In any profession, setting your rates can be a challenge. There are so many factors involved, including our views of our own worth, our competitors’ rates, the economy, our overhead. It’s a lot to consider and it can be overwhelming.
First Thing First
We all have issues around money. If you’re in business, it’s time to deal with that so it doesn’t hamper your success. In the fall I read “You Are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero to start addressing my own issues around money. I highly recommend it; she’s funny and direct and helped me see how I was getting in my own way. Scarcity thinking creates more scarcity while focusing on abundance and gratitude bring more abundance into your life.
A Question of Value
I invited Amanda Lundstedt, LMT of Active Edge Orthopedic & Sports Massage in Urbandale, Iowa to speak to my business & marketing class about money issues as a massage therapist. Amanda has only been in business for 4 years but for 3 of those years she’s been named best local massage therapist by City View Magazine. Amanda knows how to run a successful business as a health & wellness practitioner.
I first talked about rate setting with Amanda when I was opening my own yoga & massage business. Both of us come from impoverished backgrounds and it impacted how we were setting our rates when we started out. While the rates we set are a reflection of the services we offer, Amanda brought home an even more powerful point to my students when she said,
‘Clients are willing to pay your rate if they value themselves that much. It’s not really about whether they value you that much.’
This is where training in your field comes in handy: educate clients on the value of your services. When you help them understand how valuable your services are to their well-being, they will value themselves enough to pay for your services.
Now, let’s get practical. One of the questions Amanda answered for my students is what factors to consider when setting your rates. Yes, you will consider the rates of other practitioners near your office, but what else impacts your rates? Below are some considerations:
- Your specialty & expertise –When you offer a specialized service, as many practitioners do, your services are worth more. At first you might have basic certification, but as time passes you’ll find yourself drawn to certain areas and gain more education and experience in those areas. This becomes your area of expertise and increases your value as a practitioner, which means your rates can be higher as well. An example might be learning a specialized technique to work with athletes, people recovering from injuries, or expectant mothers.
- Previous experience – Be sure to value all that you bring to the table because you will incorporate it into your offerings. For example, if you have a long history as a hospice volunteer and are now providing hospice massage, you have greater experience than someone who is newly trained in that area, and your rates can reflect that.
- Your location – You’ll charge more if you’re in a larger metropolitan area than a rural area. More than likely, you’ll be paying higher rent, so you may need to charge more to cover your overhead.
Last but Not Least
A final thought is to increase your rates every year. We all see gas and milk prices going up, why should your services be any different? More than likely some of your expenses will go up, such as your rent or supplies, and you will be increasing your experience and expertise over time. Your rates should reflect that.
What are your rate-setting questions or tips?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.