How to raise your freelance writing rates (+ email templates)

Two simple ways and five email templates to raise your rates on an ongoing basis.
First published on:
February 15, 2024
Last updated on:
February 15, 2024

Whatever you charge for freelance writing work right now, you can (and should) charge more.

That’s especially true if you’ve been quoting the same rate for a while, or if you’ve never tried to increase your rates in the first place.

A report by Peak Freelance revealed that most writers quote $250-$399 for a <1,500-word blog post, but also that some writers charge more than $1,200 for it. It also showed a whitepaper costs some clients $1,000, and others $5,000.

Here’s my own experience: in early 2018, I was charging around $250 for a blog post of any length, complexity, and topic. In early 2024, I charge around $1,300 for shorter blog posts (up to 1,500 words), and upwards of $2,000 for longer, 3,000+ word blog posts. That’s a 10x jump in around six years—a jump that happened thanks to regular rate raises over the years, not overnight.

So wherever you sit on that range, it’s time to raise your rates. This guide shows you how to do it with your existing clients (along with email templates to do so), as well as with new clients you’re signing up.

But first: why you’re worth to be paid more over time

Aside from the fact that the cost of living is consistently rising and everything is more expensive as time goes on—from a loaf of bread and a dry cleaning service to clothes, cars, and houses—there are a few more things that count:

1. Your finished writing product is more advanced

When you first started writing, chances are you were just beginning to scratch the surface of the topics you were writing about.

Today, your research is advanced. You conduct expert interviews. You have a swipe file with hundreds of examples you can quote in your drafts. You’ve mastered the way you navigate and use data and statistics.

2. You’re consistently improving as a writer

After months of writing about the same topic, your writing is inevitably better. You grasp new concepts fast, your thought process is clearer, and your writing is more crisp and impactful.

3. You invest into tools that support your writing

You generate results because you’ve invested in editing tools like ProWritingAid, SEO tools like Surfer, a swipe file tool like SwipeWell, and many others. Your rates should cover that investment—and more.

4. The longer you work with a client, the more valuable you are to them

Working on dozens of blog posts, ebooks, or email campaigns means you have mountains of context for every new project that comes from that client, and with it the ability to jump into a new brief almost instantly.

A different freelance writer may need weeks to be onboarded and to fully catch up—that’s your advantage and what makes you extra valuable to a repeat client.

How to raise your rates with existing clients

The go-to process I recommend for raising your rates is doing so once per year following a predefined process each time.

This can be terrifying, but as you know by now, you must do it. Raising your rates means you can keep doing the work you love, support your evolution as a writer, and remove the “Am I making enough money to support my life?” anxiety.

Here’s a simple template you can use:

Hi [Client name],

I'm raising my rates from [current rate] to [new rate]. Over the past year, I’ve further improved the quality of my research, writing, and overall process, and I want to keep making those improvements while staying focused on a sustainable number of clients.

These rates will kick in from projects done from [January] onwards. Any projects I do prior to [date] will be billed at current rate.

I hope this is still within your budget and that we can keep working together. If so, let me know and I’ll send you an updated contract. Any questions, just let me know!


[Your name]

Want more email templates to raise your rates?

Grab 5 email templates in this free download, plus subject lines you can use when emailing your clients about raising your rates.

With templates out of the way, here are other key parts of that predefined rate-raising process:

When exactly to raise your rates

The December/January period is, in my experience, ideal for this effort. Companies are updating and evaluating their budgets during this time, and the new year feels like a reset in a way.

Raising your rates during this period will fit right in, and it’s likely to be the least ‘surprising’ time to do this.

Of course, if you’ve started working with a new client in September, raising your rates in January won’t make sense. In that case, just keep track of your start date and reach out with a rate raise around the same date next year (or wait for December/January if that’s okay with you).

But also: your preferred time to raise rates can be whatever you choose, just make sure it’s at least once per year.

The rate increase percentage

How much should you increase your rates? There’s no perfect figure, but anything between 10% and 20% is safe and will generally work well (unlike, say, a 50% increase).

My tip is to grab a piece of paper, write down your current rates, and take note of what they’d look and feel like if you increased them by 10%, 15%, and 20% and choose from there.

The ideal heads-up period for rate increase

Send your rate raise emails to one client at a time, starting with the client least likely to have an issue with your updated rates. Wait for their response before moving onto the next one. This way, you get to check the pulse before expanding your efforts to more clients, and tweak anything if necessary.

I prefer to notify about rate raises around six weeks in advance. For example, if my rates went up on January 1st, I’d start sending those emails in early November. This gives the client a full month (aka a full billing cycle) to still pay me the old rates while preparing for the new ones.

Don’t forget to follow up if you don’t hear back within 4-5 business days.

Note: If a client has recently gone through a round of layoffs, restructuring, downsizing, or any other type of bad news, you almost certainly won’t be able to raise your rates for them. It’s best to skip that client and revisit your rates at a future point, if possible.

…but what if the client says no?

This is always a possibility, but especially once you grow into the higher rate tiers while working with clients that are price-sensitive (and loving they can get your quality services at a bargain).

There are a few things you can try:

  • Suggest a different type of engagement. For example, you can take on fewer assignments and a reduced scope, like a smaller word count.
  • Find middle ground. If you wanted to raise your rates by $200, you might find a happy medium by raising them by $100.
  • Recommend one final stint at old rates. Try communicating that these are your rates going forward and there’s no wiggle room, but you’re happy to take another month or two at old rates before parting ways. I suggest doing this only if you really love working with this client, as this is a direct favor to them.
  • Part ways. Finally, if nothing else works or if you’re realizing this client isn’t willing to cooperate while others are, make the call to end your working relationship once your current assignments are completed. This is you standing your ground and only working with clients that honor the value you bring them.

How to raise your rates with new clients

This part is simple and way less terrifying than the existing client rate raise. Here’s how it works:

Whatever your current rates are, the moment you’re fully booked for the next month or two is a good moment to raise your rates for new leads that come your way.

For example, if your current clients pay $200 for a blog post and they happily keep giving you work, quote your next lead $225 or $250 for the same scope of blog posts.

Then, as you quote that new rate to new leads, see how well it lands and make sure they’re happy with your writing work and the experience of working with you. If all keeps running smoothly with a couple of clients that paid new rates, you can move onto the next rate tier (like $300) with the leads that come in after that.

That’s it! Rinse and repeat.

Time to raise your freelance writing rates

No more excuses—grab your email templates and create a plan to raise your rates. Pick a month you want to start charging more, and work your way backwards to figure out when to start notifying clients.

Here’s the thing: when you charge more, your clients take you a lot more seriously. The higher your rates, the better you position yourself as a pro writer that knows what they’re doing and has done so for a while.

By raising your writing rates regularly, you can keep doing a similar amount of work (or even lower it) and increase your revenue each year. That’s the dream, isn’t it?

Credit for featured photo to Caleb Woods on Unsplash

⚡ Want to add more clients to your roster? You'll love these 17 strategies for finding freelance writing jobs.