How do I charge what I’m worth?
How do I set competitive rates for my services?
How can I make my rates affordable, but also make enough money to live?
The questions are real!!!
But good news…
There’s real answers.
Here’s a three step process to get you on your way to setting competitive rates that generate enough cash to live on without feeling like you’re selling yourself short to get a client.
KNOW WHAT PEOPLE ARE CHARGING
In order to have competitive rates you need to know what others in your industry, niche, and location are charging. You can google private practices in your area, inquire during your networking meetings while building your referral list, and scour online directories!
Go the extra mile by being clear on who your audience is so you can consider their projected budget and research the rates of successful therapists who are serving similar individuals.
These are the three questions you want to answer in your search…
- What are people charging for similar services that you provide?
- What are people charging in your area?
- What are people charging who serve the same demographic?
INCLUDE THE HOURS YOU’RE DOING ADMIN WORK
All too often therapists get caught up in the fees they’re charging for the services they’re providing.
Obviously, that’s the specific hour you’re getting paid for, but in order to have a financially viable practice you need to calculate the admin hours (client notes, following up with clients, getting new clients, networking, talking insurance companies…) that make the one counseling hour possible.
DO THE MATH
When I was a girl my mom taught me this simple trick for scheduling…
Write down everything you want to do in a day. Include eating, cleaning up from meals, getting ready for bed…all the mundane things as well as the scheduled things.
Next to each, write down how much time it would take to complete each task.
Add up all the time.
Assuming you’re up at 6am and in bed around 10pm, you have about 16 hours of time to do things other than sleep. Right?!
If you have more than 16 hours of tasks to do in the day, something (or several somethings) need to go because it’s physically impossible.
That’s what I’m gonna have you do for your practice:
Write down all the tasks you need to do to run your practice excluding session time. This includes admin, phone calls with insurance company, writing client notes, following up on appointments, and networking…
Next to each task write down how much time each takes.
Now you have a list of all your admin tasks and about how much time that will take each day (some therapists set aside one day a week for admin, you can read about it here).
- How much time do you have left for sessions?
- How much do you need to make to live on?
- Based on the hours you have available for sessions how much would you need to charge each session hour to make that income?
Chances are, you’re an empathetic person. After all, you are a therapist or you most likely wouldn’t be reading this post. So let me give you an inside question, it’s more of an integrity gut-check question, but it’s guided me right more times than I can count:
- If I get the client at this rate will I feel resentment toward them because I feel like they’re not paying me enough?
- If I don’t get the client at this rate will I beat myself up for not lowering my prices?
Turns out, even with all the fancy questions, scheduling, and expert advice, there is a sweet spot for rates that no one can find but YOU. And it’s that space between, “regretting that you’re serving them at such a low rate” and “regretting that they didn’t sign because you didn’t lower your rate”.
Find it and own it!
If you want a deep dive into this topic you’ll find lots of great thoughts in this post from Practice of the Practice.
And as always, we’re here to help you make your practice simple. If you have a question or are tired of paying a million different invoices each month hit us up! We’ve got all the resources you need to run your online HIPAA compliant practice in ONE MONTHLY PAYMENT (includes unlimited tech support)!!!