3 Simple Ways to Get Paid More by Clients

By / Sep 14, 2010 / Tips
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As freelancers, we all want to make more money. But freelancing doesn’t scale, so there’s always a ceiling. There’s a limit as to how many clients you can take on, right? So how do you make more money, if you can’t or don’t want to take on more clients? Well, if you’re better than average in what you do and can put in just a little bit of extra effort, you can get paid more by clients.

Yep, there are 3 simple ways you can get paid more by clients – the same clients you’re currently contacting. You’ll be expanding vertically rather than horizontally, as they say. No, there’s no scammy tricks, or magic pills, or sleazy sales tactics. There are simple tweaks to what you’re already doing that’ll make your clients want to pay you more – either by you being able to charge more now or raise the price for the next project.

So without further ado, here are 3 simple ways to get paid more by clients:

1. Make Life Easier for Your Clients

If you make life easier for your client, you’ll increase the chances that they’ll pay you more. Because that’s ultimately what they’re paying for – convenience. Making their life easier so they don’t have to do something. Even if they could learn and become proficient in it, they’d rather pay you to do it. The more your client has to do themselves, the less they’ll want to pay you. After all, why should they pay you more, when they’re doing part of the work?

Your mission as a freelancer is to make your client’s life easier.

So the more you focus on your benefits to your client and specifically how it makes their life easier, rather than simply features that you offer, the more likely they’ll want to pay you more. Who cares that you’re able to design technical thing X or implement widget Y? How do those things make life easy?

Focus on that – in your pitches, in your proposals, in your conversations, and in your actual work.

Be willing to do as much as possible to make your client’s life easier. Don’t tell them they have to do something themselves – unless it’s unavoidable, and even then, don’t highlight it but instead word it in a way that it becomes a prerequisite or requirement for a task rather than work for the client.

2. Use More Convincing Wording

The more convincing the wording of your offer, the higher likelihood that you’ll get paid more for it. Yeah yeah, it’s forehead-slapping common sense. No surprises there. But it still bears stating. How can a client want to pay you more if they’re not convinced you’re worth the money?

So, convince them – in your wording, on the phone, in your pitch, your proposal, everywhere:

  • Replace “maybe” with “guaranteed or *risk-free deal*”
  • Use “I’ll definitely” instead of “I’ll try”
  • Focus on benefits over features…
  • How you’ll make your client’s life easier…
  • And how you’ll increase their chance of their desired result

Use more convincing wording to make your offer seem like a steal.

Now, this isn’t to say that you should lie in your freelancing. No, never. Lying and being fake sucks, so don’t do it. Rather, you’re not deceiving your clients but simply making it more clear why you’re worth the money you’re charging. You’re elegantly reminding them why they’re about to pay you more than a cheaper but lower quality alternative.

If you’re confident in your offer, then show it. Don’t shy away from your self-belief. Don’t be arrogant, but don’t be overly modest and meager either – that’s just sabotaging yourself.

3. Bundle Easy-to-Do Freebies

When you over-deliver in value, it makes it seem like you have a great deal. Y’know, like those corny-but-it-works lines like “but wait, order now and we’ll throw in A, B, and C for FREE!” Of course, you don’t have to sound corny or sales-y. But you can bundle easy-to-do freebies to over-deliver at the price you’re asking for, all the while being able to confidently raise that price just enough so you’re still over-delivering but charging more than you used to.

You see non-salesy companies and offers do this all the time:

  • Buy 2 of something, get the 3rd free.
  • Buy our main app, and we’ll throw in this other app at 1/2 off.
  • Sign up for the premium level, and we’ll give you our thing over here for free.
  • Every order for A comes with a complimentary B and C.
  • And so forth.

So you can do the same with your freelancing. Offer your clients the same type of deal. That you’ll not only do the main benefit, but you’ll also do task B and C for no additional cost. And those little extras will make it seem like the client is getting a great deal. Even if you’re charging a little more than the competition. And it should be a great deal, since you’ll be providing even more benefits at the asking price, no matter how small those benefits are.

Hold on. That means more work though, right? The trick is to make sure that those additional tasks are really easy for you to do. Stuff that you can do in your sleep but would still be an effort for your client. That way, at not much extra work, you’ll be able to charge a little more than usual. Or, your client will be so impressed the first time around that they’ll be willing to pay more the next time.

So, since it’ll take barely any time and effort on your part to do, but it’ll still provide a real benefit to the client, why not bundle them into your offer at no additional cost?

  • Your client wins because they get extra value for the price you’re asking.
  • You win because you get to charge more (or earn more the next time around), since you’re over-delivering on value.
  • You also win because it won’t take that much more time and effort for you to work on those freebies.

By bundling easy-to-do freebies, you’re increasing the chances of getting paid more by your clients.

Get Paid More by Clients

No tricks or facades or schemes. Just simple tweaks to what you’re already doing that’ll make your clients want to pay you more.

To recap – you can get paid more by clients using these 3 simple ways:

  1. Make life easy for your clients
  2. Use more convincing wording
  3. Bundle easy-to-do freebies

Now get out there and start getting paid more.

How about you? How have these ways worked for you? What other ways have you been able to get paid more by clients?

About the Author

Oleg Mokhov is the world's most mobile electronic musician and co-founder of the premium royalty free music store Soundtrackster.

16 Comments

  1. parry
    September 14, 2010

    gr8 post..really will help me in future..thnks..cheers..parry!

    Reply
  2. Vunky
    September 14, 2010

    Hey Oleg,

    Great Article. Never thought of using the freebies that way. What also works for me is to look more professional in my proposals, so the clients are more confident in paying more money.

    Your readers might enjoy a blog post I wrote on that subject: The ABC’s of a good design proposal

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Josh
      September 19, 2010

      @Vunky – Your ABC good design proposal article was super helpful. Thanks!

      Reply
  3. Edwin
    September 14, 2010

    The article is good and contains some good pointers. However, having been doing this for over 12 years, you have to very careful to add “freebies”, because unless you specify the details in the contract, they will “eat you up”. Be careful “guaranteeing” things, clients will hold you to it!

    Reply
  4. Web Designer, Leicester
    September 14, 2010

    The Freebies is something i have never thought about before, i think i might give that approach a try, next time im working with a client.
    Thanks for posting.

    Reply
  5. David Radovanovic
    September 14, 2010

    All are really good pointers. However, I have to take issue with using over-the-top phrases like “risk-free deal” and other huckstery terms while negotiating with your client. Above all, be honest with your customers and don’t promise the moon. You’ll lose your credibility and eventually all your clients when you can’t fulfill unrealistic promises.

    Reply
  6. Lucid Theory
    September 15, 2010

    Some good tips there, will use them!

    Reply
  7. Joel
    September 15, 2010

    Nice Tips specially for a beginner like me.

    Thank you so much.

    Reply
  8. Nick Stewart
    September 15, 2010

    Great post. I gave it a thumbs up on stumble upon.

    This reminded me of something that Seth Godin talked about when he said that instead of looking for additional clients to sell to, you should look for more products to sell to your current clients.

    Sometimes the easiest way to make more money is to do that you said and make your clients lives easier. Sometimes you have to be creative with this.

    Reply
  9. Jamie
    September 15, 2010

    Great Article Oleg.

    Sometimes just getting paid is more important to some as
    opposed to getting more. Depending on the size of your graphic design business another option is to simply ask for upfront payment. As a graphic designer myself and running my own business for over eight years I have found only 1 in about 15 clients will not accept these terms. These terms are for any amount under $1000. The clients that don’t want to pay upfront are the kind of clients you really don’t want anyway.

    Reply
    • Oleg Mokhov
      September 16, 2010

      @Jamie, great point – techniques such as what you described help to “fire” clients, so you only work with those that you want to work with. Life’s too short to compromise – and besides, we get into freelancing so we DO have control over who we work with and what projects we’re working on. Thanks for your comment :)

      Reply
  10. Craig
    September 19, 2010

    3 easy to follow ways to get paid more by clients, and agree with Jamie above its probably more important to receive your money :-) Great tips, Thanks!

    Reply
  11. viet
    September 20, 2010

    great tips. Tks u

    Reply
  12. Lisa Thomason
    September 20, 2010

    Three easy and simple methods to get paid more by clients fabulous post, and making your clients life easier is definitely excellent advice, even though this means your life becomes more difficult! LT

    Reply
  13. Web design hull
    November 9, 2010

    Some good points, thanks for the great post. Happy clients that feel they’ve had more than their moneys worth is always the way to go.

    Reply
  14. Ivan Tsankov
    February 24, 2011

    Great article! The three golden rules in freelance.

    Thanks!

    Reply

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