Clinic Fees and Pricing
What should I charge?
Most ND rates are very reasonable especially compared to other "service" professions such as lawyers and plumbers! Set your own rates and feel comfortable about them. If you are providing exceptional advice and service to your patients they won't begrudge paying you a fair price.
A few hints about pricing:
- Don't be afraid to charge for your services. You've invested a lot in your knowledge and expertise. You deserve a fair return.
- Post your rates clearly in your reception area. Nobody likes surprises.
- Try not to mention time in your rates. Rather than "1 Hr. Initial Visit" say "Initial Comprehensive Assessment." You might indicate the approximate time verbally so that your patients can plan their visits. Otherwise, if you say the visit is 30 minutes and only spend 25 minutes with them, they will feel cheated.
- Don't feel you are competing with MDs who are "free." You are in a completely different market.
- Don't "round" your fees. Charge $163 for an initial visit rather than $160. And along this line, change your rates yearly along with inflation, even if the inflation rate is low. Your costs are going up too. An inflation rate of 2 1/2% will increase the initial visit charge to $167.
- At the same time respect your patient's finances and let them know that you are. Don't plan a one hour visit if 15 minutes will suffice.
- If you are selling supplements avoid any conflict of interest, and explain why a professional company might be more expensive than what they can obtain at Wal-Mart. If you feel a particular Wal-Mart product is satisfactory, say so.
...and speaking of Wal-Mart, a colleague sent an interesting note the other day telling the story of a new ND whose business strategy consisted of finding out what other NDs were charging, and then charging substantially less. Now there is nothing wrong with competing only on price, and Wal-Mart has done this very successfully, but when your patients are dealing with serious health issues this may not be the best draw.Seth Godin's Blog is an excellent marketing blog that talks about this very issue.