As a practitioner, providing a healthcare service, we homeopaths, like any other professional of a service discipline, have to set a price for our treatments. This sounds simple, but is it really? I would claim that this is a bit of a tricky issue, as there are many questions involved in choosing an appropriate price.
We seek to have a busy practice that will allow us to make a comfortable living! What do we need for this? Clients! How many, and how much must we earn from them?
Chances are that if we are too expensive, clients will stay away, and if we are too cheap, they will not even consider us as their therapists. So, what is too much, what is too little? How do we set our price? What are we worth?
We practitioners are facing a bit of a dilemma when it comes to our pricing schemes. We want to generate a clientele and believe our prices have to be low, to attract more people. Yet, this may suggest to potential clients that we are incompetent, because if we were competent we’d have more than enough clients and would definitely charge a higher price; our clients would surely be prepared to pay more in order to benefit from being treated by us.
So then, if we set a high price, what might clients make of that? Clients may argue that we are too expensive. But how can they judge, without having experienced our services? How can we estimate what a client is prepared to pay for our services?
It all comes down to evaluating what we are worth! So, how do we determine our value? Let’s break this down:
• We have to take a closer look at what we are offering and what we are, in the end, delivering. We have acquired a skill; have studied for many years to become experts in our field of practice. As such we are offering a therapeutic intervention within which we seek to alleviate patients from their presenting ailments. We will therefore provide an environment in which we analyse a patients’ state of health, and seek to determine a course of treatment.
Our studies were costly.The time we spend with our patient in the therapeutic space is quite extensive, compared to that of, for example, conv.med. practitioners, and despite the remedy being rather inexpensive, compared to conventional drugs, we usually provide this at no cost to the patient.
• In order to set up in practice we have expenses. We need to rent consultation space in order to open our own clinic. This may include the need of furniture, perhaps a client management program, case-taking tools, but also advertising material, informative leaflets etc..
• ‘External’ factors also influence the finding of a pricing scheme. Are we the only representative of our discipline on an ‘isolated island’? That would make us unique; hence that location is probably a raising factor of our value. But this is closely coupled to whether or not there is a demand for our services in that region or locality, and of course we must consider potential clients’ affordability of the services that we provide. Are clients able to pay for our service, what is the local income structure in the area?
• We must take into consideration what we must earn, in order to make a living. This is probably the most essential question! What must we have in order to survive? This determines how much effort we must make in order to acquire clients. Our standard of living, how much of it are we prepared to give up, or how much of it do we seek to gain, these aspects also affect what fees we can or must charge our patients.
If we are living in a locality that already has practitioners of your discipline established in practice, their fees and charges may be an indicator of a potential price range that we can use for our services. Yet, if we are the sole practitioner of our discipline on said island, this indicator is absent and we must consider the above mentioned aspects in calculating our ‘worth’. The mentioned aspects though, do not easily translate into monetary figures, and there are many variables remaining, making this calculation quite difficult. Our overall expenses (electricity, water, heating, taxes, insurances etc. of home, clinic, car…), living costs, the financial gain we seek to make, are all figures that need to flow into this calculation… That´s one for the mathematicians! For the rest of us, probably grateful for not living on an ‘isolated’ island, it’s a big thank you for fellow colleagues! Most of us can and probably do resort to taking another practitioners price margins as guidance values. Phew!
In the long run though, what will determine the number of clients we will have, and ultimately our income, is decided by the name that we make of ourselves. At the start, this question is difficult to incorporate as we have not yet been able to build a reputation, in the later course though, this does influence what we are worth to our paying clients. The quality of services we deliver, the competence we exude, and ultimately the success we have in providing a beneficial treatment to our clients, determine what we can charge for a consultation. The better we get, the greater the word of mouth, the lesser the marketing efforts we have to make, and the higher the income we are able to charge for our services.
So, what is your worth? Sometimes, for a client successfully relieved from a dilapidating state of health, the worth of his practitioner is beyond what money can pay; and in other times, the successfully treated patients gratitude and happiness over his recovery from illness, is of a value greater than what money can buy.
What ever our charge, we are worth the effort that we make, and if we make an effort, patients will treasure what we do.