What should you be charging for your service?

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A quick guide on how best to value your time, and help your business flourish.

In a survey conducted by Ring MD, it was discovered that 60% of therapists felt that growing and running their businesses as their least favourite part of their jobs. 

Part of building your business is dependent on deciding on the right prices for your services, so that your practice has the funds to support you through the parts of the job that do like.

When first planning your hourly rates, you may find yourself concerned with the prospect of charging too much and scaring off clients, or charging too little and devaluing your time and your services.

In this article, we will be giving you some insight on how best to price your practice to achieve balance between the two, all while helping your business flourish. 

1. Consider expenses.

When considering your hourly rate or session prices, you must first take into account your business expenses and how much it costs to run your practice per month, you should make a list of everything you can think of, such as: 

  • Rent – If you are renting a room or office space, this will likely be your most significant expense, and prices for this can be more or less expensive depending on your location. 
  • Bills and utilities – electricity, WiFi, water bills. 
  • Accounting and banking costs. 
  • Advertising – business cards, online ads, running a website. 
  • Continuous Professional Development costs – covering attendance costs to workshops, conferences and seminars, include travel costs, too. 
  • Workplace insurance.

You must also think about your own personal lifestyle costs, and what amount of money a month you need to keep yourself living comfortably. Make a list of expenses such as: 

  • Monthly rent/mortgages. 
  • Bills and utilities at home. 
  • Groceries.
  • Lifestyle expenses.
  • Savings.

Once you have these lists, you should be able to see clearly how much money you need to be making a month in order to keep your business afloat, and begin your pricing journey. 

2. Consider workload 

Now that you understand the cost of your practice, think about how many hours you are able or willing to work to cover these costs. The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapists (UKCP) suggests that 20 hours per week can be considered full-time for therapists, but the number of clients you take on varies greatly from practice to practice and is solely up to you. 

Take note of how many clients you will be seeing, and from there work out how many sessions you will be taking on each month. You will be using this number of sessions in the next step alongside your monthly expenses to measure out how much you should be charging per session. 

3. Calculate the formula

Now that you have gathered your list of expenses and worked out how many clients you will be seeing each month, it’s time to put them together to create a baseline of what you should be charging per session. The way to do this is to add together your business and personal expenses, and then divide that number by the number of sessions you will be taking over the month. 

Business Expenses  + Personal Expenses ÷ Number of Sessions = Baseline Session Cost

Of course you may find that month-to-month these numbers change, so you may need to adjust your numbers to allow for savings and shortfalls in sessions over the month. We always recommend referring to a professional accountant when making significant financial decisions when it comes to your practice. 

4. Adjusting Your Costs

Now that you have found a rough baseline of what you need to charge to keep your business working, you can start thinking about other factors that affect pricing, such as your location, training and experience. 

5. Competitive Pricing

It’s important in any business to price competitively and take into account the other businesses that are in your area so that you aren’t pricing yourself out of the market, or missing out on an opportunity to earn additional income. 

Across the UK, prices for therapy varies greatly, but according to myonlinetherapy.com, therapy is usually priced between £120 – £180 per session, and so you should do your own research to see what other therapists are charging in your area and at your skill level. See what people are willing to pay for your time, and what people are already paying. 

Packages

Many therapists offer bundles as a means to help clients who may not be able to afford multiple sessions at their fixed price by having them pay in bulk for multiple sessions up front. Figure out if this is something you would like to do, or can afford to do!

Collecting money up front for multiple sessions has its benefits and may be worth a little bit of a discount on some of the sessions you provide, but if this is not something you are comfortable with 

you are under no obligation to offer any discounts or packages to your clients. 

Sliding Scale

As therapists you may see many clients who are simply not able to afford the treatment that they need. 

When this happens, you are again under no obligation to offer discounts for therapy, but if you would like to, the sliding scale is a method that is commonly used in fee arrangement and could be beneficial to both you and your would-be clients. 

With the sliding scale system, a therapist would consider both their necessary costs for a therapy session and the income that the client has available to them so that a medium, fixed price for the sessions could be found. 

Making sure that your practice is priced correctly is not just important to your business and to your clients, but it is also important to your self-esteem. 

You must not undervalue your time! Don’t forget that paying is something your client expects to do.

If you have looked at this article and followed the steps above and reached a number that you are not happy with you are more than welcome to charge whatever amount of money you believe your time is worth. 

For more pointers and advice on running your business, join Private Practice Hub today for downloads, workshops and advice for practitioners. 

Article written by Maisie Violet Wicks, BA Hons, columnist for Private Practice Hub. Please contact newsdesk@privatepracticehub.co.uk for any inquiries, comments or corrections. 

References

My Online Therapy. 2021. How Much Does it Cost to See a Psychologist in the UK?. [online] Available at: <https://myonlinetherapy.com/cost-to-see-a-psychologist/> [Accessed 18 June 2021].

RingMD. 2021. How to Price Your Therapy & Counseling Sessions: 6 Steps. [online] Available at: <https://www.ring.md/blog/how-to-price-your-therapy-counselling-services-6-steps-to-pricing/> [Accessed 18 June 2021].

Kincel, PhD, A., 2021. How to calculate counselling fees? A guide for counsellors.. [online] Kensington Counselling Rooms. Available at: <https://www.kensingtoncounselling.co.uk/treatments/counselling-fees/> [Accessed 18 June 2021].

Rivera Walter PhD, LMFT, I., 2021. How To Price Your Therapy Services To Achieve Your Number One Business Goal — Family Therapy Basics. [online] Family Therapy Basics. Available at: <https://familytherapybasics.com/blog/2016/9/5/how-to-price-your-therapy-services-to-achieve-your-1-business-goal> [Accessed 18 June 2021].Zur, PhD, O., 2021. Fees in Therapy and Counseling: Summary and Guidelines, by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.. [online] Zur Institute. Available at: <https://www.zurinstitute.com/fee-guidelines/> [Accessed 18 June 2021].