Luscious babe, pricing your doula service is a piece of cake!
Just slap a number on your website and call it a day. Boom. Done!
But STRATEGIC pricing… now that's an art and a science and depends on a multitude of factors that are unique to you and the way your individual doula service is structured and offered. The price you choose is the difference between ease, joy, sustainability, and a long-lasting career… or a one-way ticket (on a Greyhound bus with no air conditioning and a broken toilet) to Burnout City.
I wholeheartedly believe in the power, magic, and beauty of the work you're doing and I want you to be able to do it sustainably for as long as you desire to. My dream is that the healers of this world live in abundance and are able to serve their clients from The Overflow; not from a state of depletion or from a place of trauma (the trauma that comes from poverty and not having your basic needs met).
The long-term effects of not pricing strategically are too long to list here, but some of the most damning are: Financial self-harm in the form of debt, having to quit this career you love and go back to your shitty 9-5 job, strain on your relationship with your significant other (money issues are the #1 reason for divorce) and an inability to show up for your clients in your full power and integrity. It’s hard to give your clients the world-class, five-star, spirit-led level of nurturing they deserve during this special time… when you’re always one paycheck away from homelessness or having your car re-po’d.
But, this isn't a treatise on elevating your wealth consciousness, healing your money mindset, or charging your worth. We'll save that for another blog. Right now, let's just go over a few of the basic considerations in regard to pricing your doula package. Here are...
9 things to consider when (strategically) pricing your doula service:
1. Your overall profit plan
What are your long-term financial goals? When I work with clients 1:1, we first determine their yearly profit goal before pricing individual products. Macroscopic before microscopic, I say. If you want to make six figures net profit, how much would you need to charge, knowing that you can only realistically take X amount of clients per month while still maintaining your quality of life? Determine your yearly income goal first.
2. Your location
A doula living in New York City, Los Angeles, or Japan is going to charge a helluva lot more than a doula living in the boondocks of Mississippi. Based on location alone, your package may need to cost more than a doula who has the exact same level of experience and credentials. Key phrase here: “cost of living”.
3. Your family dynamic
A doula who’s an under-resourced single mom with three kids, two dogs, a car payment, and a mortgage would need to charge more than (insert more luxurious and privileged situation here). Some folks have the privilege of undercharging (or not charging at all). Some do not. Know which one you are and price accordingly.
4. Your target market
What’s the median income of the demographic you wish to serve? Are they making a combined income of multiple six figures? Seven figures? Then definitely take that into consideration when pricing. And if you’re like: “Hell no! My demographic is under-resourced folks living at poverty level” then there are a few options here: 1.) Start a non-profit, NOT a for-profit. Why? You can't create a profit if your target demo doesn't have money. Without profit, you’ll go into debt. Which you're likely already in, if you’re the average American. 2.) Begin serving wealthy folks. Google the top 10 wealthiest zip codes in your area. That’s your new target demo. Create a premium offering and charge them appropriately. Then, you'll have the overflow/abundance required to joyfully provide discounted / pro bono births to under-resourced communities. But, if you only… chronically, consistently undercharge, or don't charge, you’re not running a business but a bankrupting, stressful hobby. Bottom line: You have to make money to keep your doors open. Also, you can both create significant income / be wealthy as fuck while also being a charitable, soulful, kind, generous servant to your community. They aren’t mutually exclusive and you don't have to choose between the two.
5. Your overhead/expenses
What are your fixed and variable costs? How much does it cost for you to offer your service? What’s your “break-even” point?
6. Your brand's desired position in the market ("affordable" vs. "luxury")
How do you want people to perceive you? Are you Adidas or Louboutins? Walmart or Nordstrom? (There’s no right or wrong answer here, and neither one is better than the other; just different). But do know that price alone gives people an impression of how qualified and skilled you are and the kind of results you’ll help them achieve. Pricing too low turns off more people than pricing too high; some may assume (whether correctly or incorrectly) that you aren’t able to provide a high quality of service. It’s not uncommon for doulas to double their price and THEN finally start attracting clients.
7. Your level of experience and credentials
Let’s talk about Doula X and Doula Z. They both graduated from their doula training at the same time, from the same organization, and have the exact same level of experience. But, Doula X has a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, is an LMT and HypnoBirthing Instructor. Guess who should charge more.
8. Your U.S.P.
Doula X has had 3 VBAC’s and her ideal client is a VBAC client. Doula X has a strong Unique Selling Proposition (a specialty!) and can provide more value to that specific demographic. Take-away: The more unique and valuable you are, the more specific the result is, the more you can charge. Generic, copycat, one-size-fits-all products (regardless of what industry you’re in) don’t command premium prices.
9. Your product/package
What does your unique package include? It is more robust, valuable, and unique than what others offer? How many hours do you spend with your client? Have you priced out the value of each individual feature? List out the value of each individual feature and do the math.
Frequently Asked Question: So Melynda, are you telling me I should charge more?
Answer: I would never venture to tell another person what they should or should not do. We're very pro choice over here! Just like I'd never tell anyone what to do with their own sacred, sovereign body, I wouldn't tell anyone what to do with their sacred, sovereign business.
But if you desire it, I’d be happy to give you some evidence-based information so you know your full range of options and alternatives when it comes to pricing. You’ll be able to confidently make your own assessment and do what truly feels aligned to you, knowing I’ll meet you where you are and support your decision wholeheartedly.
I would also encourage you to use the same B.R.A.I.N.S. tool you use with your clients to assess the benefits and risks of not pricing strategically… so you can enter the world of entrepreneurship with eyes wide open. A few questions you could ask:
What are the benefits of pricing strategically (to you, your family, your clients, and community)?
What are the risjs of pricing strategically (to you, your family, your clients, and community)?
What are the alternatives (then weigh the benefits and risks of each alternative)?
What does your intuition say? Etc.
My goal is for you to simply price strategically and confidently. There’s no one-size-fits-all here. My client in NYC (who’s been a doula for 15 years) and whose target demo is families making 7 figures combined income, charges significantly more than my client living in Jacksonville Florida who’s been a doula for a year. They both have wildly different prices, but are each happy with their price and have profitable businesses. They've done the Magical Money Math and they know their business numbers. They’ve both priced strategically and confidently, yet their fees are miles apart.
A few notes before I go:
It doesn't matter how many clients you have if your pricing is wrong; you can be fully booked + busy AF and still create zero profit / go into debt. Make sure you’re running an evidence-based business by pricing strategically... knowing that this decision will profoundly affect every facet of your life (professionally and personally).
Hope you found this info useful! Let me know if you have any questions. I’m always here and happy to help.
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