If you’re anything like me, then the answer is probably “too long ago” or “I can’t remember.'”
However, if the title of this post grabbed your attention, then it’s likely time that you did raise your rates! And it’s also time that I did – I’m probably writing this post to convince myself to do this very thing!
Why Don’t We Raise Our Rates?
In my circle of acupuncture friends, I can honestly count on one hand how many times we have raised our rates over the last 14 years. In fact I would only need two fingers. Putting that down in writing really makes it obvious that it just doesn’t make sense.
Many of us wait or seven years to raise our rates and that usually means that, when we do eventually put up or fees, it probably isn’t enough to match inflation over those years. So why are most of us reluctant to to raise our treatment rates?
For most of us I think the number one reason is that it makes us feel uncomfortable.
- We worry that our clients will think we’re being greedy and over-charging.
- We worry that we might lose some of our clients.
- We might feel uncomfortable about telling our clients about the change.
- And maybe we even doubt our own value!
Get comfortable with raising your rates
We at least need to keep up with inflation. Our running costs generally go up each year but I don’t know of any therapist that raises their rates every year.
Over the last couple of years many of us have incurred extra costs – masks, cleaning products, gaps between appointments equals fewer treatments, increased costs of consumables, increased energy bills to name but a few.
And to be honest, I don’t think any of our clients will be surprised that our rates need to increase – everything else seems to be!
You can give plenty of notice about the upcoming change – put a sign up in your treatment room or reception area or both. “From xth of May our new rates will be £$xyz” If you have an email list, send it out on an email, put a post on your Facebook page.
You will probably find that you’ll meet very little resistance. You can, if you want, ask people to let you know if this will cause them difficulties and keep the odd client on the old rate. But even as I’m typing that it’s giving me the feeling that I shouldn’t do that, I should stick to my guns! Do whatever you feel comfortable with I guess (but not what you feel obliged to do.)
Maybe you feel that the local economy sets your rates to some extent. If you were the cheapest acupuncturist/therapist you might think you would get more clients (unlikely, but’s that’s a whole other topic!) If you were the most expensive would you get fewer clients; doubtful. Charge what you realistically think you are worth.
Another Benefit of Raising Your Rates
To state it simply, if you charge more then you need fewer clients than you currently have to bring in the same money.
Maybe gaining some valuable time is more important to you at the moment than financial gain:
- maybe you could actually have a lunch break that didn’t include replying to all your emails
- you could walk the dogs in daylight hours
- you could have some me time – read, exercise, watch an episode of your guilty-secret-trashy-soap (mine is Neighbours!)
- finish early one evening
So, if you’re still reading, you’ve answered the question in the title of this post! The question now is, when are you going to do it? Why not print out the sign you’d use to notify your clients of the change and then imagine putting it on display as a preliminary step.
Thankyou for taking the time to read this post, I hope you take away some ideas for your business.
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