Pricing our Doula Packages
Like a lot of life’s big questions, there isn’t really one simple answer, but I’ve put together some thoughts for you to consider here.
The Going Rate
When I was the Direct or Public Relations for DONA International I had the unique opportunity to speak with doulas from all over the world, though most commonly across North America. I have a funny habit of noticing trends and I realized that despite the wide range of prices people charged for doula services, that the average rate for a doula service package was about the cost of a month’s worth of daycare in that area. So, of course, in small towns it was lower, and in large urban centres it was higher.
Doesn’t that kinda makes you wonder about how often you’ll hear people say they can’t afford doula services, but almost everyone you know is paying for daycare for their little ones each month? Sure, sometimes people can’t afford that and they have family help them, or they work opposite shifts so they don’t have to pay for childcare, or one simply stays home because it’s not worth it. All of that is totally legitimate. I’m just saying that paying for daycare is very common because people see the ‘need’ for that service, even though it can take up a large chunk of their after tax dollars.
People will pay for what they value
Ultimately, people will always pay for what they value. Just about everyone has a smart phone these days. But I promise if you go to a cell phone company and ask for the deluxe package, but tell them you can’t really afford it and want it for cheaper (or nothing), they would laugh in your face. And yet, we see this constantly in the doula world. People saying they really want a doula but can’t afford one. Every time you hear that I’d like you to imagine someone saying that to the cell phone company “but I really need/want this phone….please…can you give me this phone”. If anything, it will likely make you smile as you imagine it. So here’s the thing….when people really want something because they VALUE it, they FIND A WAY to pay for it.
Where there’s a will there’s a way
I’ve had many lower income clients over the years hire doulas. They’ve hired them because they realize the amazing service it is, how much goes into providing that service, and they recognize that paying for this great service is expected. They’ve done payment plans, or asked family and friends to help out, but they’ve made it work.
Do you value YOU?
The real question is do YOU value YOU? Do you believe that doulas are worth it? Do you respect yourself to charge a livable wage for your area? I grew my business over 1000% in the past 5 years and it’s because I changed my mindset (no that’s not an extra zero by accident). What beliefs are holding you back from charging what you are worth?
Some of the things doulas might include in their packages is a varying number of prenatal and postpartum visits. That’s one way to have a basic package for people who have smaller budgets. Think back to our cell phone analogy and think of it as “pay as you go” and ‘using wifi instead of data’ on your phone. Then have packages with more prenatal and postpartum visits for people who can afford more and value the extra time. Of course I wish everyone could pay for 4-5 visits with me! I’d love to spend more time getting to know my clients, but I have a practice to run and they have budgets to manage so we find what works for each client.
Other things to consider are what other services you offer that fit with your doula work. Are you also a childbirth educator and maybe one package can include your classes? Are you a postpartum doula and can offer an extended postpartum package? Sky’s the limit on how to structure your package to give you an idea (in the back end from a value perspective. Note: you wouldn’t show this pricing on your website). Here’s a sample below:
- Prenatal visit 1: value $100
- Prenatal visit 2: value $100
- Birth: value $500
- Postpartum visit: value $100
- Being on-call, text and email support, etc: value $200
- TOTAL value: $1000
Offering payment options
One of the best ways you can be flexible for clients is to offer a variety of ways for them to pay. We accept Visa/MC/Amex, bank transfers (common in Canada), cash or cheque. We’re also happy to accept gifts from family members who can call-in a payment and we can put it to the client’s account to reduce their bill. We do everything electronically as much as possible so it’s easy and convenient for people. I rarely accept cheques or cash anymore!
We’re also happy to split things up into monthly payments or a 50% deposit and 50% due at 37 weeks. All of our payment plans are always paid up by 37 weeks however to make sure we don’t have to stress and worry about that later.
Hope some of these ideas will help you to form some of your own thoughts. Grab a piece of paper and write down which ones might be a fit for you.
Good luck my lovely doulas. I would love to hear what has worked for you and any other ideas I’ve missed here. There are surely a hundred more.
#WorldDoulaDomination #DoulaValue #SelfWorth #DoulaPackages
About the Author
Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.
Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program at the Scarborough Hospital.
Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.
Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.
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