You’ve been charging a client XXX for a certain type of piece.

Or you’ve been billing them XX per hour. Or YY per page, per day, per meter.

And now you need to raise that.

Maybe because you guessed wrong initially. Maybe the work is a flaming hairball from hell.

Maybe the client is more of pain than you figured. Maybe you just plain hate the work.

Maybe you are becoming famous (yay) and this old stuff is getting in the way of higher-paying assignments.

So let’s get out from under.  Here’s what we do. It is best done via email.

Understand of course, that it’s always possible that the client may complain, or fire you if the rate goes up.  Or they may just shrug and move on. That’s what we’ll try for.

The rule is, we do not apologize, justify, rationalize, overexplain, plead, waffle, hand-wring, or grovel.

Nor to we bully, threaten, bitch, complain, or play the prima donna.

We are consummate pros here. We have our dignity. (Besides, none of that stuff works anyway.)

Do it like this:


About the XYZ pieces: I think they are coming out well. We have found a groove here.
Based on the way the assignment is taking shape, we’ll have to handle all future pieces for 875.,all on the same turnaround schedule, of course.

I’ve also been thinking about some formatting changes that will sharpen these nicely. I’ll send them along in a day or so.



On a paperwork note: Just wanted to let you know that the XYZ work will be invoiced at 95/hr starting the first of the month. Naturally, this won’t affect what we have underway right now.

You should have the DEF revisions by Friday as we planned.



Notice that you never leave the number sticking out at the end of a sentence, echoing in the silence. Tuck it in the middle.


I’ve been reviewing our workflow for the monthly ABC updates. Going forward, we’ll have to budget them for XXX each, which is what it takes to deliver the quality levels needed here. I’m especially thinking about the [research/fact-checking/interview time/testing/proofing] involved.

Anyway, we’re ready to launch into the Sept update on schedule. Let me know.


Notice we don’t say the old price. We don’t do a before and after. We don’t do the math for them. We don’t say “it’s only $9/hr different.” That makes us sound like the penny-pinchers. Or as if we’re trying too hard to justify ourselves. Like we’re worried about this. Bad vibe to send out.

And we don’t want long and fat emails. We don’t want the client lingering over this. Let it pass as one quick zing.

Zip off the bandage in one pull and keep smiling.