How Much Should I Charge?
I’m often asked about deciding what to charge by both new and experienced massage therapists in private practice; questions such as: What do I charge? Why? How did I decide to charge the rate I do? Do I grandfather people in at old rates?
Regardless of the answers to these questions, the most important thing to understand about rates is that they are largely personal. Only you will know the exact rate that you need to charge to make a successful living in this field, because there may be a lot of variables to consider in this decision that only you are aware of. For example, the cost of living for an individual is a factor that can vary drastically based on location and lifestyle choices. Only you know how much income you need to sustain the life you want to live. Location can affect your cost of living and therefore your rate, but that's just one piece of the equation. Two people living in the same location may end up needing to charge two different rates because of different costs of living!
Other examples of variables to consider include: How many massages can you physically handle doing per week? What do you feel your services/expertise/efforts are worth? What clientele do you want to serve?
The next piece I want you to be aware of is deciding to charge “the going rate”. What I mean by this is when a practitioner takes a quick (informal) survey of what other practitioners charge in their area and 'jump on the bandwagon' thus charging what other practitioners in the area charge. The problem with this method is that you may actually be charging the same rate as everyone else because you might be wanting to avoid the discomfort of having to go against the grain and possibly charge the higher rate. You might decide that, based on your skill level and expertise, that your rate should be higher, but you decide not to 'rock the boat' and keep yourself at a lower rate instead. I want to pause and take a second to say that deciding on your rate is not an easy thing to do for the average individual. It brings up a lot of emotions regarding individual worth to be asked to put a dollar amount on your efforts. I want to say that taking the time to make a thoughtful and educated decision on your rates will make your practice that much more successful.
Nothing is worse than working your hardest and not being able to make ends meet. If your rates are too low, you may be setting yourself up for a life of constantly chasing the carrot on the stick and never getting it. It’s important to honor your worth and express your value to your clients from the beginning by charging a rate that supports your needs. For those of you who have been practicing for a while and haven't raised your rates in a bit, it may be time to go back to the numbers and make sure you are meeting your needs with your current rate. The cost of living has skyrocketed in some parts of the US in the last year and this may mean your rates will need to increase as a reflection of that. There are many ways to approach increasing your rate, but one tip I will give you is to consider grandfathering in old clients at their old rate and leaving the new rate for new clients. This way you can reward your long-time loyal clients with their discounted rate, and still meet your needs with the income generated by new clients who can make their own decisions about committing to your new, increased rate before booking a session.
If you're looking for more business tips and tricks like these, check out our Healthcare Ultrapreneur Online Class (2.0 CEUs) to learn more about how to run a successful private practice!