I hear a similar story all the time: A dietitian starts a private practice on the side, hoping to grow and expand someday, but will settle for a few clients at the beginning. Lets call this person Jennifer, because hey– this was my situation back in 2011! Jennifer doesn’t want rock the boat and feels a little self-conscious about business in general, so she chooses to charge a lower fee when she starts her business.
Fast forward a year or two, things are working out!! Slowly, Jennifer is building her business and reassessing her business strategy. She currently charges $100 for an initial and $75 for a 45 follow-up visit. She has 10 clients/week. But she has about $2000/month of business expenses.
Let’s play with some math examples. On average, if Jennifer is making $3,000 revenue each month in private practice ($750 times 4 weeks in the month) and about $2,000/month in business expenses, her profit is $1000/month. And then she will pay taxes!! This leaves her with maybe $750/month in take home pay….
Meanwhile, if she charges $125 for a follow-up session, that’s $5,000 of revenue each month ($1250 each week times 4 weeks in the month) with the same business expenses, and YES! $3,000 of profit each month. She still pays taxes, but this amount of money feels much more aligned with her goals.
Your pricing directly impacts the financial health of your business.
I have found pricing to be highly nuanced and individual for dietitian business owners. Pricing depends on your location, your market, your ideal client, and your offer. But pricing also depends on your experience, your boundaries, and your ability to declare an amount that is perfect for YOU and your business. Each dietitian will have to assess their own situation to find out what price feels confident for them.
So how do you know when it’s time to raise your prices?
I have 3 tips for you that I feel are warning signs that it’s time to increase your fee.
- When you do the math and look at your business income and expenses from an objective point of view. If you are business for yourself and not making enough money to support yourself, your business will not last long-term. Financial health is only one aspect of business strategy, but it’s a very important part of business success.
- When you know in your gut it’s time for a price increase. If you’re feeling any kind of resentment toward a lower fee, chances are you will not be the best counselor for your clients. Resentment builds, whether it’s conscious or not!
- When the market allows for a price increase. If other dietitians are charging a higher rate in your area and are getting clients, that likely means your ideal client is able to pay a higher rate.
I try to lead by example with my own business strategy. I have raised my rates for clients every year for the past 7 years. While it’s uncomfortable and challenging, I know it’s in the best interest of my business and contributing to my business success.
Feel free to get in touch if you need some encouragement with increasing your prices. I know from experience how hard it can be!