Introducing Price Increases

Handling Price Increases; How, When and Why.

minute read
Being self-employed means you make the decisions about how much you charge and when to increase your fees.

Putting your prices up can be one of the most awkward challenges you face as a business owner. But you can’t bury your head in the sand. Cost of living, inflation, and a desire for business growth means you simply have to increase your prices. Let’s look at how to handle price increases, from calculating costs to navigating conversations.

How often should Business Owners increase their prices?

Being self-employed means you make the decisions, including decisions about how much you charge and when you increase your fees. There are pros and cons to this. Nobody can tell you what to do, but the burden of decision-making lies with you.

There is no hard rule about when you should increase your personal training or class fees. But it makes sense to assess them every year, and put them up annually if necessary.

Should I increase my personal training and/or class fees every year?

We recommend that you audit your profit and loss regularly, and assess your pricing every year. Cost of living, interest rates, and overheads all tend to increase every year, so it makes sense that your prices should too. After all, you shouldn’t make a loss because your business costs more to run.

How much should I put my personal training and/or class prices up?

There are no rules around how much you should increase your fees every year, but it makes sense to increase them at least in line with inflation and cost of living. This rate varies – for example, the annual rate of inflation reached 11.1% in October 2022 in the UK, and was 4.6% a year later. You could also calculate the rate at which your business expenses have increased, and use that as a guide. Most people put their prices up by at least 10%.

Your price increase checklist

  1. When did you last increase your prices? If it’s been more than two years, they are due an increase.
  2. If a client challenges you on the increase, can you justify it? You shouldn’t have to defend yourself, but it’s handy to point out extra value, improved service, or any new skills and specialisms.
  3. Are your new fees still relevant and appropriate for your niche and for the service you offer? Will it still be affordable for your clients and future clients?
  4. If a client chooses not to continue with you because of your price increases, can you afford to lose them? What changes will you have to make to marketing, client numbers, or services to fill the gap?
  5. On the flipside, can your business grow if you always hang on to the lowest-paying clients?
  6. How will your increased prices impact your annual income forecast? Will it be detrimental to your tax payments and resulting take-home (net) pay?

How to communicate your price increases

Give plenty of notice

Clear and honest communication around price increases will make this awkward topic easier to swallow. Give existing clients plenty of notice, and personalise your messages rather than sending a corporate-style email. Make it clear that any remaining sessions in a pack will be honoured at the old price so there’s no confusion about dates.

Explain but don’t justify

Don’t feel you have to explain your sums. Everyone knows cost of living is going up, interest rates are rising, and things simply cost more. But acknowledge the price rise, and remind clients of all the value and benefits they get from working with you.

If you’ve added any new or extra benefits in the past 12 months, or if you plan to add them in the next year, point these out. New equipment, replacement kit, extra sessions or class times, changes to your studio or gym – all of these things are reminders of why you need to charge a little more.

Implement price increases across the board

It can feel really difficult to increase prices for existing clients, but is it fair to charge new clients more just because they’re new? Allowing old customers to stay on their old pricing plan might seem like a goodwill gesture, but it can be a dangerous game. The longer they stay on the old price, the harder it’ll be to bring them onto current pricing.

Price increases for existing clients

Give existing clients plenty of notice about price increases. Take time to talk to them in person, or send a personalised email or voice note. Make sure they understand the extra value and benefits they’ll be getting in the coming year.

The worry about putting prices up can often be worse than the reality. Most clients won’t mind. They appreciate your value and choose to be with you for a reason. And if they do object, or if they really can’t afford it, wish them well and keep the door open to them.

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