Originally Posted by organicpapayamama
I am newly certified birth and postpartum doula and have attended 3 births and have 2 or 3 more lined up. Im in the Los Angeles area. I dont feel comfortable charging a lot since Im just starting out but it seems maybe my fee is too low. Generally speaking I charge about $250 for my birth doula services and have found the average around here to be between $800-$1500... am I giving away my services pretty much for free?
At $250, when you do all
the math you may find you're barely covering expenses, let alone making minimum wage.
-Do you have an interview package you give out?
(folder + printing x # of interviews before you get a booking)
-Do you travel to interviews, to prenatal appointments, to pp follow ups?
(gas + parking; bus fare; taxi fare)
-Do you pay to park at the hospital? Do you buy food there?
(parking + snacks/meals)
-Do you pay a sitter when you're at a birth, or buy more convenience foods to feed your family when you're not there or are tired after a birth?
Your fee also needs to cover indirect, overhead-type expenses:
-flyers and/or postcards
-website (domain name reg, hosting, design & updating)
-continuing education (conferences & workshops)
-books, magazine subs, professional memberships
-time spent networking, going to meetings, keeping up with research
-time spent distributing flyers, putting up posters, or whatever you do to find new clients
-clothing, if you wear anything other than your usual street clothes and shoes
-eventually you may need to pay a bookkeeper quarterly or annually
-you may need to spend time working on setting up a database and/or filing system to keep track of clients over the longer term, and then maintaining your system
-pager or additional phone/text costs
-birth bag & contents including periodic replacement of items
I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting. But bottom line, your fee needs to cover all
of your business-related expenses before you begin paying yourself. Try and figure out how much each client is going to cost you, including a portion of your overhead expenses. Then figure out how much money you think you need or want to make per month, divided by the number of clients you'd like to take per month. Add them, and you've got a starting rate. I guarantee you it'll be more than $250.
I totally understand that you're just starting out. I don't think you should charge top dollar. But if you know the range where you live, why aren't you charging at the bottom of that range? From what you've told us, you aren't even charging 1/3
of the bottom of that range!
Value yourself! (And don't prompt people to undervalue doulas in general by wildly underpricing yourself for your area.)