Careers Now: Freelancers conflicted about increasing fees for longtime clients

DEAR READERS: I’ve had several conversations with freelance professionals who are conflicted about asking for an increase in the fees they charge their regular, longtime clients. They don’t want to rock the boat, especially if the client is one who accounts for a large percentage of their income — but they’ve been charging the same fee for several years and feel they deserve a bump up. Here, two HR pros weigh in with advice.

“Communicating an increase in fees to a regular, longtime client can be a sensitive matter,” acknowledges Sylwia Smietanko, an HR specialist and recruiter at Passport Photo Online, who notes that everyone wants to maintain a positive relationship while also ensuring financial viability.

Fortunately, there are a few steps freelancers and consultants can take to achieve both goals.

Evaluate your current rates compared with industry standards and market rates for similar services. This advice comes from Emily Bennett, HR manager at Office Topics, who says it is the best way to help determine if you are charging a fair price.

This advice comes from Emily Bennett, HR manager at Office Topics, who says it is the best way to help determine if you are charging a fair price. Assess your value.

“Be prepared to discuss your value proposition — the value you bring and the impact your work has on your clients’ businesses,” Bennett suggests. “If you feel that you are providing valuable services and contributing to your clients’ success, you may have a stronger cas