Is it time to raise your design rates? If you’re feeling uncertain about your design rates—you’re not alone. Many designers grapple with whether they’ve priced their services right. Often, they just need validation and permission to increase their design rates. In this blog post, I’ll share six signs to help you determine whether it’s time to up your prices, especially if you want to attract high-ticket and high-budget clients.
Low design rates will attract low-caliber clients. These clients are clients who don’t value your work, often ask for discounts, and/or try to sneak in extra tasks. I’ve been there, and it’s not a situation I’d recommend.
If you want to attract high-ticket, high-budget clients, everything about your client experience must mirror that ambition. Your designer rates, your quality of work, and the way you handle projects should speak directly to the caliber of clients you want to bring in.
Feeling overworked is easy to spot. You may be working with too many clients, juggling numerous projects, and feeling worn out and unhappy. This is not a sustainable way to grow your business.
Raising your designer rates may mean losing some clients, but the right people will stay. Consider this: would you prefer 20 clients per year at $4,000 each or 10 clients at $8,000 each? Fewer clients for the same revenue means less pressure and an opportunity to foster stronger relationships with the clients who remain after you increase your rates. I think that sounds like a win for you, your business, and for them.
Storytime: Back in 2016, I quit my corporate job and embarked on my freelancing journey. About three months in, I booked an exciting restaurant branding project. It was the biggest project of my career at that time. A week into the project, I stumbled upon a designer’s rant in a Facebook group. She shared that she felt undercharged for a restaurant branding project, charging $3,000. My heart sank because I had charged just over $2,000 for more deliverables than she included.
At that moment, I realized I had undervalued my work and time. Pricing is challenging, and designers rarely openly discuss their design rates. While I knew I should be charging less due to my lack of experience, I understood that there was a difference between charging lower and undervaluing your work. Researching your industry and understanding competitive price points is essential. It can help you set designer rates that mirror both the industry standards and your unique abilities.
I make it a practice to review and increase my design rates for all digital products and services annually. If you haven’t adjusted your designer rates in over a year, then it’s high time for a change. The advantage of a yearly review is that by gradually raising your rates, you avoid surprising clients with a sudden significant jump.
However, if you realize that you’re already significantly undercharging, then a more aggressive approach might be required. Consider doubling or even tripling your rates for the next few clients and see where it lands. Their reactions can provide valuable insights.
In The Breakthrough Designer, my online course for building a highly profitable design business,” I see many students initially come through with low rates. With the newfound confidence they develop in the course, I’ve seen them double, triple, and even quadruple their design rates. They attract clients with these increased rates, fulfilling their dreams. Your continual growth as a designer and business owner warrants a regular reflection on your pricing structure to ensure it aligns with your evolving value.
If your expenses are on the rise, your profit margins could be taking a hit. Say your revenue is $4,000/month, and expenses are $500. Your profit sits at $3,500. If you invest in a new workspace or outsource support, and suddenly those expenses double to $1,000, your profits fall to $3,000.
In this situation, you can either take on more clients to maintain revenue or adjust your designer rates. By increasing your design rates, you have the flexibility to work with the same number of clients for more money or fewer clients for the same money. It’s all about structuring your rates to keep pace with growing expenses.
This last sign is perhaps my favorite. If you’ve been following this discussion from the start, you don’t need validation or permission. You already know what you need to know—it’s time to raise your designer rates.
The truth is, some clients may not wish to work with you at higher rates, but that has nothing to do with you. It simply means you’re attracting a different clientele who values your work and time more.
So, go! Raise your rates!
Your prices reflect more than just numbers; they mirror your value, your ambition, and your path to success. If you’ve read this and decided it’s time to raise your rates, share it on social media and tag me! I want to celebrate this milestone with you and support you in your growth journey.