I'm amazed what a hot topic this question is on many online support forums.  Over and over again I see the question posted - "Should I list my fees on my website?"  As a website designer and developer, a lot of my clients share this question. It seems like a pretty straight forward topic, but it seems to generate heated discussion and strong opinions on a regular basis - especially in the doula community.  Interestingly I don't tend to have this conversation with my other holistic practitioner clients such as massage therapists and chiropractors. For them, the answer is a clear and definite Yes.

WHY NOT SHARE YOUR FEES?

There are some pretty strong feelings about this on both ends of the spectrum. While below I'll share the reasons you SHOULD choose to share your fees. It is only fair to also share some ideas here on why others may choose NOT to share their fees.  I'm going to focus on doulas here, simply because they tend to be the clients who are asking this question more than my other types of clients.  Some doulas who serve a very high end clientele, perhaps high-profile clients or simply high income, feel that fees simply aren't a factor in the discernment process and their absence allows for a more sleek appearance. Also, some want to be able to create custom packages for their needs and that the price will vary according to each client.

What do I think as the Website Doula? I happen to fall quite strongly on the side that says YES! List your prices.  State them with confidence on your website.  Be transparent and clear.  Here are my top reasons why you should definitely list your prices:

  • 1 Can you name one other helping profession that doesn't typically list their prices? Your massage office, chiropractor, naturopath, acupuncturist, and yoga studio all have prices clearly listed. Still, I see this question of listing fees come up over and over again on doula facebook groups. I find that we often experience more complexity in our relationship to charging for our service and valuing our time than some other helping professions that are more regulated.
  • 2 Would you rather have potential clients make assumptions about your pricing, and possibly leave your site because they assumed "wrong", or know them up front and make an informed decision before contacting you? We live in the information age, when people expect to be able to find the information they need, fast.
  • 3 You have a chance to be confident about your fees in clear, written language. Even if inside you struggle with setting your fees and saying them out loud, having them clearly stated on your website is a great first step.
  • 4 You save time! Why take an hour out of your busy schedule to meet with potential clients who will balk when they find out your price is out of their budget?
  • 5 Many people feel uncomfortable talking about money. By not listing your prices you are putting them in the position of having to ask - and then if your price is higher than what they had assumed or imagined, they need to quickly decide whether or not to move forward in conversation with you. Some potential clients may be so uncomfortable with having to ask that they simply won't call in the first place.
  • 6 If you have a sliding scale in special circumstances, you can still offer this on your website next to your prices. That way clients who need a different payment plan understand your regular fees, and you can evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

I know there are some who feel that by listing prices, we are losing potential clients who never have the chance to understand our full value before hearing the price. I feel strongly that this is the job of your website - if you present a professional, engaging website that positively shines with the value of your care, your site vibe will easily reinforce the value of your fees and make clients excited to learn more.

About Sarah Juliusson

Hi there, I’m Sarah Juliusson, The Website Doula. I support your practice growth with creative website design, seasoned business guidance, and plenty of great resources to help you find your way. With 20+ years as a doula and childbirth educator, I believe in the value of your work as much as you do. >> learn more about my work as the website doula

5 Comments

  1. Sas on October 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Sarah
    I just wanted to say that I agree with your thoughts here… I’m very new to this profession having just left my midwifery training in the final year and the first clients I had have definitely been a learning curve in relation to pricing etc. I had worked with them postnatally at their home in accordance with an hourly cost we’d agreed and everyone was very happy and satisfied. Things became difficult when they asked me to go to france with them. They were very vague with what they would require from me once we were there and sold the idea as though it would be a nice break for us all as they were so happy with my involvement with them. They offered me a very low rate which I wrongly assumed reflected the amount they would require of me, unfortunately they had me work as hard and for as many hours as I have done for them at home. Sadly we have fallen out over this and it has disappointed me greatly. Lots of lessons learnt and the biggest one is to be clear about pricing 🙁



    • Sarah Juliusson on October 20, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      Ouch! Thanks for sharing your experience here. Sadly I’ve actually heard quite a few similar stories from others who have been asked to go abroad with the families they serve. The assumption seems to be that it would be a holiday treat and therefore lower pay is justified. No accounting for the time we are taking away from our own lives & other clients! Kudos to you for taking the lesson as an opportunity to get really clear on your pricing and expectations with clients.



  2. Jen on December 13, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Hi Sarah, I always appreciate reading about this subject because it is something I have gone back and forth on for years. In the end, I have found I am much more confident NOT listing my prices for a variety of reasons. My issue isn’t with clients knowing my prices but with displaying my rates and therefore income so publicly has proven to be uncomfortable with family and friends on a few different occasions. There are many professions that do not list their prices and most people working in their careers don’t publicly display their income so openly. I live in the Bay Area, which happens to be a VERY pricey place to live and have found that listing my prices can be awkward because our profession doesn’t make a lot of money compared to many other professions in the area (making public that I make a feeble living by many people’s standards). At the same time, our rates compared to other parts of the country seem astronomical (making it public that we make quite a bit more money than some of my relatives and friends in other professions across the country). This is more of a personal choice than a business one but clients who are interested in who I am and what I offer, always seem to call. 🙂 I wanted to share an alternative opinion as it is something that I have struggled with for years and am finally really comfortable with not doing it.



    • Sarah Juliusson on December 27, 2014 at 12:58 am

      Dear Jen, I very much appreciate your thoughts here. It is indeed a vulnerable thing knowing that others could potentially assess our income based on our rates. I can see where that could get uncomfortable in Both directions with family & friends. While many professions have relatively standard income ranges, ours varies widely according to geography, pricing, # of clients, and of course expenses. In my heart I still go to the question of how to feel fully confident in our rates knowing that they are in line with our hours of service, skills & training, and local economic standards. This is a complex question indeed, and your rationales are thought-provoking.



  3. Katy Gladwin on October 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I can think of MANY industries that do not post their prices on their site. My family owns a software program company and don’t list prices. The features reel people in, make people very interested, and and then require them to make a call to get more info and speak to a sales rep. The prices aren’t a secret, it just ensures that if people are interested they are speaking to a person, who can answer any questions. I’m all about transparency, but there can be a lot of nuances in the service/product offered that can not be conveyed through text on a website. Many companies don’t offer prices because they aren’t sure what the scope of the job will be, painters, builders, insurance companies. Some want their work and referrals to speak for them, DJs, photographers etc…
    I’m actually not against posting my prices (I’m not right now, but considering it) but I think there are plenty of valid reasons not to. My main one has been, while I am confident in my fees, I want to TALK to potential clients. I want them to hear my voice, and have a chance to ask their initial questions. I offer my fees on that initial call, but I hope that regardless of what I charge, I will convey my love for this work, and expertise, then my fee is just a side note.