Fun with Fees
A guide to setting your fee in private practice
Chapter One: The Feelings
“How do I set my fee?!”
Dealing with money is one of the scariest aspects of owning a business for 99.9% of therapists in private practice. But it doesn’t have to be!
By the end of this worksheet, you will know exactly what to charge each patient.
Money is one of the biggest containers for all of our projections about our self worth. When it comes to setting our fee, we make it about everything – our value, our education, the design of our office, our student debt, our anxiety about keeping clients – everything except what it’s actually about.
Which is: The income we earn for providing a service.
Simple as that.
Feel free to suffer up and down about whether you’re good enough to be doing this work. That’s going to take some time to process. Maybe a long time. But work that out in your own therapy – Do not work it out with your patients.
I repeat: Your fee is not the place to work through your money insecurities.
This is not good for you and it is certainly not fair to your clients.
Now that we’ve acknowledged that your money beliefs are complicated, we can set them aside and agree together that you will continue to struggle with them in your own personal therapy – not with your clients.
Voila! Setting your fee now becomes a simple task.
In this section, take stock of your current monthly budget. This includes personal and professional items.
Be real. No shame. Lay it all out. You’ll be glad you did!
Step One: Current Budget
I’ve provided some common items to jog your memory, but you most certainly will have items of your own to add.
Have at it!
|Item||Avg. Monthly Cost|
Step Two: Dream Budget
In this section, have fun! Fill in all of the things that you would love to have in the life you dream about when no one else is watching.
When I teach this section to clinicians, they often dream very (very) small. No matter how much I encourage them to dream big, therapists often hands shaking – delicately scribble in things like “yoga class” or “a new office stapler.”
Come on! Dream! DREAM!
Tesla’s, Italian vacations, Down payments on a home, massages galore from Hans, oysters, new shoes, monthly donations to your favorite charity (I had to add that in for you guilt ridden motherfuckers), Organic food, Fine linens from sustainably raised sheep.
Let your imagination have free reign.
|Item||Avg. Monthly Cost|
Chapter Two: Setting Your Fee
Now we’re going to pull it all together to figure out what your fee actually needs to be in order to have the lifestyle that will allow you to show up to work refreshed, thoughtful , skilled clinician who is ready and eager to do the work each day.
Combine Total (A) with Total (B):
Total Combined Monthly Budget:
Multiply your Total Combined Monthly Budget by 12:
Yearly Income before Taxes (D):
Now we factor in a 30% tax rate, though, in truth
you will have PLENTY of deductions that will make this
number much lower.
To get your yearly gross (before tax) income, divide your Yearly Income (D) by 0.7
Yearly Gross Income (E):
Determine your dream schedule. In your dream world,
how many hours would you like to work per week? How
many weeks per year?
Multiply Columns F & G.
Total Billable Hours (H):
To determine your fee, Divide your total Yearly
Income (E), by your Total Billable Hours (H) and write
that number below.
And there you have it! You now know exactly how many patients to see and how much to charge them in order to have the life of your dreams!
* Check out the companion video to see me walking through each step with you. I’ll also talk about what you can do if you’re already seeing clients at a sliding scale and you want to factor in your new full fee in order to account for their lower fee.
Chapter Three: Get a Buddy!
In order to be successful with setting your fee and then actually charging that fee, you must have a community to support you. No one can do this alone.
Though it may feel scary (or, dare I say “uncouth”!), I encourage you to set up a coffee date with a friend. Yes, right now. And go over this worksheet with them. Commit to a date when you will take action on what you’ve learned and follow up with your buddy to tell them aaaAAAaall about it.
Once you do - send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell ME all about it, too!
I can’t wait to hear about your marvelous success.
Got questions? Hit me up.