“How much do you charge for your services?”
If you still cringe (at least internally) when you hear those words, then you are not alone. It doesn’t matter if you are newly certified or a 5 year veteran, the topic of price always seems to come up in discussions between all Athletic Therapists — especially those running their own businesses.
But who can blame us? Pricing is arguably the most important component of your business.
And because of that reason alone… it is scary.
- Price too high and nobody will seek your services.
- Price too low and risk selling yourself short, and devaluing your services.
Unfortunately they don’t teach you much about pricing yourself in school. Instead, each province sets a standard price recommendation for ATs (student, certification candidate, certified). This works great as a starting point, but the issue is that it does not take the following into consideration:
1) Your experience
Have you been practicing for 10 years, or 10 months? Someone with less experience is going to have less leverage in terms of setting their price. You have less control over this one, but don’t despair, you can make up for it with the points below.
2) Your education (and all the extras)
Most ATs, by the time they are certified, will have more than just basic training. I have seen many pursue further training in massage therapy (RMT), strength and conditioning (CSCS) and Osteopathy. Depending on the direction you want to move in, these certifications compliment Athletic Therapy very nicely. Other continuing education courses including Functional Movement Screen (FMS), Soft Tissue Manipulation (STM), and Active Release Technique (ART), will add value to your services.
3) Your niche
The label “Jack of all trades, master of none” fits well here. The purpose of schooling and certification is to ensure that we are well-rounded practitioners and proficient enough to do the work that our scope of practice demands of us. However, many ATs understand this as the need to do everything and attempt to reach everyone. Following this approach, you will end up becoming lost in the crowd. Find your niche, that one area that you are fascinated and obsessed with: perhaps a particular sport, area of the body, or a specific injury… and become an expert. Read every book and peer-reviewed journal you can get your sticky hands on.
Remember, the highest paid jobs are highly specialized. A great example of this is in medicine — the highest paid doctors are specialists, like orthopedic surgeons and cardiologists. You could even consider being a “micro-specialist” (a specialist within a specialty). For example, a orthopedic surgeon whose primary area of expertise is reverse Bankart repairs.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I touch on the following topics:
1. What is price anxiety?
2. The most common pricing strategy (and worst) for Athletic Therapists
3. The one pricing strategy that you should really use
Think about how you determine the cost of your services. Do you use the ‘recommended price’? Do you think you should be paid more?
Until next time, leave some comments below and let me know what you think!