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How much do you charge for your doula services? - Page 2

post #21 of 42
I agree with the moms here. I am a student so I am free for my first ten, then I will get paid 600 for the next ten, 800 for those after that as long as I am where I am.

I think to keep that competitive edge you can raise your rates to at least 600 and the fact that you do photos is a great edge, if they are artsy and good ones.
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contented73 View Post

My current fee is $1000, in an area where the range for experienced doulas is $800-$1200. Since I can't do the more advanced things like fht's and VE's, I feel like I am right where I should be. Some births make me feel like I'm not getting paid enough, while others seem like such a breeze and I feel guilty about being paid so much! I started offering services at $300, and every 10 births or so, moved up to $500, then $700, then $850, and for the past 7 months I've been at $1000 and do not intend on raising it unless I start training as a midwife.
Do many doulas in your area do FHTs and VEs? That's illegal in this province, so that's not something that's used to judge what a doula charges.
post #23 of 42
I charge $20/hr for postpartum, just raised it back up as the economy seems to be picking up again (I'm booked for Fall at least), and I live VERY rural. The birth doulas around here are $500 for a very new doula to $800-1000 for a VERY experienced doula with some midwife training. So it sounds to me as if you should raise your rate!
post #24 of 42
I don't want to sound mean, but why is it that in our profession we feel we shouldn't charge something for our services when we have trained, studied, put money and time into our profession. I just don't get it. In any other job they don't tell you that your first x months are free because you just graduated from school and are new on the job.

So many times I see women undercutting themselves so severelly and it makes me so sad. I will admit I was among those women many years ago, and way back then my husband kept telling me "you have to charge something" and I didn't listen at first. The more time I spend in the field the more I see that he is right. When he graduated from college and got his first job they didn't tell him "well you are a new medical technologist so until you do x number of tests you must work for free." I remember getting my first childbirth education job and again no one told me "hey this is the first series you are teaching so we aren't going to pay you."

To all the ladies who feel they shouldn't charge because they are new - do you think other professions don't charge because the person is new on the job?! You go to McDonald's and the counter person isn't told they won't get paid because they are on the job for the first day. I know I had one of these the other day - took her forever to get my order right, she was so nervous and inexperienced but she was getting paid.
post #25 of 42
I agree w/ tlc's post above.

Also, there's the issue of competitive undercutting.

When I moved to this area and started my practice, I called the other midwife in the area. I am a new midwife, and she has been practicing for 15 years. In order not to step on her toes, I asked her how much SHE would prefer me to charge. I didn't want to charge the same as her because I was considerably less experienced, but I didn't want people to pick me simply because I cost less either. She told me she thought I should make my fee the same as hers. She also mentioned that it was very nice of me to ask. I think her main motivation in asking me to match her fee was simply to avoid the undervaluing of midwifery services.

So, I think that by charging so little, you are undervaluing yourself AND the profession, as well as potentially artificially (because that's not a living wage) driving down the price of doulas in your area. I agree that for people who honestly can't afford it, you can lower your rate to whatever you want... but your base rate should be a lot higher than $250. IMO.
post #26 of 42
Yes, charging the same as others who provide the same service makes sense. Then the client's choice is based on personality and bedside manner, etc, not on money. It seems like most doulas have a tendency towards generosity and try to make things work for people in need. My mentor said that she doesn't do a sliding scale, but she takes anything for a deposit and anything for monthly payments. She charges $950 and has a full calendar of clients and has never been stiffed for payment.
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by momileigh View Post
I agree w/ tlc's post above.

Also, there's the issue of competitive undercutting.

When I moved to this area and started my practice, I called the other midwife in the area. I am a new midwife, and she has been practicing for 15 years. In order not to step on her toes, I asked her how much SHE would prefer me to charge. I didn't want to charge the same as her because I was considerably less experienced, but I didn't want people to pick me simply because I cost less either. She told me she thought I should make my fee the same as hers. She also mentioned that it was very nice of me to ask. I think her main motivation in asking me to match her fee was simply to avoid the undervaluing of midwifery services.

So, I think that by charging so little, you are undervaluing yourself AND the profession, as well as potentially artificially (because that's not a living wage) driving down the price of doulas in your area. I agree that for people who honestly can't afford it, you can lower your rate to whatever you want... but your base rate should be a lot higher than $250. IMO.
I had this issue in my area recently where another doula with the same experience level was undercutting me by $5 an hour and I finally just got fed up with it and upped my rate to where I felt it should be. I figure people will figure it out on their own (and it seems they have) as she isn't getting work and I am
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contented73 View Post
I'm going to be the lone voice of dissent here. I think $250 for a doula who is attending her first three births is TOTALLY appropriate. Maybe each time you attend 2-3 more births, you can raise your rate by $50-$100. I strongly believe that a brand new doula who is not certified accepts this as part of the entry into the profession. In my experience there really is a big difference between brand new doulas and long-term experienced doulas, and it is greedy to start charging on the same scale as the experienced doulas right off the bat. You have to earn your creds!

On the other hand, I do understand that no matter your experience level, you are still providing the services and deserve to be compensated for them. For example, I would never recommend that a new doula offers her service for free, just because she is new. She still does the work!

My current fee is $1000, in an area where the range for experienced doulas is $800-$1200. Since I can't do the more advanced things like fht's and VE's, I feel like I am right where I should be. Some births make me feel like I'm not getting paid enough, while others seem like such a breeze and I feel guilty about being paid so much! I started offering services at $300, and every 10 births or so, moved up to $500, then $700, then $850, and for the past 7 months I've been at $1000 and do not intend on raising it unless I start training as a midwife.
I totally agree. I have been a certified doula for 6 years & get so irked when a brand new doula starts off her fees with what I charge. They may have the passion, but they don't have the experience to back it up. I bumped up my fee similar to the above schedule. I'm in the DFW area & the most I have ever seen was $800 for just a birth doula.
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray's Mommy View Post
I totally agree. I have been a certified doula for 6 years & get so irked when a brand new doula starts off her fees with what I charge. They may have the passion, but they don't have the experience to back it up. I bumped up my fee similar to the above schedule. I'm in the DFW area & the most I have ever seen was $800 for just a birth doula.
Just an idea, but maybe if brand new doulas in your area are charging and GETTING the same fee as you, perhaps it's time for you to raise your fee?
Also, as in any job where you start out at a certain rate and move up yearly or so, I think it's fair to charge 10-25% less for new doulas and then raise their fees as they gain experience and/or additional skills/certifications.
For example, a friend of mine started a good job at $14 per hour and is now making $20 per hour, 4 years later. He certainly does MORE work MORE efficiently now, after 4 years on the job, so I think the compensation is fair too.
So if an experienced doula is charging $1000 in her area, I think charging $750 - $850 is a good deal for a new doula. She will get clients who may not want to pay the $1000 fee, but she will also get more of the bargain hunters that the experienced doula has learned how to weed out. For those who prefer or really need an experienced doula, they will find a way to pay the extra fee.
Asking a new doula to NOT charge ANYTHING? for her services sounds absurd!!! I never NOT charged a fee when I started, except for the friends births I attended where I discovered my passion for birth and women and this work.
Getting paid less for less experience just holds true in almost ANY job. Interns who work for free are usually in school and "have" to work for free to break into the industry. If a new doula chooses to attend births with an experienced doula and is learning, and not being paid, I would think that would be fair. If a new doula is doing all the work, she deserves to be paid for her time!!! If she values her time at $5 per hour or $40 per hour, it's up to her, of course, but I will maintain that most women in this and many other industries still undervalue themselves.
Women still make, on average, $.70 for every DOLLAR that a MAN makes in THE SAME JOB!

I think it all works out well when doulas respect each other and work together and communicate. Conversely, things can become uncomfortable and downright "bad" when doulas purposely undercut, trash-talk, undermine, etc.... we all need to act professionally and present the profession in the best light possible.
- Jen
post #30 of 42
Jen that was a great post! My husband gets very miffed that as a student doula at the local midwives practice I get NOTHING until I am 'certified'. Half of our births on average are shadowing a certified doula/midwife, the others are with another student. ( In no paricular order) I know it is hard for him being the current sole bread winner and money IS tight and I have spent over 300 dollars in gas in the past month going to prenatals, birthes, post pardum, all things I have to do and gladly do since I LOVE this work, but that is ALOT of money, alot. Part of me agrees with the free factor but then again I think if we got 250, that is still a bargain, and it can cover gas at least, that is all I need covered right now. I do this because I love it and want to be a midwife one day. I hope we don't go bankrupt from the gas as a student! I would hate to stop because we can't afford the gas!
post #31 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamastePlatypus View Post
Jen that was a great post! My husband gets very miffed that as a student doula at the local midwives practice I get NOTHING until I am 'certified'. Half of our births on average are shadowing a certified doula/midwife, the others are with another student. ( In no paricular order) I know it is hard for him being the current sole bread winner and money IS tight and I have spent over 300 dollars in gas in the past month going to prenatals, birthes, post pardum, all things I have to do and gladly do since I LOVE this work, but that is ALOT of money, alot. Part of me agrees with the free factor but then again I think if we got 250, that is still a bargain, and it can cover gas at least, that is all I need covered right now. I do this because I love it and want to be a midwife one day. I hope we don't go bankrupt from the gas as a student! I would hate to stop because we can't afford the gas!
I had this issue with the gas. I was losing money driving around for consultations. I ended up charging a consultation fee that is non refundable to cover gas and any information I might give them at the consult. IF they end up hiring me they can apply that fee to the remaining balance. You might want to do something similar for your prenatal visits, you clients will still be getting a great deal and you wont be going broke.
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by organicpapayamama View Post
I had this issue with the gas. I was losing money driving around for consultations. I ended up charging a consultation fee that is non refundable to cover gas and any information I might give them at the consult. IF they end up hiring me they can apply that fee to the remaining balance. You might want to do something similar for your prenatal visits, you clients will still be getting a great deal and you wont be going broke.
I am done driving for consultations. It gets expensive and takes up a lot of my time. I now have them come to me. It makes it not a big deal then, I spend 30 minutes or so chatting with them, and then get on with my day. Compared with driving an hour one way to do a consult and feeling an entire afternoon is gone.
post #33 of 42
i am in total agreement with tlc. i have been a pp doula for 16 years and have been going to births for about 7 years. i feel that if we want to be taken serious in our profession we have to charge and need to stay competive. i don't think it's a great message when one doula is charging $400 and another $1200. i have always encouraged new doulas in my area to up their rates and stay competitve. it's up to the clients to ask how long you have been a doula, what is your experience, etc. then they can decide if they want to hire you or not. most people that have hired me never even asked if i was certified, they hired me because we clicked and they liked my energy. i think as doulas every birth is a learning experience and you can go to hundreds of births and still have something to learn.

in my area the average rate for birth doulas range from $800 to 1200. we charge $1050 and offer a sliding scale, going as low as $600. if someone reallly wants a doula they will figure out a way to get the money. how many times will you go for a professional service that you want and try to get it for less money? if a lawyer says $150 an hour you are going to pay it! for pp we charge $30 an hour and if it's really far $35.

i also don't think that being certified should be a factor in how much you charge. i am not certified as a pp doula, but have tons of experience. i chose not to be certified for many years after my alace training, but 2 years ago, decided to get certified. it doesn't make me a better doula. i feel that i provide a service and should get paid for it. a meeting with a local small business consultant said that when you charge less than everyone else, potential clients think that maybe your work is inferior. i have taken her advice. we need to feel good about getting paid for what we do and we deserve to get conpensated well for it. it's sometimes very hard work!
post #34 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacredma View Post
i am in total agreement with tlc. i have been a pp doula for 16 years and have been going to births for about 7 years. i feel that if we want to be taken serious in our profession we have to charge and need to stay competive. i don't think it's a great message when one doula is charging $400 and another $1200. i have always encouraged new doulas in my area to up their rates and stay competitve. it's up to the clients to ask how long you have been a doula, what is your experience, etc. then they can decide if they want to hire you or not. most people that have hired me never even asked if i was certified, they hired me because we clicked and they liked my energy. i think as doulas every birth is a learning experience and you can go to hundreds of births and still have something to learn.

in my area the average rate for birth doulas range from $800 to 1200. we charge $1050 and offer a sliding scale, going as low as $600. if someone reallly wants a doula they will figure out a way to get the money. how many times will you go for a professional service that you want and try to get it for less money? if a lawyer says $150 an hour you are going to pay it! for pp we charge $30 an hour and if it's really far $35.

i also don't think that being certified should be a factor in how much you charge. i am not certified as a pp doula, but have tons of experience. i chose not to be certified for many years after my alace training, but 2 years ago, decided to get certified. it doesn't make me a better doula. i feel that i provide a service and should get paid for it. a meeting with a local small business consultant said that when you charge less than everyone else, potential clients think that maybe your work is inferior. i have taken her advice. we need to feel good about getting paid for what we do and we deserve to get conpensated well for it. it's sometimes very hard work!
Im going to have to disagree with you on the bolded statement just because I have been there from the consumer standpoint. Although very generally speaking I think your statement is correct, it is not true 100% of the time. And those who dont have as much money as others still deserves to be supported and not be alone for the birth of their child. I was in a very difficult position when I had my doula. I had just lost my DD almost exactly a year before, she was stillborn, then my dh left me. And then wouldnt you know it the company I worked for went bankrupt and I was left unemployed and no one wanted to hire me because I was pregnant. Money was a HUGE issue. I could not afford a doula who was even asking just $200.00. Money was THAT bad. I had no one to borrow off of or anything. By the grace of God I found my doula who had plenty of experience and was willing to help me out of the goodness of her heart because of my dire circumstances. Now I know not everyone out there is going to be in such a tight spot but I did want to remind everyone that especially in this economy stories like this are more and more common. So to say if they really want a doula they will come up with the money is not really a fair statement. I have paid it forward as well and assisted women in dire situations who especially need more support because they are going through a crisis like this. Just putting my two cents out there.
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by organicpapayamama View Post
Im going to have to disagree with you on the bolded statement just because I have been there from the consumer standpoint. Although very generally speaking I think your statement is correct, it is not true 100% of the time. And those who dont have as much money as others still deserves to be supported and not be alone for the birth of their child. I was in a very difficult position when I had my doula. I had just lost my DD almost exactly a year before, she was stillborn, then my dh left me. And then wouldnt you know it the company I worked for went bankrupt and I was left unemployed and no one wanted to hire me because I was pregnant. Money was a HUGE issue. I could not afford a doula who was even asking just $200.00. Money was THAT bad. I had no one to borrow off of or anything. By the grace of God I found my doula who had plenty of experience and was willing to help me out of the goodness of her heart because of my dire circumstances. Now I know not everyone out there is going to be in such a tight spot but I did want to remind everyone that especially in this economy stories like this are more and more common. So to say if they really want a doula they will come up with the money is not really a fair statement. I have paid it forward as well and assisted women in dire situations who especially need more support because they are going through a crisis like this. Just putting my two cents out there.

I guess my statement was more of a generalization, so doulas should not sell themselves short. I have also assisted women that can't pay and that is fine, but should be done on a case to case basis. I am always open to bartering and setting up payment plans. I think it's really important to help other women in need, use your intuition, as some people don't really value things unless they pay for it. thanks for your 2 cents!
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by organicpapayamama View Post
Im going to have to disagree with you on the bolded statement just because I have been there from the consumer standpoint. Although very generally speaking I think your statement is correct, it is not true 100% of the time. And those who dont have as much money as others still deserves to be supported and not be alone for the birth of their child. I was in a very difficult position when I had my doula. I had just lost my DD almost exactly a year before, she was stillborn, then my dh left me. And then wouldnt you know it the company I worked for went bankrupt and I was left unemployed and no one wanted to hire me because I was pregnant. Money was a HUGE issue. I could not afford a doula who was even asking just $200.00. Money was THAT bad. I had no one to borrow off of or anything. By the grace of God I found my doula who had plenty of experience and was willing to help me out of the goodness of her heart because of my dire circumstances. Now I know not everyone out there is going to be in such a tight spot but I did want to remind everyone that especially in this economy stories like this are more and more common. So to say if they really want a doula they will come up with the money is not really a fair statement. I have paid it forward as well and assisted women in dire situations who especially need more support because they are going through a crisis like this. Just putting my two cents out there.

There will always be heartbreaking circumstances such as yours, and a doula can choose to offer her services for reduced or no fee.
It's unconscionable for clients to expect Doulas to not charge for their services, no matter what the doulas experience level.
It is Doulas that have to change the perception that some doulas are available for free!

It has evolved into a profession of women's work and clients should always expect to pay for our services, and doula should always charge a fee even when they're certifying.

None of the certifying Doula organization require doulas to work for free to get the certifying births. Hospitals or organizations that provide free doulas to their patients are affiliated with a non-profit, which comes with very differnt circumstances for the doula then working with a private labor doula.
post #37 of 42
thanks dewi! very clear!!!
post #38 of 42
WOW! I live in the Twin Cities, which has the highest doula attended births in America and I think the highest paid doula here only charges 900.00.

Homebirth midwives here charge 3000.00, which is only 1200.00 more than some doulas seem to be charging. Crazy.
post #39 of 42
Well, it is crazy, in the sense that costs in general vary wildly. Homebirths here cost about $6000 or $7000, so a doula being $1500 or $2000 makes sense. Rent is also higher, a groceries, and parking, etc
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooklynDoula View Post
Well, it is crazy, in the sense that costs in general vary wildly. Homebirths here cost about $6000 or $7000, so a doula being $1500 or $2000 makes sense. Rent is also higher, a groceries, and parking, etc
Have to say to anyone who has not been in NYC- she is right- I spent 2 days there, and paid over $9 for a pack of cigarettes, Even McDonalds was more!

(sorry, I just admitted to smoking and eating McD's on vacation, I must be tired! )
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