Fees: to raise or not to raise? Take our poll

Here in the UK inflation is still rising and the recent 2.5% increase in Value Added Tax will add to the upwards pressure on prices. Not to mention the mutterings about interest rate rises further down the line.

If you’re self-employed and want to maintain your spending power your options are:

  1. Work smarter — make greater/better use of productivity tools to increase output without increasing your working hours
  2. Work harder — put in more hours to churn out more “product”
  3. Raise your prices

Having kept my rates steady for several (too many) years I’ve opted for a mix of 1 and 3.

I’ve raised my rates, and so far have stuck to my guns. And so far, I haven’t lost any business as a result (touching wood (UK) and ferro (Italy)).

As for option 1 — I’m working on it, but not very smartly so far. If you’ve got any recommendations of great productivity tools for small businesses, translation and otherwise, please share them in the comments!

But back to fees. Have you raised yours? Do you plan to? Take our poll and let us know.

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

Join the conversation


  1. In terms of productivity, I have found that keeping my expenses well organised from the outset is really helpful. Every week, I write down my expenses on a spreadsheet already set up with the Inland Revenue’s tax return categories, and I mark whether each expense is deductible or not. So when it comes to doing my tax return the figures are already there, I just do a final check that everything is in place. It takes me 2 hours max.

  2. I don’t know if it counts as a productivity tool, but I’m considering asking my better half to do some marketing for me when I’m taking a break from the computer. Multi-tasking :).

    1. Sounds like a great idea to me. Hope you have better luck with your BH than I’ve had with mine. David Pogue from the New York Times seems to have that side of things sussed out:

      I’m lucky enough that I don’t spend time on bills, taxes, travel arrangements, kid-activity scheduling, and so on; my sainted wife takes care of all that administrative overhead.


  3. I have heard that you should raise your rates every year to match the inflation. However, it is easier to raise rates to new clients than to existing, good clients.

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