I made a mistake last year by underpricing an illustration work. What should I do now that the client is back with new requests?
The client has contacted me to ask for new work, without mentioning a price.
I need a polite way to tell him that I could do the job, but he should expect the price to be at least three times what he paid last time.
(I’m not trying to increase my prices in general. It was just a mistake to agree on such a low budget last time. It was done partly because I support the client’s activity, partly because that kind of visibility was quite valuable for me at the time.)
In principle, I could just refuse the job. On the other hand, it makes sense for the client to have the new work done by me in order to keep a consistent style.
How can I convey a concept like this:
I’m afraid I can’t take the commission at the same conditions as last year. The price you paid last year doesn’t reflect neither the market standards nor my fees. I can reconsider it if you’re willing to pay at least three time as much.
with the right balance between dignity and politeness?
I think your reply is fine. I would perhaps alter it slightly, you don’t need to rationalize prices and doing so can often convey a weakness in negotiation:
I would really enjoy completing some additional work for you. Unfortunately, I can’t take the commission at the same conditions as last year. My rates have increased. I can consider new work if you’re willing to revisit pricing.
This 1) lets the client know you want to do the work, 2) removes the emotion from the statement, and 3) tests the waters to see if they are even willing to renegotiate pricing.
It’s a more open, less “defensive” response in my opinion.