clients
This is the trickier challenge. Quite often, consultants and coaches want to take their fees up. If you are charging an hourly or a day rate, it feels as if you’ll be found out too quickly.
You put in your invoice saying you worked so many hours at this price / hour. It’s highly visible when you change your fees. And if you don’t mention it, then it feels sneaky and unethical.
This is why so many of us end up with legacy clients. Clients who still purchase from us at the old rate.
You Can Stairstep Your Fees For Existing Clients
You don’t have to take your fees up by a big jump every three years. It’s probably better for existing legacy clients if you stairstep your fees up to where your new clients are at. Perhaps every four or every six months, you can bring them up a little more.
You May Find You Don’t Need To Say Anything
When existing clients ask you for some new help, whether it be a new project or package, if you’re able to show that you are delivering an amazing outcome, you might not have to show the hours you work at all. Structuring your offer so that you focus on the value you provide can shift the conversation from hours to end result.
Because you are showing the end result, not the hours involved, it won’t be possible to compare apples with apples. It’s a completely different comparison.
If You Do Need To Have The Conversation – Here’s What I’d Say
I would keep the communication on this very simple, and avoid the temptation to apologise.
I might even use it as an opportunity to trigger a sense of urgency, by allowing people to book using the old pricing for a period of time.
It will definitely help if you can remind your client about the tangible and intangible results that you have helped them achieve.
“I want to let you know that after much consideration, I’m raising my fees on 1st of next month. I want to thank you so much for having had the opportunity to work with you and be able to deliver [xx tangible results].
I wanted to let you know that if you book and pre-pay any additional work prior to the 1st of the month, then I will be delighted to honour the current fees for that work.
I look forward to continuing our working relationship. However, I’ll also understand if you need to review your options.”
And that’s all it takes.