Attention Freelancer: It’s Time To Raise Your Rates

Happy Monday! Ready to have your mind blown?

A recent study by Newsweek found that American freelancers were willing to work for far less than their counterparts in developing countries (y’ know, the ones we always complain about because they undercut our prices?)

To find out what pay U.S. workers will really accept for an hour’s work, and how that stacks up against other countries, NEWSWEEK turned to Mechanical Turk, an online marketplace for freelance work operated by Amazon.com. In a weeks-long experiment, we posted simple, hourlong jobs (listening to audio recordings and counting instances of a specific keyword) and continually lowered our offer until we found the absolute bottom price that multiple people would accept, and then complete the task.

The results: some Americans settled for a shockingly low 25 cents an hour—while counterparts in nations like India and the Philippines expected multiples more.

The moral of this story? It’s time to raise your rates.

Determining what to charge for their services is one of the most difficult tasks for someone just starting out as an independent professional. While employed by a company, we had no trouble demanding hundreds if not thousands of dollars for the products we sold, so why are we accepting slave-labor wages now that we have the ability to determine our own value?

As FreelanceFolder tells us, our fees are important for many reasons besides meeting our target income.

“For one thing, prospects judge us by our fees. It’s like shopping for shoes. When you see a pair that looks nice but is incredibly cheap, you wonder, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ On the other hand, when you see a pair that’s $200 or more, you think, ‘Wow, this designer shoe must be made of some hard-to-find leather to cost this much!'”

Your fees also affect how well you service your clients. If you charge low fees, you’ll need to have more clients to earn a given income. This means your time and attention will be divided among more clients. You’re going to be spread more thinly. You’ll also use up more resources to find and manage all these clients.”

Charging a price that reflects your true value will make you a better freelancer and allow you to do better work. If you’re worried about how to tell your clients that your rates are going up, try these tips:

1. Increase in small increments over time.

2. Increase your rate for each new client.

3. Increase your rate for each new project with an existing.

4. Formulate a platinum package.

Read more tips for raising your rates here.

Have you ever raised your rates? How/why did you do it? Share your experience in a comment!

Image Credit: Flickr – DaveFayram

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