Alex, this is always hard for me. I have clients who have been with me over 25 years, so I have had to raise their fees occasionally. I only do so every few years, so those who have been with me the longest pay the least. They know that and appreciate it; I do charge way more for a new client. (in fact 2 of my clients have given ME raises over the years without my having to ask). When I am ready to raise prices I tell them a month in advance. I just come out and say “in June I will be raising my fees $5 more per session” (about what I usually raise). I do not give an explanation, just state it in a matter of fact manner. No one has ever refused.
I travel to my clients, and I have also raised fees when clients moved making my travel time longer, and again, no one has ever objected.
As long as you do it in a professional manner (and do not raise it too much or too often), most people understand that our costs rise as do theirs.
If I were the first one to answer this question, you would be reading pretty much the same thing that Janet wrote above. There’s nothing more awkward than asking people (who you’ve become friendly with over time) for more money. But you have to do it to survive. I get it – it’s a business – it shouldn’t be a problem. But it’s a business like few others. It would be much easier to raise prices if I were their plumber or landscaper who didn’t have that close contact with them & just invoiced them. But I wised up quick & with new clients, I tell them “their rate is locked in for 1 year” & will be given 60 days notice of any price increase.” That way, they’re expecting it somewhere down the line. A 4-5% increase every year (or two) is not out of line.
Like everyone is mentioning most clients are okay with it, I’ve never had a client fight me on it. Just state that you are raising your fee for everyone. Especially if you charge higher for newer clients. What I stated last time I raised my rates was I wanted to close the gap between my prices for current and new clients. I did mine the same week, and clients who were with me for over 2+years had no problem with it 🙂 (I regretted not doing it sooner)
If you’re a good trainer they will know that you’re worth it. If you have to explain yourself here’s what I tell people I don’t charge $50 per hour, what you get for $50 for that hour is my knowledge, years of experience and my 4 + years worth of school and unlimited access to me with any questions you have even when you’re not training etc.
Also if it’s a friend and you have to explain to them, ask them have they ever gotten a raise at their job? The answer will be yes they have, well let them know you have been charging the same rates for years etc and ask them wouldn’t they think that you deserve a raise as well? You’ve grown and kept taking classes to become better and better. (You’re a personal trainer/leader/teacher and another very important thing a salesman) And $5 extra per hour is a good start, I’d not recommend any higher than that unless you were really undercharging
I always offer the chance to buy 10 to 20 sessions at their current rate with the stipulation that the advance purchase is only good for the amount of time that they would have used them up under normal conditions. Any unused prepaid sessions are credited to their account after the time limit and they purchase at the new rate from then on.
But, my really long time clients are always one rate hike behind all new clients. So if my new rate was $75 and the last pre-rate increase was $72, the long term clients go up to the $72. And they stay there until the next hike when they would go up to $75.