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I want to re-negotiate an hourly rate with a client. What I do saves them a great deal of money/time.

How can I phrase "this is of great value to you" elegantly? Is this considered cocky? Should I mention that I'm delivering something that is valuable to them and that I "deserve" that kind of money?

Edit: that is prior to signing any contract. We had mentioned the initial rate during a call.

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In the words of Clint Eastwood in The Unforgiven... "Deserve's got nuthin ta do wit' it'"

You can't express to a client that they should pay more because you feel you are worth it. That's just poor negotiating. Emotion has little or nothing to do with financial negotiations, or at least it shouldn't. Pleas for more money because you "think you are worth it" or "your providing great value" or anything along those general, nondescript lines are amateur and hackneyed at best. No client gives a darn about what you "think you deserve". Clients are only interested in what they must pay to get what they need done.

If you want to revisit pricing, revisit pricing.

Hi [client],
After further exploration into the scope and requirements of the project, I'm afraid we may need to revisit pricing. I realize I gave you a general estimate in a previous conversation before complete scope was understood. Now that I have a better grasp on deliverables and requirements, can we please discuss my compensation. I would love to find a figure that is satisfying to us both. At this time, I believe $xxxxx (per hour or whatever) is a more accurate representation of fees which will be incurred. I am completely open to discussion on the matter. Please let me know your thoughts or concerns. Thanks!

From there, you need to have your ducks in a row... hard, realistic, definitive reasons why you need more money. Things like - additional 10 hours to build A, additional license for third-party package B, etc.

No one, and I mean no one, is going to revisit pricing because you feel like you deserve more or because you are giving away too much value for a previously quoted price.

Also be aware, revisiting a previously discussed price to any degree could very well result in the client walking away. Some clients will... you have to be willing to accept that before asking for more money.

  • Thanks Scott, this is very helpful! Btw, I am voting but my votes don't get registered because I don't have sufficient karma yet. – James Kroning Sep 13 '17 at 11:36
  • James, I don't believe that's true. – Scott Sep 13 '17 at 15:36
  • Fair enough @JamesKroning Looks like they just recently implemented that this year. I was unaware. Apologies. – Scott Sep 14 '17 at 6:51
  • @Scott A lot of your reasoning only applies to fixed-price contracts. For example, "additional 10 hours to build A" isn't really relevant when negotiating an hourly rate. In fact, you shouldn't bring it up. "I want to charge you a higher rate per hour because this is going to take more hours than I thought" isn't a good argument. – user45623 Sep 15 '17 at 19:17
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If you are being paid hourly, it does not really matter of how much value it is to your client, but what the opportunity costs are of somebody else doing the work. (if the work is at all feasible)

That is the con of being paid hourly. The pro is, if the client does not make good use of your creations, you are still getting paid.

So you should not use the value as an argument, but your market-worth.

"Due to overall cost increase I also have to adjust my rate by 10%"

"As I am doing more and more of this special stuff almost no other contractor could deliver, I can not longer offer you the standard rate for that."

As per your edit, it is hard to argue any increas in your rate at all. A nail cost´s the same if you use it to hold the Mona-lisa or to build a birdhouse.

Maybe, if you discoverd during the process that you need some other tools/ skills/ carry more responsibility you could argue that the rate you mentioned does not apply. If I where your client, you would come across as very dishonest if you tried such a thing.

  • I think the second one sounds a bit cocky. – James Kroning Sep 12 '17 at 15:18
  • I trust you find the right words according to you clients lingo to rephrase that. – Daniel Sep 12 '17 at 16:42
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You shouldn't have to tell the client that your work is of great value to them. In your discovery process, you should get your client to quantify the benefits of your work. For example, how much revenue will your deliverables bring under conservative scenarios. Or, how much staff time will it save them, and multiply that by the average rate that they pay that staff. If you do this well, they will be very much aware of the value of your work.

Something like "we've already seen that this will generate an extra $50k for you in the first quarter" is much more powerful than telling them your work had "great value"

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