Whether you are new or have been doing this work for a while, here are a few questions you can ask yourself when setting prices for your doula business or childbirth education classes. In addition to considering the going rates in your local market, your experience, and what you need to earn to cover expenses, I encourage you to set aside some time and write out why you are an expert at what you do.
Not Sure Where to Begin?
If you have trouble answering these questions at first, visit a few websites of people who offer services. They can be birth-related, but it's not necessary. Find websites where, as you look around, you feel you can connect with the website owner. Check out a few About pages. Read their stories. Then, think about what how your clients will feel while and after working with you.
- What are the unique gifts that you have to offer? (Could it be your ability to make people laugh or immediately feel at ease? How about the way you break down complicated concepts? Or the way your clients feel safe and loved?)
- What can you do for clients that others in your area don't offer?
- Why are you passionate about what you are doing? (Do you have a story to share?)
- What problems are you solving for your clients and what results are they experiencing?
- What is your philosophy about birth and how much do you want that to align with your clients' philosophies? (Will you specialize or are you able to help a variety of people?)
The Next Step
Once you understand how potential clients will benefit from your unique skills and gifts, sprinkle this information on your website, your social media bios, and your brochures. When you meet with fellow professionals who could refer people to you, share with them what you have to offer so they can decide if you're a good match for whoever they thinking about sending to you. By expressing what your strengths, mission and philosophy are through your marketing channels, couples will have the opportunity to learn about who you are, may be curious to know more about you, and they will more likely be a good match as a client.
But Wait. I Still Need to Set My Prices
Now that you have a clearer picture of what you have to offer, how does that translate to dollars? If you offer more services than basic doula services or childbirth classes, you could create a few pricing packages -- a base package with your doula services, for example, and higher-priced packages with additional services or products. If you find that your approach is highly specialized in technique, or you spend a lot more time with your clients than other people do, you may want to price your services at a higher rate. If you have been in the business for a while, that experience may also justify a raise in rates. If you are just starting out, you might choose to price your services so you're just meeting your expenses. The questions you answered above are still valuable, because it will help you communicate who you are now.
What it Comes Down To
People will hire you because they connect with you, whether it's through shared experience or shared goals, so give them touchstones that make that connection possible. If you take the time to examine and communicate what you have to offer and who you are as a person and a professional, you will have more confidence and will also attract the people who you are meant to work with you. People will hire you because they understand the value you bring to their experience, and they will be willing to pay more than the going rate in your area because they really want to work with you.
Revisit this exercise periodically, because as you gain experience and knowledge, your answers will change, and you may find your prices need to be adjusted. Have fun working through this!