How do you decide what to charge for your services? If you participate in insurance networks, you don't have much choice for clients in these networks - although there may be some wiggle room. (TPI members can listen to Dr. Russ Holstein discussing this.)
Even if your practice is mainly insurance-based, inevitably you'll see clients who are uninsured or who prefer not to use insurance; or you may provide services that are not covered by insurance.
Dr. Steve Walfish has some tips for determining what to charge. In our recent BlogTalkRadio interview (listen below) he addressed the following:
Factors to consider when setting your fees:
- The prevailing fees and general level of affluence in your area
- If you provide unique or specialized services, have specialize credentials, or many years of experience
- If the fees are uniform in the practice you have joined and already set
- Your decision as to whether to become a Preferred Provider for insurance companies
- Your values and comfort with money
How to survey prevailing rates in your area
- Make random telephone inquiries to a variety of providers
- Ask colleagues informally over lunch or at professional meetings
- Psychotherapy Finances national survey
Small increases can make a big difference...
Suppose you see only 20 clients per week. Raising your fee by only $5 can result in an extra $4800 per year (based on 48 weeks.) Raising your fee by $15 translates into $14,600 over a year!
There's no set formula, according to Dr.Walfish. "It's an educated guess," he explains, based on research and testing the market. In our upcoming TPI Practice 101: Boot Camp he'll present an innovative and empirical way to do this.