When, Why, and How to Raise Your Prices Without Losing Clients

4 minute read

When was the last time you raised your copywriting fees?

3… 2… 1…

Time’s up!

If you’re still thinking about it, then you’re well past-due for another price hike. You’re also past-due for a price hike if the answer was:

  • “At least six months ago…”
  • “Maybe three clients ago…?”
  • “I’ve never raised my prices…”

You should always raise your prices as a freelancer when you:

  • Sign on a new client
  • Add a new service or benefit
  • Have had a regular client for a year (and each year thereafter)
  • Renew a retainer agreement

But, while those are good pricing rules to live by, practical application isn’t always easy.

If the thought of raising your prices makes you break out in a cold sweat, you’ll definitely want to keep reading to find ways to:

  • Develop the right mindset with regard to your pricing
  • Evaluate your true worth as a freelancer confidently and accurately
  • Identify moments you can naturally raise your prices
  • Introduce the difficult “money conversations”

No-Holds-Barred Evaluation of Your True Value

Many of us struggle to raise our prices because we’re in the wrong mindset. We fail to see the true value of our skills and what they bring to our clients, or even what our clients can pay us. 

That imposter syndrome invades your proposals and invoices.  

Recently I shared a thought-provoking Ted Talk clip. It’s more than worth it to listen to the whole thing several times, because a very successful woman is sharing her struggles with this type of imposter syndrome. The true gold of the clip are the five simple questions she asks herself to evaluate her true worth:

  1. What are my clients’ needs… and how do I meet them?
  2. What is my unique skill set that makes me better qualified to serve my clients?
  3. What do I do that no one else does?
  4. What problems do I solve for clients?
  5. What value do I add?

Really take your time answering these questions with relentless honesty. And, if you’re not sure… ask your friends or even your current clients.

When to Reflect on Your Value (and Raise Your Prices)

There are several milestones in any given year when you should take the time to sit down and ask those five hard questions about your value:

  • The New Year
  • Quarterly
  • Whenever you’re booked ahead

4 Times You Can — and Should — Raise Your Prices

Once you understand your value — and you’re reevaluating it regularly — it’ll be easier to raise your prices each time you hit one of these key thresholds.  

1)  When You Sign on a New Client

Here’s the great thing about a brand-new client… they don’t know what you used to charge. If you make a practice of raising your prices by increments from one client to the next, it’ll be easier to do:

  • Shorter articles: raise by $25
  • Longer articles and webpages: raise by $50-$75 
  • Big projects (case studies, site audits): raise by $100-$200

How to Talk About It:

  • “I charge…”
  • “For this amount of work, I estimate…”
  • “I typically charge within this range, and based on your situation…”

2)  When You Add a New Service or Benefit

Adding a new service, like a site audit when you’ve only written articles, is a good time to raise the price for both services. Benefits you could offer above and beyond your new service might include that:

  • You’re certified — you bring vetted knowledge and expertise to the project
  • You’re able to book work for specific dates
  • You’ll share your clients’ published work on your own social platforms
  • You can add consultation to an existing project

How to Talk About It:

  • “It’s true, I do charge more than some of my peers, but that’s because you get all these benefits…”
  • “This is exactly what you get because of my…”
  • “I’ve added this service for several clients, would it interest you…?”

3)  Periodically With a Long-Term Client

Of all the ways and times to raise your fees, the most nerve-wracking is telling an existing client that you’ll be charging more.

However, if you like the client and want to keep them, then you have to do this…

Partly because you need to make enough money to live, partly because you want them to keep valuing you, and partly because you want to keep valuing them!

Depending upon the type and amount of work you’re doing with a specific client, six months to a year is probably a good timeframe to at least consider this step.

How to Talk About It:

  • “Have you been happy with my work…?”
  • “I’ve got more demands on my time now, but because I value you so much…”
  • “We’ve been working together for a while; would it be a crazy idea to discuss raising my fees…?”

Incidentally, how a client responds will tell you a lot about the future of the relationship. (Keep reading for a great story about an ideal client response!)

4)  When You Renew a Retainer Agreement

This one is very similar to raising your fees with a good client… except this is a bit easier, because there’s a deadline built into your agreement, which puts your client on notice.  

How to Talk About It:

  • “I really enjoy working with you, but I’ve got more clients signed on now than I did last year…”
  • “Is what we’re doing working for you…?”
  • “Would you like to continue with this service…?”

When Your Client Raises Your Prices for You

My friend Anne Hill shared a funny story about how her very first client ever — for whom she’d never raised her prices — told her they were:

  1. Grateful that she’d never raised her prices, and…
  2. They wanted to pay her 15% more.

She thanked them and then shared what her other clients were currently paying. Their response? How about a 45% increase?

Raise Your Prices… Everyone Else Is

In case you’re thinking this advice is all well-and-good, but you don’t see it working in the real world, let me assure you… I’ve done this faithfully my whole career. And I’m still charging only middle-range fees based on the AWAI pricing guide.

How’s that possible?

Because prices always go up in every industry. You don’t pay the same amount for a hamburger today as you would’ve in the 60s. And while I’m raising my prices, every other reputable copywriter is doing the same thing. So, AWAI’s pricing guide range goes up every year, too.

Across four years, here are some industry increases:


2019 Price

2023 Price

4-year Increase

Blog article




Short Online Video Script



$500+/starting point

Social Media Management

$1,000-$2,000/ month

$1,000-$3,000/ month

High-end increase of $1,000

In-Person Training for Staff Writers

$1,500/day plus travel & lodging

$1,500-$5,000/day plus travel & lodging

High-end increase of $4,500/day

Pillar Post

Didn’t exist yet


Brand-new service with $500 more potential


Didn’t exist yet


Brand-new service with $2,000 more potential

Ilise Benun, a marketing coach and mentor, talks about the importance of taking care of yourself when setting your prices. And that’s what raising your fees is all about… taking good care of yourself, so you can take excellent care of your clients.