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J Montreuil

Anyone ever successfully raised a rate with a client?

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Yeah, it helps if you have been away for a while or have been unavailable the last few times they've asked for you. That being said, I'm always surprised how often clients never even flinch when you say oh by the way my rate is now x. Just be confident and reasonable, if you're worth it... you're worth it.

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I've done it a couple time.

 

I tend to work at many different places and enough time passes between returning that they genuinely don't remember what I was charging in the first place. that makes it easier. the one time that they actually had it written down I mentioned my list of accomplishments since and the new skills I was offering as justification. I was meet w/ a little resistance but when I said "well, that's my price now and I totally understand if that puts me outside what you guys are comfortable spending" the conversation ended and I got the booking.

 

that's a really long, round-a-bout way of saying:

 

Just be confident and reasonable, if you're worth it... you're worth it.

 

then again, that may just be how it works out here in SF.

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then again, that may just be how it works out here in SF.

 

It's the same everywhere. Or at least anywhere that a client can benefit from hiring someone with more skill. If it's worth it to them, they'll pay it. That said, there's kind of an average ceiling for most positions, where clients (especially studios, who hire lots of people for similar positions) stop seeing added value for higher rates. But that's a pretty mushy ceiling. The highest rates seem to be in staff positions for really fucking good designers in high demand. The kind of people who clearly elevate a studio.

 

You know for sure you can raise your rate with a client when you're not afraid to lose them. Otherwise, it's kind of a gut feeling and a gamble.

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Agreed with all that was said before which pretty much sums it up.

 

One thing to consider too is that there is no such thing as stagnant costs, you're rent, insurance etc. essentially all your costs have a minimum 3% inflation cost added every year so when you keep your rates the same year over year, you are actually taking home less. Not that clients really could care less about that but worth keeping in mind.

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don't listen to all these people. it's impossible. no client will ever pay you more than what he is paying you now! THIS IS THE REAL WORLD! not some kindergarden when you get ribbons for participation!

 

 

/end unhelpful comment ( this thread did not feel mograph.net enough...)

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The best thing is to form a Mograph Union before we all end up living in Canada like all the VFX guys. We have the union deal with clients, set the wage, hours worked, provide benefits and pensions. When you find yourself rendering out changes at 2 am it will sound better than a day rate that some how lasts 18 hours.

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The best thing is to form a Mograph Union before we all end up living in Canada like all the VFX guys.

 

not as simple as a union. that's a MUCH bigger issue than collective bargaining alone can fix. They're competing w/ government subsidies and negotiation w/ 1 of maybe 7 real clients (feature film studios). the VFX saturation is a big problem there too cuz the second those subsidies dry up they're moving to singapore / london / new zealand / north korea / etc... the work chases the money not the other way around.

 

conversely motion graphics is robust and diversified in where and how the work can come from. a lot of it is also fairly region spesific. it's not quite so easily outsourced and most of the work isn't big enough for government subsidies to be effective in attracting work. also thanks to the internet there's a shit load more demand coming from fucking everywhere for it.

 

We have the union deal with clients, set the wage, hours worked, provide benefits and pensions. When you find yourself rendering out changes at 2 am it will sound better than a day rate that some how lasts 18 hours.

 

These are all things you can negotiate w/ your clients for yourself. Every client I have knows I charge over and double time before I even agree to work for them. if they're not cool with that then I don't work with them unless I know it's the kind of project I'd willingly wave that extra pay to work on. I've lost work because of that policy but I went freelance because I was sick of being taken advantage of. Retirement investments and benefits are easily folded into your rate. It's easier to let someone else set all this stuff up for you and just follow the rules so I see the allure of a union (or staff job for that matter), but w/ a little business sense and financial accountability a group of competent independent freelancers can accomplish much the same result.

 

As a result of all this I'm almost never @ work past 6pm. On the occasions that I do work that late you better believe I'm perfectly happy when the client comes back w/ notes @ 3am.

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Here's three ways I've approach this, depending on how much I like them ;-)

 

1. Tell them my new rate is x. Deal with it.

 

2. Say my new rate is x, but because they're such a great regular client I'll happily do just this last job at the old rate, and the next one will be full rate.

 

3. Say that because they're such a great regular client I've been holding my rate static for them, but now it's finally time to bring them into line with what i charge everyone else.

 

But remember, your rate is one of your best tools as a freelancer to control what sort of clients you want to keep. If they're great, and you enjoy their work, then why not give them preferential rate - and make sure they know ;-)

 

If they're dicks, or even if they're lovely but the work you're doing isn't, then you can use your rate to get some distance. At the very least, the less desirable clients might stop using you for drudge work and keep you on only for the more challenging stuff.

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