One of the most nerve-wracking things you can do as a Virtual Assistant is to let your clients know about a service rate increase.
But as the needs of your business grows, there may come a time you’ll have to give it some serious consideration. It could be for a number of reasons, for example:
- You’ve hired employees or contractors
- To get the tools you need to help you run your business more effectively
- Or it’s been a while (or you’ve never) increased your service rates and you want to stay in line with the average market rate
Whatever your reason is for a service rate increase, the last thing you want is to lose a client over this but if you go about it the right way, you’ll stand a better chance of keeping your clients on board.
What To Say To Clients To Support Your Service Rate Increase
I took a look around the web for the best advice for increasing service rates without losing clients and this is what I found.
Inc.com asked 10 entrepreneurs how they go about breaking the news of price increases to their customers. Here are a couple pieces of advice that stood out to me.
One entrepreneur said to be honest and not try to hide it. She also suggests to explain how your level of expertise has increase from the time you were hired.
Another entrepreneur suggested to explain how the higher price is going to allow you to serve them better – but don’t apologize for it.
WorkflowMax suggests to tell clients what they stand to gain by focusing on the benefits such as additional services or support, a shorter turnaround and increased availability. Let clients know your service rate increase will allow you to grow while still offering the same level of great service.
Another tip of advice they shared was to set expectations by advising clients of a rate increase well before you do. Here’s a great example they shared:
“For example, I’ll say: ‘Great! I’m glad you liked the design. Let me know what else I can do. By the way – I’m raising my rates in the fall, so we can discuss that before the next project’. So you’re setting the expectations for a discussion later, and when you do bring it up, they’re not surprised”.
Millo recommends to give your first notice 90 days out followed by a second reminder 30 days before the service rate increase takes affect.
Practice Ignition shared a price increase sample letter you can use as a guide to draft your own letter if you’re struggling to come up with a letter on your own.
Figuring Your New Rate
Figuring your new rates should be researched carefully. If you set your rates too high, you might lose a client. So don’t pick a number out of thin air and run with that.
Besides the sample letter, Practice Ignition also shared some great tips to figure out your new rates. Here’s a breakdown of the bullet points they gave:
- Know your worth
- Analyze your time – figure out which clients or type of work brings in the most profit.
- Test rates on new clients – if you list rates on your website, you can change them for future clients to test if there is still interest in your services. If you negotiate rates, try testing out the new rates on some projects to get a feel for how the market reacts.
- Reflect your value – showcase recent projects and the value you provided
- Consider budget alternatives for clients struggling to budget for your new rate
- Offer free trials if you’re raising your rate and updating the services your offer
Wrapping It Up
So you see, telling your clients about a service rate increase doesn’t need to scare the crap out of you. If you communicate and provide value, they’ll be happy to continue working with you.
Now tell me, have you increased your service rate? How did you tell your clients and what was their reaction?