How to Raise Your Consulting Rates

by | Dec 5, 2023 | Consulting


Are you raising your rates in 2024? Are you nervous about communicating the changes to current clients?

As a nonprofit consultant, one of the biggest factors in achieving your business goals is finding the right pricing for your services. And many of us start out pricing our services too low (we have big hearts, after all).

This means that, eventually, we all need to tell current clients that we’re raising our rates. The first time can be nerve-wracking! A million doubts run through your head: What if a client says no? What if they ask too many questions? What if they don’t renew your contract?

Luckily, if you follow a few basic guidelines, raising your rates can be surprisingly easy—and clients more amenable than you might expect.


5 Steps to Raise Your Consulting Rates


Step 1: Set your new pricing

The very first step is deciding on your new rates. You’ll want to follow the same process you did when researching and setting your rates initially. One key difference, though, is that you will have a much deeper understanding of how much time different services require and what the market will bear.

For example, if you’ve been charging $125 an hour for grant writing and clients have been happy with this rate, it’s unlikely those same clients will balk at paying $150 per hour. However, if you’ve been charging $50 per hour, it will be a harder sell to jump to $150. That’s where moving to a project-based pricing model can help you increase your rates more quickly by taking advantage of your efficiency and skillsets.


Step 2: Plan client outreach at least 1-2 months in advance  

Once you know your new rates, you need to give your clients advance notice. If you have a current monthly contract, you can increase your rates (or switch to project or retainer pricing) during contract renewal conversations. Plan to start the conversation 2-3 months before your current contract is up.

If you’re in between contracts or working on an as-needed basis with some clients, plan to give at least 1-2 months’ notice of rate increases or changes.


Step 3: Start with email when communicating with current clients

When raising your rates, you want to be sure there is no mistaking or misunderstanding. That’s why your first point of communication should be a clear, simple email (see example below).

This email should be sent to your primary point of contact with each client. Because it’s in email, your point of contact can easily share your message for internal review and approval. You can also offer a call or meeting to discuss the changes and answer any questions your clients may have.


Step 4: Use value-based messaging

In your initial email and in follow-up communication, focus on the value you provide the client. Don’t get bogged down in WHY you are raising your rates or changing your billing approach. Your clients are experiencing inflation themselves. They know the cost of providing services is increasing. But they also know that you deliver great results—remind them of that value!


Step 5: Answer questions promptly

Clients may have questions about how new billing approaches, like project-based pricing or retainers, may work. Answering promptly reminds them that you are responsive, reliable, and a trusted part of their team.


Sample Client Email to Raise Consulting Rates

Writing a rate increase email doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, simple is better. Here’s an email one of our Hive members recently sent to a client about her rate increase:

Hi [Primary Point of Contact],

I hope your year-end fundraising is going well! I’m looking ahead to 2024 and wanted to connect about our work together.

I so enjoy working with your team — you all do great work! If you are still looking for as-needed grant writing support in 2024, I’d love to continue working with you.

With that in mind, I wanted to let you know that, as of January 1, I’ll be raising my hourly grant writing rate to $150. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to discuss.

Thank you so much and I look forward to the chance to continue supporting your organization.

The client’s response? Gratitude for the advance notice and next steps for creating an updated contract. So get out there and adjust those consulting rates!

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