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.
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.