This question has come up a lot in the Facebook Group (hop in!): Should You Post Your Fees on Your Website? It’s a great question and we’re divided on it as a field so I’ll explain the argument for each side and I’ll give my two cents. Be clear, there’s no right or wrong as long as a client is clear on your fee before your first appointment. So choose whichever side feels like the best fit for you and your business and let us know in the comments.
My business coach hosted a retreat that was fairly costly. I knew there would be a pitch for their year long coaching program at the retreat before I arrived. Despite not knowing the cost, I knew I “couldn’t afford it.” However, the retreat absolutely blew my mind and gave me exactly what I needed at that moment in my business. When they pitched the extremely costly coaching program I moved heaven and earth (i.e. I got a couple 0% APR credit cards) to make it happen. I knew that what they provided in a weekend would pale in comparison to a year of working together. It has, and I have increased revenue far beyond what I paid for the program as a result of their guidance. I never ever ever would have joined without the opportunity to see what I would gain by working with them.
Those who discourage posting your fees want you to have the chance to connect with the client and show both your value and the opportunity available to the client if s/he works with you. They want the client to be able to buy into the experience of working with you as you speak with them rather than dismissing you based on a fee posted. There’s the potential to weed out the bargain shoppers as well; folks who are bargain shopping tend to do price comparisons up front and won’t bother with a consultation. It’s a perspective that definitely makes sense and is reflected in many other businesses. It’s ideal for clinicians who are great at communicating their value and have worked on their money stuff.
I happen to be pro-fee posting.
We recently hired a sleep consultant to help us help our 3 year old and I was so grateful she had her fees posted on her site. I had no frame of reference for what a sleep consultant costs. She’d come highly recommended by two people I trusted so I knew no matter what it cost we would probably be hiring her (sleep deprivation is rough stuff). I may have flinched a little bit when she said her fee if I hadn’t looked into it. Not that it’s not worth it, it totally is (and I may actually encourage her to raise her fees based on all that she provides because I just can’t help myself), but coming from the therapy-session-fee frame of reference I wouldn’t have expected it.
Clients who are accustomed to paying their $20 copay, for instance, may think a typical session fee is astronomical. I say let them have that information via your website so they can mull it over before calling.
Here’s the deal: Some people can afford you but won’t invest (whether you’re private pay or they haven’t met their deductible) . Some people can’t afford you (whether you’re private pay or they haven’t met their deductible) and that’s where either your or colleagues sliding scales can be helpful. Some people can afford you and want to pay your fee. Most of our ideal clients want therapy and are willing to invest their time, energy and money (whether it’s a copay/sliding scale or your full fee).
For the first two groups, the folks who can’t afford you or won’t, let’s not waste their time or yours with a phone call. As a former person who couldn’t afford much, it was always embarrassing to have to say out loud, “I can’t afford that.” As someone who now can and will invest in the things I find important, I’m likely to say “I can’t afford that” rather than “I won’t prioritize that” if something doesn’t feel important enough to me just to spare the person’s feelings. So basically, you’ll get the financial-based response either way.
Additionally, my ideal clients don’t need to be convinced or “sold” to work with me. I’m confident in what I provide. I communicate that in my website copy. I appreciate having conversations about fit before scheduling the first appointment (and have some of those conversations in my What to Say When: Scripts and Templates for Counselors in Private Practice eCourse coming out soon), but I never feel like I’m selling myself.
That’s my take. What are your thoughts? Do you post fees or not? Let us know in the comments!
Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.