Easy Tips To Setting Fees For Coaching or Counseling
As a new Christian life coach or counselor, setting your coaching fees might just be the most stressful decision you ever have to make. What should you charge? If you have an existing practice, you’ll want to revisit this topic now that 2018 is just a few weeks away.
There are so many considerations!
As a Christian professional, providing faith-based services, you may feel this makes it even more complex. There are mindset issues. There are faith-related issues. What would God think is fair?
In my view, God wants us to be good stewards or managers of everything He has given us, including our gifts and talents! If we fail to multiply what we’ve been trusted with, certainly we won’t be trusted with more, until we learn to multiply what we have. (See one of my favorite lessons, Parable of Talents.)
Don’t let anyone succeed at imposing “guilt” to pressure you into providing your services for free. Likely they wouldn’t think of doing this to their physician or attorney. Just like these other professionals, God has given you a gift to serve as a life coach or counselor. You deserve to be paid for the value you provide.
Additionally, it’s been proven over and over that those who do not have a vested interest in their results, will generally not take your service seriously enough to make any meaningful changes. The larger their investment, the more seriously your client will take your work together, the greater their effort and the better their results. Win – win.
Speaking of value, get REAL clear on what you can do for your clients. How will their lives change for the better? What pain-points can you relieve?
You’ve also got the competition to consider, your own skill set, what you perceive to be your skills (yes, this may be different from the former for most of us), what your market will pay, your location, and a host of other variables. Working it out can feel like quite a hurdle but you can do this. I promise.
Your Client is Not Buying Your Coaching / Counseling!
Keep this in mind. Your client probably has little or no interest in purchasing coaching and counseling per se. Rather, they have a very strong interest in solving their problem. Your services are their golden ticket to the solution.
Transition from Hourly Fees to Selling Packages
Hourly rates can sound pricey and make you sound like a commodity. Moving from an hourly rate to offering packages that you will base on client results will be far more attractive to your clients. This will help you stand out from the fee-per-session coaches. Clients will better relate to “what’s in it for them” and compare the value of the results you offer (ROI) to the fees you charge.
Your Business Model and Your Competition
This might take a little detective work, since a lot of coaches and service providers don’t publish their rates. But if you pay attention to their websites and social media, ask a few discreet questions, and get on their mailing list, you can figure it out.
There are times I publish rates and other times I don’t. In my case, it’s because coaching is not my “main thing” any longer. I am first an educator and then lastly, if someone needs extra tutoring or mentoring, I may work with them, if it can fit into my schedule. Your situation will likely be different.
Be realistic about who, exactly, your competition is, though. Don’t undervalue or over-sell yourself. In other words, make sure you’re comparing yourself to another provider who shares the same skills, market, and track record
In some specialties, this is easy. There are certifications and educational programs that allow you—by virtue of having achieved them—to charge a certain rate. If you’ve already received your PCCCA certification, then pricing will be much easier for you. If not, take a solid look at what you can legitimately claim as a skill.
Look, too, at your track record. Have you proven yourself by helping former clients (and do you have the testimonials and case studies to show for it)? Have your former clients moved on to bigger and better coaches after working with you? (That’s a good thing!) These are all reasons to maybe consider a higher price range than you might have first thought.
Pro Bono Sessions
Pro bono is an abbreviated Latin expression meaning, for the public good. Pro bono sessions are a beautiful way to give back by sharing your coaching or counseling skills for beneficial life transformation with those who would not otherwise be able to afford you. Always explain that you would like a testimonial (plus their photo, if at all possible) in lieu of payment (when they are happy with your services). This is a great way to gain credibility as a new coach. You can never have too many testimonials.
In the process of setting rates, it’s your market who has the final say. As any first year economics student can tell you, the price of anything lies in the intersection of what the buyer is willing to pay and what the seller is willing to accept.
If your goal is to give newbies a helping hand and lead them down the pathway to success, that unfortunately means you can look forward to lower paying opportunities. That’s not a bad thing—everyone has to begin somewhere—but it does need to be acknowledged. If, on the other hand, you’re target market is more established and economically stable, then a higher fee isn’t just warranted—it’s a must. They will expect a higher price, and will not find value in the lowest-cost provider of anything, whether it’s coffee beans or business coaching. For this second group, lower fees are somewhat a turn-off.
Finally, remember that pricing is never set in stone. It’s flexible. If you find you’re attracting the wrong market (or no market at all) you can always change your rates. Working too hard for not enough return? Raise your rates.It’s your coaching or counseling business. You get to decide.
© Leelo Bush, PhD, All rights reserved.
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