Freelance work is hard enough as it is, and when you have to worry about negotiating price rates, it gets even trickier. Unfortunately, this is an unavoidable task.
Freelancers need to negotiate their pay rate and adjust their income, perhaps even more so than people who have traditional employment. They have to think about taxes and benefits and worry about economic occurrences such as inflation.
Women, especially, need to seriously consider raising their charging fees since statistics show a drastic gender pay gap within the gig economy. Of course, this gap varies according to their service, but on average, women charge 48% less than men.
Regardless of your gender, as a freelancer, you need to know how to get adequately compensated for your work. So, take out your notebooks and let’s learn how to negotiate better pay!
Understand the Industry and Trends
When thinking of increasing your pay rates, the first thing you’ll probably have to do is look up industry trends. What does this mean? This means you’ll have to get more interested in discovering everything about your specific industry. Particularly when it comes to finances.
You can look up industry trends on google or talk to people involved in a similar line of work. If you are new on the freelance scene or looking to make a change, it’s always wise to connect with people who already do what you do. They can give you an idea of how much to charge, fill you in on all your responsibilities and give you some pointers on how to keep track of your expenses.
Digital analytics tools can also help you do this; for example, Google Trends can give you a long-time overview of particular niche trends.
Pay Attention to other Freelancers/Contractors
As we already mentioned, other freelancers or contractors are a great source of information. Familiarize yourself with different practices that other people use. This will not only give you an idea of how much to charge or what project to take on, but it can provide you with enough information to stand out from the crowd.
Ideally, you wouldn’t want to stand out too much in terms of pay rate, but it’s always better to have some kind of unique trait to set you apart from your competition.
Perhaps, if you’re a writer, you can specialize in a particular field and learn everything there is to know about it. That way, you can take on projects that are specific to that niche, and they would naturally come at a higher price because their value will be greater.
How to Negotiate the Contract
The first and most important step in building a professional partnership is contract negotiation. In order for you to understand how to negotiate a contract rate, you need to understand the entire process of contract negotiation.
During this process, both parties agree on a set of legally binding terms concerning working hours, pay rates, work responsibilities, workload, etc. A significant part of this negotiation is dedicated to determining the salary or pay rate. This usually is a make-or-break point, so it deserves more time and attention.
Have an End Goal in Mind
When discussing your salary or pay rate, always be prepared to give an actual number. Although this part is definitely intimidating for most people, it’s always good to have an end goal in mind when it comes to how much you should get paid.
This end goal might not be the amount you end up getting, but it will surely help you get near it.
Don’t get too carried away when discussing numbers. It’s wise to show that you value your work and think you deserve decent pay, but stay realistic.
Do thorough research to find out what someone with your expertise, education level, and experience should be charging and stick, more or less, to that price.
Think Beyond your Salary
We know it’s tempting to accept a high salary and sometimes it can be a bit blinding and hide the actual workload. Really look at all the conditions you agree to before settling on the salary. Often a higher pay rate means a bigger workload and impossible deadlines.
Make sure the job you end up doing is durable and doesn’t cost you your sleep, social life, or your health.
Presentation is everything when it comes to professional negotiations. If you seem like you believe you deserve a higher pay rate, your clients will believe it too. You need to be as confident as you can during these negotiations and stand your ground on your decisions as long as they are well informed and thought out.
We’ll attempt to answer some of the questions you might have.
What is the best way to negotiate a contract?
The best way to negotiate a contract would be to start with a draft, divide the negotiation into smaller segments, and tackle them one by one. You’ll also need to understand the reason why you want to partner up with that particular party. Get to know them as much as possible, don’t get too emotional, and stay positive and confident.
What is a good percentage to negotiate?
If the pay they offer is below average, you can ask for a 10 to 20% raise on their initial offer. If it’s within the average pay limit, you can try to up the offer by 5-7% maximum.
How do I ask for more money on a contract?
The key is to stay professional and direct and to know the number you want. Make sure you can back up your requests with clear reasons why you deserve the raise and be considerate of their position.
How do you negotiate a higher pay rate?
The same goes for negotiating a higher pay rate. Research your industry trends, settle on the amount that satisfies you, and present your case.
Sample Email Templates for Negotiation Follow-Ups
As promised, here are three sample email templates for negotiating pay rate:
- If you are looking for an initial freelance rate negotiation email sample to help you set up your pay rate with a new client, consider the following example.
Hello [client name]
Thank you for reaching out about [type of service]. Upon researching your brand, I feel very confident that my expertise in [field of interest] will bring value to your image.
Tell me more about the direction in which you would want our professional relationship to develop.
Do you have a specific budget or deadline in mind?
- Give this hourly rate negotiation email sample a try if you want to increase your pay rate in a follow-up email after they’ve given you their initial offer.
Dear [client name]
I have considered your offer for [type of service] and am truly interested in pursuing our negotiations and reaching common ground in order to begin our collaboration.
However, my current rate for [service] is $50 an hour, and I am not accepting any offers below that. Do you think there is any room in your budget to meet this rate?
If so, I would be thrilled to discuss other details and draft the contract. And if this doesn’t sound like something you can do right now, I would be happy to refer you to someone else whose rates are more aligned with your expense plans.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
- If you’re not sure how to ask for a higher pay rate from your existing clients on existing projects, take a look at the following example.
Dear [client name]
I hope this message finds you well.
I am writing to inform you that, as a result of the current changes in the economy and the development of my experience, I have decided to increase my hourly rates.
As of February 1st, I will be charging $70 an hour for [type of service]. I hope this will not be an issue and won’t strain your budget.
However, if you are not currently able to meet this price rate, I completely understand and hope this one-month notice gives you enough time to settle your affairs.
Looking forward to hearing from you and hoping to continue our wonderful collaboration.
In these scenarios, the best practice is to inform rather than to request. Remember, you are your own boss; if you don’t give yourself a raise, no one else will. Just make sure to give your client enough time to adjust to this transition, and if this ends up breaking your professional relationship, let it end on a positive note.
Money is always a taboo subject, and we all tend to avoid it as much as possible, but when your livelihood is at stake, sometimes you have to start the conversation.
If you remember to stay positive, confident, well-informed, and decisive, there is no reason to evade this conversation. Follow our advice and get yourself that pay raise – you deserve it!