“What if I lose this client?”
Ah, the struggles of writing a price increase letter… Back then, just the thought of announcing a new rate would send me into a spiral of doubt.
But not anymore. After spending 7+ on and off years in the freelancing arena, I’ve finally made my peace with this rule:
If you want to build a sustainable business, you need to get comfortable with raising your rates.
That goes for you, too, Sumo-lings.
Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer who starts to question your value the moment you have to announce your new rate? You’re in luck. In this guide, I’m going to show you how to write a price increase email with Beyoncé “I woke up like this”-level confidence. If you’re one step before that and just looking to get paid, we’ve got you on the invoice front, too.
(Heads up, this guide will use the words “letter” and “email” interchangeably.)
Steps for writing a price increase letter
Why the following price increase letter works
Here’s an email I sent that got a “yes” from my client. I first came across it on The Middle Finger Project (yes, that’s the actual irreverent name) and tweaked it to match my brand. That way, I can use it anywhere in my business. (Note: I merged this one with my project update email. If you don’t want to do this, simply start a new email.)
Now, let’s talk about the content.
First things first, this is a great email for clients who understand the value of your work.
If you’re dealing with a client you think might not budge on your new rate — you know the “hagglers” I’m talking about — you need to do a little bit more work to convince them.
So to make this guide even more valuable for you, I’ve included several pro tips and examples so you’re prepared for anything that comes your way.
1. Show Gratitude
When you express gratitude, it shows you value your clients. In the world of business, this simple act of saying thanks — besides doing awesome work — retains customers and improves your bottom line in the long run.
Pro Tip: Stress on the value you delivered. Lay out the measurable outcomes (e.g. how much money you’ve made). This shows clients that even though your rates are increasing, it’s still very much worth their investment.
For example, if you’re an entrepreneur who runs a sales coaching business, you might write something like this:
… thank you for the work we’ve done together. Since January 2020, we’ve:
- Fine-tuned your follow-up and upselling system, which resulted in an 80% closing rate
- Built a high-converting proposal template that can be used for your different client segments, saving you loads of time and money
- Closed over $650,000 worth of deals
2. Make a Confident Statement
Notice how this comes across as a confident statement made by a pro, rather than a request from an all-too accommodating client-pleaser.
Pro Tip: Cut to the chase. That’s it.
These three examples below are weak ways to announce your price increase.
- “Would it be okay if I increased our rate to $X amount?”
- “Because I’m taking more work than I can handle and you’re one of my lower-budget clients, I have to raise my current rate to $X amount.”
- “Due to the recent recession, I’m afraid that I have to increase my rate to $X amount. I totally understand that times are tough and your budget is tight, but I really do think that…” *goes on for another three pages*
It’s tempting to overexplain your price increase, but good work speaks for itself. You deserve to be compensated what you’re worth.
Sticking to short and sweet will always be effective:
- “I’m increasing my rate to $X.”
- “I’ve updated my rates recently. Here’s my rate card:”
- “I made some changes to my rates. Here you go:”
No modifications necessary.
3. Delight Customers
A thoughtful gesture goes a long way. Offer to extend the current rate for your clients to show you genuinely care about them. When clients are delighted by your work and the experience you create, they’re compelled to continue working with you.
Pro Tip: Give your clients at least 1-2 months notice for this new rate to take effect. Your clients may need to make adjustments to their budget and get it approved by their finance team. (I sent mine in January 2020 for the new rate to take effect in March 2020.)
A simple “This rate will take effect/start from [date]” will suffice.
4. Start a Conversation
Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but having an open dialogue makes things easier for both parties. This statement invites clients to share their thoughts on your new rate and draws out any reservations that they may have.
Pro Tip: Provide reassurance. This is the part where you might want to inject a tinge of personality or humor to help you sound more approachable.
For example, you might go with:
- “What do you think of this new rate? Honesty is encouraged, appreciated, and applauded.”
- “Let me know if you have any questions about my new rate. #allgoodvibes”
- “Thoughts on this new rate? I’ll stand by for further questions.”
5. End With a Focus on the Future
End your price increase letter with a bang! Drum up the hype for the future projects. This drives anticipation even further.
Pro Tip: Always end your price increase email in a way that showcases how a client can win thanks to the work you do.
For example, if you’re an entrepreneur running a content writing business, you might write something like this:
“I can’t wait to start writing the next batch of articles for July. I just peeked at the new content briefs and they’re excellent. Now that we’re building virality in our content, I expect organic traffic will improve. Our competitors better watch their backs!”
3 Best Practices When Writing A Price Increase Letter
There’s a lot of prep and post-work to do if you want to coax a client to say yes to your new rate. Here are 3 best practices you should always keep in mind.
1. Recap Your Goals (Before)
Where did your client share the results they’re looking for? Was it an intake form or a discovery call? Revisit that conversation and refresh your memory on their goals.
In my case, I dug through my client’s onboarding questionnaire:
Next, I tied these goals with the results I delivered in the price increase letter:
Since May 2020, our collaboration has resulted in:
- 30+ blog posts that rank SERP #1 for money keywords
- Increase in organic blog traffic by 150%+ in 9 months
- 9 evergreen blog posts with over 50 backlinks each
- Ultimate Guide that directly brought in more than $50,000 in revenue*
*This is an unexpected result. Put it in if you have one. It shows you went the extra mile, which is always a plus in clients’ books.
2. Follow Up (After)
Radio silence doesn’t mean no. Most likely, your client’s busy and unintentionally missed your email. In that case, send a brief follow-up email:
What do you think about the new rate?
Holler if you have any questions. Thanks!”
3. Know When to Walk Away (After)
If your client balks at the new rate despite your attempts at justifying it, it may be time to walk away. Assuming you’ve increased it fairly – say, 5-10% — and delivered awesome work, the next step might be to find better clients.
Sometimes you have to say no to grow your business.
Announce Your New Rate With Confidence (Free Template)
We’ve covered a lot on how to write an effective price increase letter. Need a hand to put it into practice? Here’s a template that makes it easier to write this oft-dreaded email:
We hope this guide helps you write a price increase email confidently, and more importantly, to scale your business.
Many people fall into the trap of bending to the will of their clients and defaulting to their original rate. Don’t make that mistake. Always remember to bring the conversation back to your client’s goals and the unique value they get from working with you.
And if they still say no? Thank them and move on. There will always be higher-paying clients waiting for you at the next level.