When establishing your nutrition practice, every new business owner needs to consider: how much do I charge clients? Whether you offer a la carte sessions or client packages, it’s essential to properly determine how much you’ll sell your nutrition services for. One major mistake many nutrition professionals make when pricing is undervaluing their services. Although we can’t price your packages for you, we want to remind you that your time is valuable and your prices should reflect this. With the right about of research, planning and confidence, you can determine prices that will be fair to clients and ensure your business is profitable in the long run.
Here are 5 factors you should consider to determine how much to charge for your nutrition counseling services:
1. Location, location, location!
Where you practice — whether it’s a physical brick and mortar location or virtually — can largely influence your rates. In the past, professionals working in large metropolitan cities may have been able to charge more than those working in rural areas, but with telehealth increasing in popularity, these boundaries are blurring.
You can take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment statistics, by state, to see the average income and hourly income rate of nutrition professionals in your state. Keep in mind that these income reports include nutrition professionals across a broad range of roles, so these statistics are not exclusive to private practice. If you want to connect with other professionals in your area, Healthie members have free access to our Mastermind group where you can openly and safely discuss compensation rates closer to your home.
2. Your Experience, Education & Speciality as a Nutrition Professional
Your experience, education and speciality are three key determinants for setting your rates. The longer you have been practicing in your field, the more you may be able to charge for your services and expertise. If you’re just starting out in private practice, you may be tempted to charge less to lure clients in, but keep in mind that your education is extremely valuable — you are an expert in your field! Instead, try setting a lower initial consultation rate as the bait to reel in your clients. Once they experience your fantastic services, they’ll know you’re worth the investment to purchase a package of sessions!
Check out the essentials you need to get your practice off the ground!
Receiving advanced credentials and specializing also allows you to charge higher fees because it highlights your expertise. When you become more specialized in a niche area, you become more valuable to your potential clients because you possess unique knowledge that others in your field may not have.
3. Who is Your Ideal Wellness Clientele?
Who are you trying to work with? Are you targeting blue collar workers with physically-demanding jobs or busy professionals who sit in a cubicle all day? What is the average income of your ideal clientele? Being able to answer these questions can help you set your rates at an acceptable and competitive price point.
4. Determine Whether to Accept Insurance or Remain Self-Pay
Do you accept insurance or provide your clients with a superbill or do you only accept out of pocket clients? These factors may dictate how you set your rates. If you are in-network with any insurance providers, your rates are guided by the fee each insurance company will pay for your services. If your clients pay out of pocket, however, you have much more flexibility in determining your compensation for your services. If you do not know where to start in setting your fees, finding out what several insurance companies will reimburse may be a good starting point for you. If you use Healthie, you can entice clients to use your services by providing an easy-to-make superbill, which may help your clients get reimbursed by their own insurance company.
Want to find out more about accepting insurance? Read this.
5. What is the demand for nutrition services in your area?
Simple economics of supply and demand dictates that demand drives up cost. The worldwide obesity crisis, and the known link between diet and disease, forecasts that more individuals will seek help from nutrition professionals in the coming years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field nutrition and dietetics to grow 16 percent between 2014 and 2024 — that’s 11,000 new jobs for nutrition professionals! Higher demand, means that you may be able to charge a higher rate!
So now what? We suggest you do some field research and write down how your practice fits into each of these five factors listed above. Contact other professionals who work in a similar geographic area, at a similar stage of their practice, in a similar niche. The nutrition community is very inclusive, so reach out to someone on social media, through their website or at a local conference to start a real conversation about financial compensation. But remember, pricing can be a controversial topic amongst professionals!
There is no right or wrong answer in determining your pricing structure. You are a qualified professional with extensive education, training and experience, and you deserve to get paid for your hard work and valuable education. In the end, you need to feel comfortable with your rates to provide the best services to your clients!