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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is fair to pay a doula that working on her certification? I just met with a doula that I really like and feel good about. Her fee is $500. However, then I found out that this would only be her 6th birth attended as doula. She said her certification is almost complete and this would be her last birth before she finished. I would be her first VBAC birth. Is $500 a little steep for someone that is still gaining experience? I live in the Denver area where most doulas advertise $500-$700. Thanks for any input!!<br><br>
Alice
 

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I am not requiring anyone to pay me while I am still in training. I have heard of people requesting a small amount $100 or so. I planned on charging $375 or so until I have 10 or so births under my belt and eventually getting up to $500 or so. That seems to be the going rate here in NC.<br><br>
I would pay $500 if she was not certified but already had several years of experience. Just my two cents.
 

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I am also just starting out and won't be charging for my first 3 births, but after that I will. However, there are two things I want to say<br><br>
1. You are paying for her time, not just her experience. She will be on call for you for possibly 5 even 6 weeks if you are particularly overdue. She will be unable to book anything, have a glass of wine!!, etc etc for all that time and you are able to call her at any time. TBfair, I think $500 is pretty reasonable considering it isn't her first couple of births. Also certification can be after 3 births with certain organisations, so I think certification doesn't really count over experience, it just means someone has fulfilled the requirement and done the paperwork!<br><br>
2. You have already said you like her. You are looking for a doula and presumably were prepared to pay for one?? So if you feel you like her, I would go with my instincts rather than try to find a cheaper one that I maybe didn't get on with as well. She could be with you for a long time <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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I did all of my certification clients for *free* too. I didn't look at it as free though but a fair exchange of my services for the parents being willing to fill out the evaluation paperwork and allow me to submit essays about their families.<br><br>
Amy
 

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A doula is providing a service regardless of certifications. Many doulas choose not to certify. That doesn't make them any less wonderful. I would go with the one I like.<br>
Trisha
 

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On the one hand I think that doulas in general are severely underpaid and even a doula-in-training deserves to be paid for her time.<br><br>
On the other hand, if a certified doula is being paid $500-700 then to pay an almost-certified doula $500 seems a bit steep. However, if you really hit it off with the almost-certified doula or if she can offer something that other doulas can't, then it may still be worth the money.<br><br>
Finally, I used a doula-in-training (we were her first birth) and felt that she was even more willing to do "whatever" we needed her to do than I felt some of the other doulas I interviewed would have been willing to do. She was so eager she actually arrived at the hospital five minutes before we did.
 

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I think $500 seems steep, too. It seems if that's what she wanted, she should have presented herself as a regular working doula and not someone still in training or working on her certification, if that makes sense. I do understand how one might charge the regular fee if she had been preforming as a doula for years and then decided to pursue certification, but in this case it feels too steep.<br><br>
I did my cert births for free, and I now recommend to others NOT to do them for free. In hindsight I should have charged 50-100 just for gas and/or babysitting; I had two clients that really only hired me because I was free, not for the benefits doula support provides (One even said to the nurse in the hospital, "I got a doula in case I couldn't get the epidural." Of course she had never said that to me in our prenatal meetings...grrr). I just feel even a small amount of money brings about more appreciation from the expectant mother/couple.<br><br>
Especially in light of the fact she has no VBAC experience, I would feel unsure about paying that much...in my mind it seems to make more sense to pay that much or more for a doula with more experiences and also VBAC history. JMO.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mysticmomma</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">A doula is providing a service regardless of certifications. Many doulas choose not to certify. That doesn't make them any less wonderful. I would go with the one I like.</div>
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I think that's a great point. Plus, remember that everyone involved in a birth, whoever they may be - doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, mamas, babies - is gaining experience with every birth <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> And if 500 - 700 is standard for your area for certified doulas, $500 for someone with six births and near-certification seems really reasonable to me.
 

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I think it's fair for her to ask for the low end of the local scale.<br><br>
Where I live, certified doulas with experience in the hundreds couldn't get $500--but it's all about the locale.<br><br>
I did my first two births for free (one was a relative,) but I charged below the low end of the going scale for my third, and at the low end after that.<br><br>
Like other posters have said, you are also paying for her time, her committment, and her knowledge. Experience is important, but experience is the aspect that justifies our climb through the pay scale.
 

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Our (certified) doula was also our childbirth educator. She had attended (after certification) only 16 births when we hired her. She had a range that she asked to be paid ($300 - $500), and let her clients decide how much they wished to pay.
 

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We all have to start somewhere. I personally think that by teaching our clients that they can expect free services from new doulas, they come to expect free services from new doulas... making it harder for those who want to charge to be able to get a reasonable wage.<br><br>
I'm at birth # 19. I'm not a 'new' doula and I do not feel inexperienced at all- and I learn from every birth I attend. I assure you, the doula who is attending her 200th birth would tell you the same thing- it is humbling and educational every single time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
My fee is $350 to $600, sliding scale and the fee is determined by the parents with no input from me. I usually get the full $600, because my clients feel that my services are worth it to <i>them.</i> I give the same care to my free clients that I do my upper end of the scale clients.<br><br>
From my own experience, by my fifth birth I was no longer worried I'd say something dumb, or that I'd screw something up- I felt very confident about the services I was providing and clear that I deserve to be paid for them. If you feel like you're doing your doula a favor by 'letting' her be there, then why are you hiring her? YKWIM? If you are hiring her because she is the right person for the job, then pay her what YOU think she is worth. Certification is NOT and never should be considered an indicator of skill, knowledge, or experience.<br><br>
Also wanted to ask: did ou ask her at the consultation how many births she'd attended? Clients usually ask me this when we meet for the consultation and I am always honest with them. If this wasn't important to you at the consult, why does it matter now? (Not being catty, just truly wondering?) If you had found out that she'd been to 300 births would you want to pay her more?<br><br>
My point is.. what is important to you? Do you feel like you are going to get good care? If your birth ended in cesarean and she'd never attended one before, would you be concerned about her ability to be there for you?<br><br>
If you were my client raising these questions I would have a very open talk with you about what it is you're looking for in a doula- and whether I was the right one for you. My goal is for my client to have the right doula for HER, not to be the one to attend every birth. I have <i>zero</i> problems passing a client to another doula and in fact I encourage every one of my clients to interview several doulas (and even give them names/phone numbers), because it's about the client, not about the doula. It sounds like you have some real concerns about her ability to care for you... do some soul searching and try to isolate what your concerns really are. Don't pay out any money unless you're sure she's the one!
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dynamicdoula</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We all have to start somewhere. I personally think that by teaching our clients that they can expect free services from new doulas, they come to expect free services from new doulas... making it harder for those who want to charge to be able to get a reasonable wage.<br><br>
I'm at birth # 19. I'm not a 'new' doula and I do not feel inexperienced at all- and I learn from every birth I attend. I assure you, the doula who is attending her 200th birth would tell you the same thing- it is humbling and educational every single time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
My fee is $350 to $600, sliding scale and the fee is determined by the parents with no input from me. I usually get the full $600, because my clients feel that my services are worth it to <i>them.</i> I give the same care to my free clients that I do my upper end of the scale clients.<br><br>
From my own experience, by my fifth birth I was no longer worried I'd say something dumb, or that I'd screw something up- I felt very confident about the services I was providing and clear that I deserve to be paid for them. If you feel like you're doing your doula a favor by 'letting' her be there, then why are you hiring her? YKWIM? If you are hiring her because she is the right person for the job, then pay her what YOU think she is worth. Certification is NOT and never should be considered an indicator of skill, knowledge, or experience.<br><br>
Also wanted to ask: did ou ask her at the consultation how many births she'd attended? Clients usually ask me this when we meet for the consultation and I am always honest with them. If this wasn't important to you at the consult, why does it matter now? (Not being catty, just truly wondering?) If you had found out that she'd been to 300 births would you want to pay her more?<br><br>
My point is.. what is important to you? Do you feel like you are going to get good care? If your birth ended in cesarean and she'd never attended one before, would you be concerned about her ability to be there for you?<br><br>
If you were my client raising these questions I would have a very open talk with you about what it is you're looking for in a doula- and whether I was the right one for you. My goal is for my client to have the right doula for HER, not to be the one to attend every birth. I have <i>zero</i> problems passing a client to another doula and in fact I encourage every one of my clients to interview several doulas (and even give them names/phone numbers), because it's about the client, not about the doula. It sounds like you have some real concerns about her ability to care for you... do some soul searching and try to isolate what your concerns really are. Don't pay out any money unless you're sure she's the one!</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
 

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I did all my births pre-certification for free, so I think it sounds high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks to everyone for all the input. Money is not the issue here, we expected to pay whoever we hire. I knew she was still in training when we talked to her initially, I did not realize that you needed so few births to certify. I guess I thought she would have a little more experience under her belt, so that's what threw me with her fee. However, I really do feel comfortable with her, and I think there is also a certain amount of passion you get with someone who is new and is trying to get everything out of the situation they can. This is a huge plus to me because I can tell that she is definiately passionate and I think that is just as important as being experienced. I still am not sure we will hire her, but you all gave me a few other things to think about.<br><br>
Alice
 

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I think $500 is very fair. It is a huge committment to be on call as a doula. If she has another job, she will be missing work. If she has children, she has to pay for child care. She is not providing medical services, she is providing support and comfort to you...it truly is a matter of the heart and connection more than anything else. If you have a great connection, you will probably feel like you want to pay her even more after the birth! I know that certification, training and experience are all great, but sometimes even a highly trained doula wouldn't be the 'right' doula for you. She should be thoughtful and have lots of information...if she doesn't know an answer to a question, she should be able to get it for you fast. Im just saying that sometimes the connection is more important than experience.<br><br>
She is providing a huge service to you and I think ALL doulas should be paid no matter where they are in the cert. process. I have found, personally, that people also tend to value that which they pay for. I do provide sliding scale rates for people who are financially strapped, but some of my more difficult clients have been the free ones.<br><br>
Anyway, not to ramble...its just very hard and wonderful work that deserves good payment.
 
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