Explorations in the Theory and Practice
How much to charge?
How much do you want to make a year? How much do you need to make a year? What is the going rate in your area? What can clients afford to pay for your services? How much would you pay for a massage? What are your expenses? There are a few different methods to assist you in setting your prices.
First, you can call at least 10 other therapist in your immediate area. You can pose as a potential client or tell them you are doing research on pricing in your area. Ask what they are charging. Ask if they charge a different rate if they are billing an insurance company. Ask what codes they use when billing and insurance company (this doesn't really have much to do with setting your fees, but you may find this helpful later on). Take the average of the 10 fees and find use this as a base for determining what you want to charge. Take into consideration things like extra training and extra services you might be providing.
Figuring what your cost per client is another way to assist you in making decisions about your business. Once you know that, you will be able to decide whether or not you want to become a provider for insurance companies that don't pay as much per hour. You will be able to set your fees to make what you need to be a successful business.
Or use the following formula to find out how much you should charge.
1. Figure out how many days a year
you can/want to work. Start with 365 days in a year minus 2 days
off a week (weekend). This leaves 261 days a year to be working.
Then subtract the holidays (8), and vacation days ( how many days
off a year) and take out a few days for sick/ personal days and what are
you left with. _______________
2. Multiply the number of days by
the number of hours ( massages or sessions ) you work per day ______________
Do you want to factor in the time spent on paperwork, insurance billing, soap charts, phone calls, etc.? Figure about 30% per massage. ______________
example: 924 - .30 = 647 (
total billable hours work per year)
3. What are your office expenses?_________________
Example : $1,000 office expenses
What are your personal expenses?______________
Example: $2,000 personal expenses
Then here is the shocker! Add up all your expenses and multiply by 30% for taxes . Yes, 30% that is if you are self employed. Tax situations will vary depending on expenses, etc. Contact your accountant/tax advisor. You have to pay self employment tax which is much more than if you work for someone else as the employer pays almost half of that tax.
Example: $3000 x .30 = $900 taxes
What are your total expenses per year? ____________________
Example: Total expenses : $3900 per month x 12 = $46800
4. Divide The total expenses by the
total billable hours for the hourly rate :
Example : $46800/ 647 = $72.00 per treatment
5. Then you have to take into consideration the going rate in your area and do you have a full schedule of clients. Are you just starting? Are you going to be raising your fees? Will you lose clients if you charge more than they can afford? Are you really providing a service that is worth the price? Will you be getting more clients that will decrease your cost per client?
Setting your fees is a crucial part of starting and building a massage practice. Running a successful business depends on making money. While there are many tools that can assist you in figuring out what to charge, the real issue is what do you need to charge to make a living. If you find that you are faced with your fears (false beliefs) such as "I am just starting out. I can't charge that much" or "That's higher than the going rate in my area" , you may want to consider working these issues out with a supervisor. I also provide supervision and other support through my writing at my website: www.massagepracticebuilder.com
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