Should you charge a consultation fee as a doula? This is a debatable question that has no right or wrong answer. In this blog post, I will share some thoughts, opinions, and suggestions that may, however, help you come up with the right answer for YOU!
Let's talk about what a consultation is. In doula work, a consultation is the opportunity for you to explain your service offerings while potential clients have the opportunity to ask questions that help them decide if you are a good fit for their needs. When a client speaks to their friends and family, they may say "We're interviewing a few doulas". Essentially, a consultation with a doula is like an interview. The family wants to decide if they should hire you. That being said, I would not personally want to pay someone to tell me about their services. I feel they should want to tell me about their services in hopes of getting the job. Now, I do understand that you are spending your time for the consult. However, think of commission-based jobs like real estate. Gotta sell the house to get paid.
One frustrating thing about free consultations can be that people flake and waste your time. That's frustrating for sure; and probably the leading reason for doulas wanting to charge a consultation fee. Below are some ideas for how to navigate consultation fees.
Charge a rescheduling fee - I don't charge a consultation fee, but in the event a potential client simply forgot and wants to reschedule, I charge them for that.
Charge and refund - Some doulas charge a refundable deposit to book a consultation. If the client shows up, they get the money back. If they decide to book the service, the deposit can be applied to the cost of the service.
Put a hold on it - You may consider a payment processor that allows you to put a card on file. Let clients know in the booking section that not showing up to an appointment will result in their card being charged a no-show fee.
Offer an incentive - I like to give goody bags with samples for clients who come to consults.
Don't go out of your way - Pick your business hours and stick to them. There's nothing worse than working around someone else's schedule just for them to flake. I only do consults on my office days or when it's convenient for me.
Charge - You may just feel like charging a small fee makes it worth your time and effort. Nothing wrong with that. The average fee is $25 - $50 for a consultation.
Tell us in the comments, do you charge for consultations? What's working for you?