All posts in Freelance

Increasing your freelance rate without losing clients

A common question I receive from designers is how do I increase my freelance rates without losing clients? This is an ongoing problem, but not as hard to solve as you might think.

Customer service first

The key to keeping clients is to provide top notch customer service. An unfortunate generalization about designers is that we are unreliable. The more unfortunate part is that this is true in a number of cases. Therefore, to set yourself apart, follow through on your promises and deadlines and you will become indispensable to your clients. In fact, the quality of your work is secondary to the level of service you provide. Here’s a few tips on providing excellent customer service:

  • Always deliver on time.
  • Don’t promise unrealistic timelines, under promise and over deliver.
  • Respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner.
  • Be honest, don’t mark up services like printing without telling your client.
  • If a job is outside your area of expertise, don’t take it on. Refer your client to someone who can better help them.
  • Care about your client and their business, not just your pay check.

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Customer service is more important than design skills

If you’re thinking about starting a career in freelance design, or are freelancing already, you need to keep one key thing in mind… customer service is more important than design skills. Some of you might be scratching your heads after hearing that comment. I thought we were designers? Yes we are, but freelancers are also the customer service department, accounting, human resources, and the janitor all rolled into one.

Do I need design skills?

Yes! You definitely do. Your portfolio is the bait to lure in new clients. At a minimum, you should always maintain an up to date online portfolio, Twitter account, and Facebook page. It also doesn’t hurt to get involved with websites like Dribbble and Forrst.

Customer service keeps clients

Once you’ve smoothed talked (using your portfolio of course) a client into hiring you, you’re goal should be to make them a repeat customer. The exception to the rule here is the crazy or over demanding client. When you run into one of those, finish the job, act professional, and move on. Anyhow back to building the customer relationship; the first job is the most important. First impressions are critical. How you perform from a service (and design) stand point will determine if the customer will be back for more.
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