Tips on how to increase your rates with add-ons

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March 24, 2021
5 minute read

Instead of seeking yet another client as a way to earn more money, try building add-ons to your existing services. You’ll end up making more money from the same roster of clients, which keeps your admin and sales efforts the same. If you’re wondering how to identify add-on opportunities (and how to price them), leverage these three frameworks that apply to any kind of services-based freelancing.

1 - The De-bundling Framework

Nearly 50% all freelance projects experience scope creep. The De-bundling Framework helps you take a large project (and all scope creep tasks) and turn them into revenue generating add-ons. This is in addition to the original rates you quote clients.

Step 1: Write out every task you do for a project

If you’re a freelance blogger, for example, you don’t simply “write a blog.” You do a kickoff call, research, outline, draft, edit, and incorporate client feedback. In some cases you might also do SEO keyword analysis, conduct interviews, or upload the content into your client’s content management system (CMS).

Step 2: Identify which tasks are essential to your main outcome

Think in terms of a product only (the blog post being complete), not a holistic outcome (the blog post being published and marketed). Continuing the freelance blogger example, the absolute essentials are: outline, write, draft, and edit. Knowing these essentials steps, along with the expenses and time required to complete these steps, are some of the questions that can help you set your base rate.

Step 3: Turn non-essential steps into add-ons

Once you have the essential steps, everything else becomes an add-on. So your “blog rate” would only include outlining, drafting, and editing. If your client wants you to interview someone, conduct additional research, upload the blog into their CMS or something else, that’s an add-on with an additional fee.

This framework has the additional benefit of automatically giving you multiple service offerings for the same product. For example, you can sell an “Essentials” package for clients with lower budgets that are willing to take on some of the work while selling a “Premium” package for a client that needs a lot of other tasks completed.

2 - Work Funnel Framework

Freelancers often focus on a specific work task and ignore the rest of the project (leaving it to the client or other freelancers). The Work Funnel Framework helps you remain focused on your specific skills while also capturing add-on opportunities.

First: Identify the whole project process

Take your work and put it in the context of the project. Where does it fit? What other work is being done? What’s the ideal outcome?

Option 2: Go one step ahead (or behind)

Think about what your client has to do right before you start work or what they do once you deliver your work. These might be tasks you can take on and turn into project add-ons. In freelance development projects, for instance, your client will often have to train their internal team on your code base and how to work with it after you deliver. You could potentially do the teaching, charging an add-on fee.

Option 2: Craft project-specific add-on offerings

Once you’ve identified every step in the project, think about which ones you can offer. If, for example, you’re doing freelance UX design for a new product launch website, could you also do the UX design for social media posts and email announcements? The more you understand about your client’s project outcomes, the more add-ons you can develop that still fit your core skill set.

3 - Holistic Outcome Framework

Treat your projects like a wedge in the door to help your clients. If you start with one small project, use the Holistic Outcome Framework to think about how your skills may apply across the whole organization.

Horizontal specialist: If you have a very specific skill set, consider adding an offering where you become that skill set for the whole company. Instead of just being a freelance art designer for the marketing department, for instance, you could do all the art in the company including internal things for HR, sales decks, and more.

Adjacent tasks: Think about how your skills transfer to other tasks. For example, a blog writer could likely do research reports or podcast transcription. These adjacent tasks can even become standalone offerings if you build up experience and enjoy the work.

Educator: If your client is hiring full-time employees to take over your project work, you can become the niche educator that helps onboard these new employees. Similar to adjacent tasks, teaching could even become a standalone offering or product.

Add-ons will save you time and money

As you think about growing your business, think about add-ons as a way to increase your rates. The three frameworks above can help you map out additional work that may be required on a  project and walk your client through rate increases for these additional services.

Not only will add-ons help you make more money and more closely match your work to a client’s needs, but you will also avoid scope-creep issues because you can point to your rate card when a client asks for more work.