Best Practices for When Your Rates Change

We are often asked how to go about updating rates. There appear to be 3 most common scenarios under which that happens:

1.    You are changing the rates for all or the majority of the services you offer.
2.    You are changing the rates for a small number of services you offer.
3.    You have landed a new client, and are offering them specific rates.

Please review this article for our recommendations on how to handle each of these scenarios in your fp. system.

Scenario 1

Perhaps you change your rates each calendar year, or have decided at some other time in the year that you're ready to start charging more for all you do. If you are adjusting the rates for all or the majority of the services you offer, we recommend you create a new rate card. We do not advise that you manually update your current rate card(s) with your adjusted rates.

Creating a new rate is fairly straightforward. You will need to have access to the Admin area of the system.

From the Admin menu, choose Rate and Staff Management > Rate Categories.

You will land on the Manage Rate Categories page. Required fields are marked in blue:

  1. Type in a name for this new rate and optionally add in any description. This description would only be seen by your internal users - it would not display on Estimates or Invoices.
  2. Enter default costs and mark-up. These will apply to any new Expenses and Services that you create after the creation of this Rate Category. You will still be able to change these values, but these defaults will be in place to save you time.  
  3. By default, new rates you add will be already marked as Active - meaning you can use them for creating new work immediately. Un-check the Active box as needed.
  4. Choose to make this rate your Cost Rate - aka, what it costs you to provide this work. To learn more about cost rates, please review this article: Setting Individual Staff Costs & Creating Cost Rate Card.  You can also choose to make this rate the Default Rate. Meaning that this rate will be selected when you create new work in your system. You will be able to make a different selection as needed.
  5. Choose to make this Rate Category be the one used by default when creating new work in your system.

Click Save when ready.

Once you save your changes, the new Rate Category will be appear in your list. To edit this rate, or any other, click on the name, and the top portion of the screen will populate and become editable.

You will now want to make any required adjustments to this new rate, across the Services and Expenses you offer. For example, you will want to zero out the hourly rate for any Service that is non-billable ie. Vacation.

From the Admin menu choose Rate and Staff Management > Service Rates & Markups.

My new Rate Category appears here, and the contents have been populated by the defaults I set in the previous step. Where the default is different, on items like Errand, I just click into the field and make the change.

Click the Save button at the bottom right of the page when done.

If you use Staff Rates or Role Rates

Should your agency use Staff Rates or Roles Rates rather than Service Rates, there are some additional steps. Please refer to sections of this article to learn more: Adding Rate Categories

Now that the new Rate is set up, you may now wish to retire the previous version. Go again to Admin > Rate and Staff Management > Rate Categories.

  1. Click the Rate Name of the rate you want to retire. This will populate the top portion of the screen.
  2. Un-check the box for "Active."
  3. Click Save.

Making this change will not impact any current or past work in your system that uses this Rate Category. It will only mean that this Rate can no longer be selected when adding new work.

Scenario 2

Scenario 2

Perhaps of all the Services you offer, you are just upping the hourly rate for one of them - let's say Copywriting. And you are upping this Rate as of today, not looking to change it for past work. In this case, you need not create a new Rate Category, and can just change the value for that one Service.

To begin, go to Admin > System Set Up > System Preferences.

Go to the tab called Bill. Make sure that you have the option for Carry Forward ticked on, and not Carry Back. Again, we are only looking to make this rate change on future work, not past work.

Click Submit when ready.

Note that this step will not be pertinent if you bill by Service Rate, but it's not a bad item to double check and change, should you ever choose to use Staff Rates.

Next, we'll want to go and manually adjust the rate for the Copywriting service. From Admin choose Rate and Staff Management > Service Rates and Markups.

Find the row for Copywriting and input changes accordingly.

Click Submit in the bottom right of the page to save these changes.

If you use Staff Rates

Again be mindful that if you use Staff Rates, you would need to make updates to those pages as well, for all or just the applicable team members.

And note that if you have made a mistake in Staff Rates, and in fact do need to carry the correct value both back to old work, and to new work, it can be done. Please refer to this article: Applying a Modified Rate to Open Jobs  

Scenario 3

Scenario 3

So you've landed a great new client, and they plan to send a lot of work your way in the coming months. Only problem, is that this client is asking for adjustments to your usual rates. You've completed negotiations, and have settled on values unique to this client.

Rather than trying to tweak values on each estimate for this client - we'd advise you create a new Rate Category.

Follow the same steps as in Scenario 1, making a new category for this client, and tweaking values on the Service Rates & Markups page as needed ie. Zeroing out hourly values for non-billableServices.

And to ensure this Rate does get used when making work for this client, set it as such on their Company page.

Now when I add a new Estimate for this client, the Rate is pre-selected.

Additional Learning

Additional Learning

We have lots of written resources for you regarding rates in this Library chapter: Rates

And we also welcome your questions or concerns via email:


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