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What to Charge Your Friends and Family

Have you ever struggled with wanting to give your therapy away for free? You’re not alone. Not long ago I was working with Margaret, a delightful client of mine. We were brainstorming ideas to help her jump-start her practice.

Margaret had already taken the time to measure her value based on client outcomes - the benefits and solutions her clients experienced as a result of working with her.

Now it was time to translate her value into actual rates. But like many big-hearted therapists, Margaret was struggling with the idea of charging friends her regular rates. Instead, she wanted to set some Friends & Family Rates that were, well, a bit friendlier.

It was a great idea. But to bring Margaret even more bang for the buck, I urged her to use those special rates as a strategy to bring her closer to her financial goals.

Since her intention was to grow her practice, I asked her to consider using those rates less as a guilt-reliever and more as a referral-generator.

Here’s How It Works
First, let me make this clear. I am not a fan of discounting. I don’t recommend it unless it’s part of a defined strategy to help you reach your end goal. Instead, I suggest looking for ways you can add value to your sessions or client relationships.

That said, using a Friends & Family Rate is one way you can discount thoughtfully and effectively.

Let’s say your standard session rate is $70 and your Friends & Family Rate is $50. Whenever you have a client you truly enjoy working with, you can tell her that you’d love to work with other people just like her. And as a gift, you’ll offer anyone she refers to you the special Friends and Family Rate for his or her first session.

Then let her know that as a bonus, anytime someone she refers has that first session, you’ll gift her with the special Friends and Family Rate on her next session, too.

It’s a Win-Win-Win-Win-Win Proposition
Your client wins because she gets to pass along the gift of therapy at a special price. She wins again when she gets her next session at a special price. Her friends and family win by having an amazing therapeutic experience at a special price.

You win by having raving fans pass your name around. And you win again by having a clearly defined policy you can rely on next time you’re tempted to give your therapy away for free.