Jane's Blog Tips, News, and Thoughts from the Jane Team

How to Tell Clients You Are Raising Your Fees

March 19, 2024

The original version of this article appeared in issue one of Jane’s Front Desk magazine. If you would like to read even more insights about opening, running, and growing your clinic, check out Front Desk magazine.

Some people shy away from discomfort. Alison Taylor leans in. It’s how she ran clinics for 20 years; it’s how she navigates her role as Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Jane; and, it’s a quality she hopes to empower in others – especially when it comes to one of the most crucial aspects of running a business: money.

As operational costs rise, raising fees is often the only way for owners to maintain their business and ensure practitioners are fairly compensated. But it can be a challenging conversation to initiate when clinicians are in a caring relationship with their patients.

Ali offers a different perspective: “Increasing your prices allows you to run a sustainable business, which is caring for your patients. You’re keeping your staff, you’re paying your bills, you’re able to buy equipment that [patients] use in their treatments.”

Even if you’re only raising your rates by 5–10% annually – Ali’s recommendation – it can be the difference between struggling to stay afloat, and having the time, energy, and resources to care for your clients on a deeper level.

Finding the right increase

When landing on a number, rising overhead costs aren’t the only factor to consider – adjusting your prices should also involve some market research. Ali suggests situating yourself on the mid-to-higher end of the spectrum of practitioners in your area.

“People think that lower fees will get them more patients, and I don’t think that’s necessarily the case,” Ali says. “You’re signalling something about how good you are by how much you’re charging.”

Understanding how clients perceive your prices is the first step. The second step is feeling comfortable raising them to reflect your value. “If you’re showing up with guilt and you’re not confident that what you’re charging is the appropriate price for your services, it’s not going to go well,” Ali says.

Jane ambassador Emma Jack is a physiotherapist, the owner of a flourishing practice, and a business coach to fellow clinicians. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a clinician [say], ‘I want to raise my rates, but I’m nervous,’” Emma says. “[Yet], so often the feedback is that their clients are actually happy for them,” she adds.

And, according to Ali, resistance to a price increase usually has more to do with a client’s personality than the fee itself.

There are three buckets clients tend to fall into, regardless of industry or discipline: the superfans, who are happy to advocate for everything you do; the silent majority, who make up the bulk of your business, and rarely take issue with your decisions; and finally, the difficult clients.

“[Those] clients are going to complain, and either they leave, which is fine, or they complain and you deal with it, just like you deal with their other complaints,” explains Ali. If you’re avoiding raising your fees, then there’s a chance you’re fixating on people who make up a small portion of your client base, and in the process, adding a huge disadvantage to your business – which, in turn, impacts all of your clients.

Effective communication: the key to success when raising your fees

When you’ve committed to raising your fees, Ali recommends starting to plan two months in advance. That way, you can determine what you want to charge, get comfortable with it, and communicate your plans to your team.

The next phase is about communicating to your clients. “If you plan and communicate in advance, it’s a way easier process,” says Ali, who considers ‘no surprises’ one of the guiding principles at Jane.

A woman speaks on the phone while looking at her notebook on her desk

Communicate with your clients on your online booking platform, in notification reminders, and over the phone. Clients should also see clear signage explaining the fee increase when they arrive in person.

Not giving sufficient notice might create a difficult situation: A client who booked appointments months earlier might now be paying under a new, higher fee. “Now you’re having to deal with cleanup, and that is way harder, burns trust, and creates problems,” says Ali.

What’s not required is a granular level of detail explaining why you’re raising your rates. “Sometimes when we’re nervous, we love to over-explain,” says Emma.

Ali agrees, adding that she advises people to steer clear of apologizing. “It makes sense that you have to increase your rates and I think being matter-of-fact actually makes the conversation a lot easier,” says Ali. “It is not a negotiation.”

Making space for exceptions

Of course, if there are special circumstances, you have the option to be flexible. “Obviously, you’re a human, so have human-to-human conversations. If there’s someone who comes in that you don’t want to charge, give them a deal,” says Ali, noting the adjustment feature created in Jane was meant to assist practitioners navigating these situations.

“You could include something like, ‘if this creates significant hardship for you in your treatment plan, please talk to me.’ But otherwise I think … the more matter-of-fact, the better.”

Being mindful of timing and circumstance

When should you take the leap? The start of the year is a practical time because your clients’ insurance is resetting and people are primed for change. A similar “fresh start” effect happens in September for the start of the school year.

That said, prices can increase at any time based on your operational costs, additional training or specialization, or economic factors like inflation. “It’s very normal and important to raise your rates based on what’s happening in the economy around you,” says Emma.

Even when communicated well, you still might have an upset customer. Encouragingly, Ali says that in her experience, any pushback has always been brief. “You might experience some of that for two weeks and it will be way less than you’re expecting,” she says.

The moral of the story? “You don’t have to prepare yourself for a big battle.”

In becoming a leader and a coach, Emma has discovered, much like Ali, leaning into discomfort is where there is most reward. “There’s always something better on the other side of a difficult conversation.”

Need some ✨ inspiration? ✨

For more tips and tricks on all things clinic life, make sure to check out Front Desk magazine. You can even sign up for print issues — delivered right to your clinic! 📖

In the meantime, here’s a checklist just for you to make raising your fees easier:

A checklist outlining how to raise your fees

Blog Posts