You have upgraded your iMac, purchased new tools for your business increasing your monthly bills, and you even decided to rent an office space to work more efficiently. Now, your costs are higher than ever. What do you do?
You are not going to have any other choice but to increase your rates as a freelancer. Designers tend to stress out about this because they do not know by how much they should increase and they also fear that this may cause a conflict with any existing clients who have grown to your hourly rate.
You have to first understand that this is a normal process for any freelancer. If people are okay with Netflix continuing to hike up prices because of their extensions of original series and perks, why should they be upset with you doing the same? People should be paid based on their value in the market, and you needing to upgrade your programs, tools, and office is indeed making you a much faster and productive designer, thus making you more valuable.
Assuming that you are aware of your finances in terms of your freelance business, you should carefully adjust your hourly rates accordingly. Whether you are increasing it by just $10 or $50, make sure you are doing it to cover your new set of costs and nothing more unless you are absolutely confident in yourself to add those extra dollars.
As for your repeating clients, the most important thing to do is let them know. Educate them, and tell them that you are increasing your rates to better serve them and others. You also do not want to surprise them with large numbers on that invoice. Importantly, make sure you tell them way in advance or even give them a discount to allow them to slowly transition into your new system.